There are some issues in America that simply refuse to go away. Immigration reform is one of those issues. I’m not advocating that it should fade from our consciousness, but like all issues political, it has had its time in the sun, a little here and a little there. It comes and goes, but never has there been a time when the reality of the issue could be denied. At some point, America is going to have to deal with immigration reform. It is a hot-bed topic on both sides of the political aisle and emotions have run hot.
During the latest Republican presidential primary, the issue took center stage at more than one debate. Newt Gingrich made headlines when he tried to approach the issue logically, saying there is no way we should be deporting grandparents. The term he used is that “we have to be realistic in our indignation”. This was in response to Mitt Romney taking the position that we need to build a fence on our southern border and the illegals should participate in self-deportation. I’m not a big fan of Newt Gingrich, but his position made much more common sense than expecting millions of illegal immigrants would voluntarily move back to their country of origin. That just isn’t going to happen and anyone who believes it will is naive.
The big news of the day Monday was the announcement of an agreement on how to proceed with immigration reform. This announcement came from a group of eight Senators, four Republicans and four Democrats. One of the Republicans is Senator Marco Rubio. The details are a little scarce, but it does contain ideas from both sides of the issue, including a process for illegal immigrants to become citizens of the United States.
(The Hill) The package features efforts to strengthen border security and better track temporary visitors to ensure they leave the country when their visas expire – provisions favored by Republicans. The proposal would also create a path to citizenship for the roughly 12 million illegal immigrants estimated to be living the in the United States – a change favored by Democrats.
The package has been endorsed by four Democrats — Sens. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Robert Menendez (N.J.) and Michael Bennet (Colo.) — and four Republicans, Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.).
Before we go further, here is an outline of the basic legislative proposals we could be seeing out of the agreement between the eight Senators, taken from Hot Air.
Four Basic Legislative Pillars:
1. Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required;
2. Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families;
3. Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers; and,
4. Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation’s workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers.
Yes, there will be a path to citizenship included in any major reform of our immigration system. I’m not necessarily enamored with the prospect, as I believe it is unfair to the millions of legal immigrants in this country, but so be it. We may as well get used to the idea.
Let’s face reality. Do we really expect to be able to force 12 million illegal immigrants out of the country? Possibly, it could be done, but not without a major expenditure of time, manpower, and most of all, money. Money that we do not have. The reality isn’t pleasant, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is staring us in the face. How much longer can it be ignored?
Consider also, the political ramifications of standing in the way of immigration reform. There is no doubt the division on the issue, partly fueled by the reelection campaign of Barack Obama, is one reason why we are looking at another four years before he retires to Hawaii.
If immigration is almost certain to happen, would it not be wise and prudent for us to factor in the political realities of the issue and use it to our advantage? Would it not be wise and prudent for us to have a say in the legislation as it goes forward, instead of standing in the way and suffering the political consequences in 2014 and 2016? Those consequences would likely include our entire government being controlled by a Democrat Party with their minds set on advancing their liberal agenda. Is it worth it to kill legislation that reforms our immigration system, just because it contains elements which are less than palatable to our political palate?
There are a lot of considerations to look at before we move forward. Not the least of these is how the sudden influx of 12 million new “legal” workers will affect the millions of Americans who are out of work. All I am advocating is that we look closely and consider our options, preferably before we open our mouths and make a lot of statements that we can not retract. We should proceed cautiously, but proceed we should.