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Immigration Reform – Reality That Can Not Be Denied

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.

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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.

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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.

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(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.

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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.).

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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.

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Four Basic Legislative Pillars:

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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;

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2. Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families;

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3. Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers; and,

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4. Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation’s workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers.

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Immigration ReformYes, 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.

About LD Jackson

LD Jackson has written 2053 posts in this blog.

Founder and author of the political and news commentary blog Political Realities. I have always loved to write, but never have I felt my writing was more important than in this present day. If I have changed one mind or impressed one American about the direction our country is headed, then I will consider my endeavors a success. I take the tag line on this blog very seriously. Above all else, in search of the truth.

  • Jim at Asylum Watch

    That is why you call your blog Political “Realities”. The reality is tthat the Democrats won this issue during the 2012 campaigns. I like the wording ” contingent upon securing our borders” but it isn’t defined and will probably end up being meangingless. The eleven million number is probaly closer to twenty million and the Democrats will pick up the lion share of these new voters. The Republicans will have to work very hard just to keep control of the House in the future, IMO.

    • I agree Jim, we all know that in the end the borders will not be secured, just like we know in the end spending won’t be cut, and while it may seem like a good trade off now we will find out we were had yet again.

    • You could be right about the border security, but I have been reading where Marco Rubio has been adamant that he will not support any legislation that does not contain measures to do that. We will have to wait and see how strongly he believes in that, when the time comes to vote on actual legislation.

  • lou222

    I have very strong views on Immigration! I know they say that they will have them pay back taxes on money earned, but how are they going to account for it when most has been paid in “cash”? They have all sorts of stipulations that they “say” will be in force before they get a green card. How many will we pay their tuition for college? This government will bend over backwards to welcome them when we have AMERICANS that are suffering and cannot get help now. We have an Obamacare system that is overloaded before it even begins with just the legals that are here and we are going to put illegals in the system as well? All I can see is that the ones of us that CAN pay for our healthcare will be hit with even steeper amounts we will be billed. I do not see any fairness in that. Also, will they receive benefits? I know they say they will not, but I think we know better, so the system will be on overload with the middle class having to foot the bill with higher taxes. I feel sorry for anyone that has gone about getting citizenship the right way that have been waiting for it to happen just to be run over with illegals doing it ILLEGALLY. Then we have the problem of WHEN they are welcomed with open arms, how many of their relatives will also be brought in? Drivers licenses, will be used for voting, so I do not believe they will not be able to vote. Look how many people vote each year that should not be voting now. I see a massive mess in our future that we can not pay for, but will be shoved down our throats. The Republican party is not about to stand in the way of Comprehensive Immigration Reform…at least not in some form, they want votes. I guess they are hoping for votes, anyway. Maybe they do not understand that they are not the ones the illegals will be voting for, it will be the Democrats that “care” about them that will get their votes. If the House allows this to pass, we are in a world of hurt. I don’t fault them from wanting to make a better life for their families, but there are ways to go about it and I do NOT feel it is up to US to foot the bill on them coming here. Apparently Obama and his administration feel differently!

    • Certainly, there are a lot of things to consider about the issue of immigration reform. In no way do I feel it is fair to allow illegal immigrants to become part of the legal system and saddle the rest of us, including legal immigrants, with the cost. At the same time, I see no way to avoid some kind of legalization for those who are here illegally. I don’t necessarily like the prospect, but I see no other alternative.

      • lou222

        We are in a mess that we did not create, Larry. It is going to take more than us to deal with this and I feel that it is a lost cause. This administration is going full force and I believe we are going to be on the losing end.

  • I have been against “reform” for one reason – I can’t trust our government to close the border with a fence mainly. I can’t trust Democrats not to open the fence gate in the dark of night, once and if we get one. Having said all that, they have worn me down and we have to do something. We must know that people here are here. Marco Rubio guarantees that nothing happens until the border is “secure.” Apparently everyone will come forward and sign up and then legally be here if the background check clears them. Then it will take them at least 10 years before they can apply for citizenship – behind everyone who did it the legal way. They are wearing us down. I want the border secured. Build the darn fence and then talk – then produce legislation after they have shown us what has been done. Great article. Thank you!

