This I Believe

Scott - Hamtramck, Michigan
Entered on October 20, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in the free movement of people. Just as capitalism is strengthened by the free movement of goods, democracy is reinforced by the free movement of people.

As a city council member in Hamtramck, MI, I deal with the issues of immigration every day. Twenty-four languages are spoken in Hamtramck’s public schools. We have residents who have immigrated from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, some of them illegally.

When I listen to the current immigration debate, I hear a troubling discussion centered on Hispanics. Immigration and illegal immigration in particular, is not limited to Hispanics. People immigrate illegally to the United States from all parts of the world. They are people who come here in search of opportunity and hope, and who have been prevented from attaining their dreams legally because of our laws. The promise of America is so persuasive that they come in spite of our laws, and live in the shadows of our society.

Because of my position in local government, I have come to believe that if you can get here, if you work, pay taxes, and obey our laws once you are here, there is no reason why the expansive American dream can’t be yours too.

That’s how it was when my people came to America prior to the Revolutionary war. When I hear some of the voices in the debate, I can’t help by wonder if this country wouldn’t be a better place if my people had kept their people out.

Of course, I don’t believe that. Our immigration laws are too restrictive. The free movement of people is every bit as important as the free movement of goods in the process of enriching American life. Free trade and open immigrant is vital to maintaining our nation.