Public discourse has never been so engulfed by falsehoods. Recent alleged comments about "shithole countries" made by President Trump, and the subsequent media response, have now raised two important questions:

  1. Is it racist to point out that some countries are poorer, less successful, and less desirable to live in than others?
  2. Is it unreasonable for Americans to demand certain qualifications of its immigrants?

Many liberals would say yes. Take CNN’s Joan Walsh for example. Last week, when discussing President Trump’s alleged comments, she was asked whether she would rather live in Haiti or Norway. Her response? "I don't know."

Let’s be frank. Walsh’s answer is disingenuous and preposterous. According to the CIA World Factbook, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and according to the State Department, it’s also one of the most crime-ridden.

Walsh, along with other liberals, knows she wouldn’t want to live in Haiti, El Salvador, or any of the other “shithole countries,” for that matter. Just ask yourself why you never see any of these outraged liberals buying property or vacationing in Haiti.

If that’s not enough, take it from someone with ties to one of the nations on President Trump’s list. I’m part Nicaraguan, and I’ve heard fellow Nicaraguans use similar language to describe their own country. It’s not a judgement of the citizens, it’s a description of the sociopolitical problems, poverty, and corruption that exist in the country.

Language and vulgarity aside, the president demonstrated that we live in a society where the disastrous realities of other nations and their potential effect on immigration cannot be stated without cries of racism and bigotry.

The goal of any reform to immigration should be to benefit Americans, something the current system does not. Don’t believe me? Consider this: What would your daily life look like if it was dictated by America’s immigration policies?

Imagine if the nation’s most prestigious universities accepted applicants solely through a “diversity lottery,” or because of “family ties,” rather than on academic qualifications. Or suppose corporations hired employees solely because they came from third-world countries, not because they had any relevant experience.

That’s partially how America’s immigration system functions. The system treats diversity, family ties, and nationality as qualifications, when they are simply factors decided by chance.

Are these the values America was founded on?

In every aspect of American life, Americans judge their fellow citizens on their qualifications, accomplishments, and skills. This meritocracy is core to the nation’s values. In fact, Americans frown on those who receive opportunities purely because of their race or family connections. So why should America have these standards for its immigrants?

If that’s not enough, the political and media elite want to make dreams an admissible category as well. Despite what the media has said about the so-called “Dreamers,” dreams do not justify illegal entry into the country. Americans also have dreams, but as many would point out, dreams alone do not warrant college acceptances or job promotions. Why then, should America grant people immigration status simply based on “dreams?”

The answer to all of these questions, of course, is that we shouldn’t. Most Americans agree on this. Recent polls by Politico and NumbersUSA show most Americans are in favor of merit-based immigration policies.

There’s also room for compromise. Congress can create an immigration system that benefits Americans while still showing compassion towards immigrants. For example, according to a recent poll from the Washington Post, 65 percent of Americans support a deal to increase border security while allowing some DACA recipients to remain in the country.

The elites fear these truths. Discussing public opinion on immigration is nearly impossible. Individuals who disagree with or question the status quo are chided for lacking empathy, accused of being “un-American,” and in some cases, even labeled racist.

America belongs and exists to benefit one group: Americans. If elected officials cannot serve under that premise, they should be held accountable at the ballot box in 2018.

Eduardo Neret (@eduneret) is a senior at the University of Florida.

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