  • Mike

    Excellent post Larry. This is an extremely difficult issue and I agree with many of the concerns that have been expressed in other comments. It makes my stomach churn to give these people a path to citizenship even if it’s a difficult one. But the reality, both political and practical, can’t continue to be ignored. I expect Rubio, McCain, etc to be very tough in the final drafting to make sure “contingent upon securing our borders” has teeth. The system may certainly be overwhelmed by this influx of new citizens of the years but the other side is that as legal residents and citizens they will be on the books and paying taxes. I can argue both sides of this debate equally well but in the end I don’t think we have any practical choice as a country, and the GOP has no choice as a party, but to take this action.

    • I agree with you, but I continue to be amazed at the open hostility towards any kind of immigration reform that doesn’t include deporting illegal immigrants. I had one commenter on Free Republic give me quite the dissertation as to why it should be done and how it is feasible to do so.

  • rjjrdq

    I agree with Jim. Bear Stearns estimated that there were more than 20 million illegal aliens here several years ago. Who knows what the number is now. With amnesty, these folks will be able to bring their families over and we will be swamped with a permanent Democrat voting block. We will be finished as a nation. We don’t even have the infrastructure to take on that kind of influx. Third world. That is the real political reality. No way these folks vote for Republicans-or even American values for that matter.

  • The problem is that nothing we do will win these voters over once they become citizens and the fact is that while they may talk about securing the border I doubt it will ever come to pass. We will be played by OBama and the Democrats just like we always are; there will still be people coming here illegally and nothing will be done about it.

  • Anyone who thinks we will control the borders is dreaming. Just as we did many times before. Half are already takers, add 6 million more.

  • As a long-time expatriate, I feel I must leave the immigration issue alone–it should be decided by US residents. However, perhaps people wanting to reform immigration should start with streamlining the visa process for legal immigration, and making it easier for people to live and work in the US as legal immigrants. One reason there are so many illegals in the US is because it is so hard to go there legally, combined with poor enforcement of existing laws and poor border controls. That is, it is relatively difficult to get into the US legally, and difficult to stay in the US legally once you are there (too much red-tape, too many rules, too many hoops to jump through, etc.). Meanwhile, people who break the rules have enormous resources at their disposal for staying and working, some of them courtesy of the government. This is a case where the system benefits those who are completely off the bureaucratic grid and openly flouting the law, and heavily penalizes those who are trying to obey the rules and follow the law. Wouldn’t it be better, instead of increasing regulations, to decrease them when it comes to legal immigration and legal immigrants, and then actually enforce the rules we already have when it comes to illegal immigration and illegal immigrants?

    • I’ll be the first to admit I know little about the legal immigration process. From what I can gather, it must be a total and complete nightmare to accomplish legal immigration and permanent residence in the country. Streamlining that process should be one of the first priorities we focus on, right after we properly secure the border.

      I also know little about how legalization of several million illegal immigrants would affect our country, or so I have been told on Free Republic. I was basically told I should stop spouting nonsense about the realities of an issue about which I know nothing.

      My point of this post is simple. The entire issue of immigration, illegal or otherwise, is complicated. At some point, the realities that are not going away are going to have to be dealt with. Just as ignoring our financial problems will not accomplish financial stability for America, neither will ignoring the glaring problem of illegal immigration accomplish a solution to that problem. It’s time Americans realized that and accepted that fact.

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  • As uncomfortable as it is to say it, Americans are in a bed of our own making when it comes to illegals. We have turned a blind eye toward our porous border and people who have poured over it. While many illegals are productive members of our society, others are the core of gangs, other criminal elements and a dependent underclass that strangles our economy and culture. All of this has been enabled by permissive federal and state governments that, in essence, subsidize illegals (at the expense of those who would qualify to come here LEGALLY). Having lured and suborned illegals for generations, it is up to us citizens to step up and finally do something. Treating long term, law-abiding aliens who are here essentially at our “invitation” (however obscure) as felons is not the answer. We need to finally secure our borders, enforce immigration laws and allow productive and law abiding long-term illegals to come in from the shadows. It’s fair and best for all of us.

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