November, the month when we celebrate Thanksgiving, is also the month that marks the anniversary of my naturalization ceremony to become an American citizen.
As a legal immigrant and a law-abiding American, I am thankful to call the United States my home. But I am shocked to learn about Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s proposal to erode the rule of law in our country by granting a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants.
After arriving in the U.S. as an immigrant and following all American laws and rules, I took the Oath of Allegiance to become an American citizen on Nov. 21, 2014.
I recall that just a day prior to my citizenship ceremony, then-President Barack Obama announced sweeping immigration reform to grant amnesty to nearly 5 million illegal immigrants. I was deeply disappointed to see an American president distorting the nation’s immigration system and undermining the legal pathway to enter the U.S.
After all these years, the Democrats have only strengthened their resolve to prioritize illegal immigrants over legal immigrants. For Democrats, those who enter the U.S. illegally appear to be more important than law-abiding, tax-paying immigrants.
Since President Joe Biden came to office and the Democrats gained control of the Senate, in addition to having a majority in the House of Representatives, illegal immigration has skyrocketed. I find it very disturbing to see that the Biden administration, with the support of Democrats in Congress, has opened the gates to illegal immigration. This is outrageous and unsustainable.
Democrats have relentlessly pushed for policies that have resulted in the massive inflow of illegal immigrants through our nation’s southern border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials encountered nearly 2.4 million illegal immigrants at the southern border in fiscal year 2022, which is the most ever recorded. Furthermore, there were 599,000 known “gotaways.”
Since Biden took office, it is estimated that 4 million illegal immigrants have crossed into the U.S. through the southern border. This is the direct result of the Democrats’ policy of keeping the border open.
Illegal immigration imposes a massive financial cost on Americans at a time when people are already suffering because of inflation and the energy crisis. It is estimated that the illegal immigrants who have entered our country through the southern border since Biden came to office will result in the staggering cost of $20 billion in taxpayer money each year.
But the true costs of illegal border crossings go far beyond the accounting of dollars.
Due to the complete lack of border security, there is an ongoing humanitarian crisis. A total of 856 migrants have died at the southern border in fiscal year 2022. Also, federal officials have seized 14,700 pounds of fentanyl coming into the U.S. through the southern border, which is seven times more than five years ago.
The absence of border security also opens the door to public safety threats. While dealing with the massive inflow of illegal immigrants, border officials have apprehended gang members, sex offenders and others with criminal records. Also, close to 100 non-citizens on the FBI’s terror watchlist were arrested while attempting to enter the U.S. through the southern border over the past year.
I am thankful to be in a country that welcomes immigrants who follow the law. According to the Department of Homeland Security, approximately a million foreign nationals follow our nation’s laws and rules to become permanent residents, and hundreds of thousands of people become naturalized U.S. citizens, every year.
To become an American citizen, one must submit to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services detailed information about one’s parents, spouse and children, education, employment, out-of-country trips, taxes, associations, military service and more. An applicant must also demonstrate good moral character. Foreign nationals who wish to come to the U.S. and pursue citizenship must diligently preserve years of records to accurately respond to questions on the citizenship application.
For Schumer to suggest that illegal immigrants — whose background and history may be unknown — should get a pathway to U.S. citizenship is an insult to legal immigrants.
Furthermore, the Democrats, in their effort to allow illegal immigrants to pursue U.S. citizenship and thereby obtain voting rights, wish to manipulate the electorate and create new voters. Their policies have caused havoc in the economy, which resulted in their loss of the majority in the House of Representatives. Schumer is trying to strengthen Democrats’ grasp on political power by generating new voters using a process that would convert citizenship from an achievement to a handout.
As a legal immigrant, I find Schumer’s proposal to be a personal affront. The American people must never allow our country’s immigration laws to be trampled under the feet of self-serving politicians like Chuck Schumer.
The Biden administration and its Democratic allies in Washington are destroying our country’s immigration process. As I suggested in an earlier Op-Ed, the Biden administration’s refusal to enforce our nation’s immigration laws is a slap in the face of law-abiding immigrants who go through extensive background checks and thorough scrutiny to receive the legal status to live and work in the U.S. and to become American citizens.
To protect American citizenship, we must secure the southern border and reject Democrats’ efforts to turn illegal immigrants into citizens.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.