Thoughts on Immigration

Immigration has been a hot topic lately.  I understand why people frown on those that come to this country illegally.  They are often seen as criminals.  However, I cannot fault someone for wanting a better life and for being willing to risk their own lives to provide for their family.
Coming into this country illegally can be extremely dangerous.  People have died when their boat capsized, or from dehydration in the desert.  There is also the possibility of being shot by border patrol agents (official and unofficial).  Yet these people keep coming in hopes of a better future.
Many of them chose the illegal route, because coming into the country legally is not within the realm of possibilities.  The amount of money they would need to do this may even exceed what they would earn in an entire lifetime.
I think immigration reform should focus on a merit system.  People come and apply for citizenship.  They are monitored for a number of years to see if they maintain employment, increase their education or marketable skills, do volunteer work, and stay out of trouble.  This gives people a way to immigrate without having to break any laws.

What are your thoughts on immigration?

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