Believe it or not, when Republicans say that we should do more to protect our border with Mexico, I completely agree.
Granted, I don't agree that it warrants fear mongering. It's actually a lot more difficult for, say, ISIS to waltz into Mexico and cross the border than fundraising-happy politicians will have you believe.
But the amount of people crossing into America is alarming. Not only can that harm our nation's public services, but it also creates a humanitarian crisis. No one wants that.
However, simply shutting up the border is not the only answer. For me, the more important aspect of fixing immigration in this country is making it a little easier for good people to come in and begin contributing.
And to back up this view, I have a story.
My first job was in Central Texas in a town called Marble Falls. It's smack-dab in the middle of beautiful Hill Country, and it attracted a family called the Walters.
The Walters were from France, and while vacationing here around 2006, they decided they wanted to come back and stay. So about a year later, they arrived with their two sons.
But the Walters didn't just want to live here. They wanted to become part of the Marble Falls community, interwoven into the fabric of every day life and giving back as much as they had received from the kind people there.
So they opened up a bakery. Every morning they made breads, muffins and breakfast sandwiches to go; French loaves went perfectly with the get-togethers down in wine country.
The residents loved it. The Walters' boys went to the local public school, played soccer there, and sometimes helped at the bakery in the summer.
They made a life for themselves; the American dream.
Well, in late spring of 2012, things suddenly went sour. Behind the scenes, while the Walters baked their bread and networked in the Chamber of Commerce, they also had mountains of paperwork and application fees to attend to.
Staying in the United States is not easy. For starters, the immigrant Visa application processing fee is a non-refundable $325 per person. That's just to process the application.
The Walters had to obtain a special Visa that allowed them to start a business. Between application fees and legal advise, both obtaining and renewing their right to become a part of the U.S. cost the family thousands of dollars.
But they wanted to do it right. So in the spring of 2012, they went back to Paris to both see family and renew their visas.
It was the last they would see of their bakery. The U.S. Consulate denied their request, telling the couple that they did not make enough money.
It's not that the bakery wasn't profitable. After a few shaky years during the Great Recession, it was actually turning out a nice chunk of change. No, the U.S. said it did not make ENOUGH money for them to stay.
And no, there is no set threshold, no percentage of a profit laid out in U.S. immigration law. The determination is simply up to the Consulate, and I guess they weren't feeling generous that day.
Aren't these the kind of people we want to come to our country? I'm not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way we went from a nation that opened its ports to people seeking a new life to one that looks every potential new American up and down and says "How much ya got?"
If we want an effective way to tell the good people from the bad, we can start by making the process of joining this great nation less burdensome and less expensive for those who simply want to come here and make a better life.
Then we can go about building up our border defenses to keep the bad guys away. I know it's not quite that simple, but we're making this whole thing harder than it needs to be.