Isn’t it amazing that we are again at the point of closing another year? I feel like I was constantly playing catch up in 2022 in order to reach the finish line. At this time of year, I look back introspectively to what I have been able to accomplish and what went by the wayside. I also look forward to a new year, and make a wish list of what I hope will occur within the next twelve months. For years I have put this wish list in my column, and this is the 2023 version.
My first wish is that lawmakers finally get serious about fixing immigration and amnesty issues. We have industries in the U.S. that are hurting for employees in their workforce. In many, it is apparent that an insufficient number of Americans want certain jobs, yet we have thousands of immigrants who travel to the U.S. with the hope that they will be allowed to stay, find work, and transform the lives of their families. The U.S. caps most work visas for immigrants at infinitesimal levels, and Congress and the Executive Branch have reverted to using immigration and immigration reform as a political weapon to attack the other side. Reforming immigration must be discussed and resolved as a part of our country’s future economic health.
There also has to be a better way for persecuted immigrants to seek amnesty rather than to travel hundreds, if not thousands of miles, through dangerous regions, all the while being subjected to heartless criminals who prey upon them. Many do this only to reach the U.S. border, be shuttled back to Mexico, and have to spend their time hoping that the system will change. Meanwhile, they are forced to sleep in tents or on the ground in places such as Juarez during searing summers and freezing winters. A combination of requiring asylum seekers to apply at U.S. embassies and consulates in their own nations, while U.S. officials work to stem the flight of immigrants at the source would seem to be part of the solution. During this festive holiday season, it makes me feel horrible to know that poor, vulnerable people are sleeping on the ground just across the border with temperatures plunging.
I hope that the New Year will bring an end to Russia’s war in Ukraine and its senseless aggression on its neighbor. With the Russians targeting civilian infrastructure and power plants, the Ukrainians will need plenty of support to get through the cold winter. Help also is needed for nations, mostly European, that hitched their wagons to Russian energy and now find themselves being blackmailed, cut off, and susceptible to drastic increases in energy costs.
I pray that Americans have the will to keep supporting Ukraine in its efforts to remain free. Some politicians are already threatening to pull military and financial support from this effort. They must be reminded that whether we like it or not, we are participants in this war. Despotic aggression such as Russia’s needs to be stopped in its tracks or it will proliferate and we will have bigger problems down the road. Allowing Russia to take over Ukraine will embolden other nations run by tyrants. This is the case with China, which could be emboldened to attack Taiwan, which it claims as part of its one-China policy.
I wish that supply chains continue to get back to normal, which has been the trend during the last few months. Although certain products are still being delayed their delivery, I have seen a concerted improvement in the manufacturing and distribution industries. Hopefully, this will help the easing of inflation, which we are seeing in terms falling gas prices and more economical consumer goods.
I am hopeful that the reshoring of production builds momentum in 2023, as it has in 2022. Here at the U.S.-Mexico border, we have seen several companies reshore production/distribution from places such as Asia to the U.S., or nearshore their operations to Mexico. This is occurring because companies are opting for security and control in their supply chain rather than opting for pure savings. Even when production goes to Mexico, jobs are created on the U.S. side of the border in terms of supplying Mexican plants and distributing finished Mexican product out of U.S. warehouses.
I hope that with the elections behind us, our elected officials can finally put U.S. interests ahead of party interests for the sake of providing security for the American public, and our country’s ability to conduct foreign policy. How does it look to bad actors across the globe when we have vitriol, no self-restraint, and outright shenanigans in the political sector? I’m sick of it, and I believe that most Americans share this sentiment. The U.S. has the ability to be an example to the world, a beacon if you will, of freedom, democracy, and decency. Sadly, intolerance and racism has bubbled up to the surface and revealed its ugly head in our country. Attacking freedom and people’s rights is a horrible example to show the world.
However, if there is one thing Americans have it is hope for the future, and we are being gifted a brand-new year to apply this concept. Happy New Year! May you be safe and prosper in 2023!