The House of Representatives is balking on new immigration laws because the President of the United States cannot be trusted to enforce current laws. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) recently said, “Listen, there’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws. And it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.”
On January 30, 2014, the House released principles for immigration reform that would allow illegal immigrants to live “legally” in our nation. They are, however, apparently backtracking on their plans. Maybe their change of action came because they were called out on it.
Derrick Morgan, vice president of domestic and economic policy at The Heritage Foundation, shot down the plan, claiming that “the framework is essentially the same as the Senate bill they say they will not go to conference with. It includes everything from border security, to visa tracking, to employment verification and reform of the legal immigration system in additional to amnesty.
“The standards follow the logic that it is best to address all immigration problems this session of Congress, even if in different bills. The standards follow the Senate’s approach of promising border security and workplace enforcement (through typically meaningless `triggers’) in exchange for immediate amnesty of those here unlawfully.”
Mr. Morgan reminded his readers that the United States tried amnesty in the 1980s when Congress passed a bill and President Ronald Reagan signed it into law. The law was supposed to solve our immigration problems once and for all time. It provided amnesty for about 3 million illegal immigrants while promising border security and workplace enforcement. “Unfortunately, the promises were not kept. Today more than 10 million unlawful immigrants reside in the United States. Instead of repeating past mistakes, a truly step-by-step process would be to ensure border and workplace laws are being enforced, period. The only real way to be sure that unlawful immigration has been stopped is to count the number of unlawful immigrants in the census.
So many people are talking in circles about the immigration topic that I have a difficult time understanding exactly what they are saying. I appreciate the following explanation given by Mr. Morgan: “Some have confused the terms `amnesty’ and `path to citizenship,’ implying or stating that a new path to citizenship would be amnesty, but legal status is not. Allowing those in the country unlawfully to stay and work in the United States, i.e. granting legal status, is amnesty. Granting a path to citizenship is actually amnesty plus. Others insist that because legal status is not automatic or has some conditions, it is not amnesty. Some describe these proposals as `earned legalization.’ Their argument also falls short.”
Mr. Morgan quoted other experts at Heritage to support his position. In analyzing the term amnesty used in the 2007 debate over immigration reform, Heritage’s Matthew Spalding concluded that “the granting of legal status is still `amnesty’ even if it is conditional and not automatic or does not necessarily end in citizenship.”
David Addington at Heritage explained the term “amnesty.” “The term `amnesty’ is often used loosely with reference to aliens unlawfully in the United States. Sometimes it refers to converting the status of an alien from unlawful to lawful, either without conditions or on a condition such as a payment of a fee to the government. Sometimes it refers to granting lawful authority for an alien unlawfully in the U.S. to remain in the U.S., become a lawful permanent resident, or even acquire citizenship by naturalization, either without conditions or on a condition such as payment of a fee to the government or performance of particular types of work for specified periods. Amnesty comes in many forms, but in all its variations, it discourages respect for the law, treats law-breaking aliens better than law-following aliens and encourages future unlawful immigration into the United States.”
I believe that amnesty in any form is wrong for our nation. How can we be a nation of laws when our own government rewards those people who break the law? We should have learned from the amnesty program in the 1980s that amnesty does not work but in fact makes the problem worse. I believe that our nation must stop granting citizenship to the children of those who come to our nation illegally. If the parents are illegal, then the children should be considered illegal; therefore, the entire family should be deported. If we insist on granting citizenship to the children of illegal aliens born on our soil, then we should still deport the entire family and allow the children to come back when they become adults and can prove they are capable of providing for themselves. I believe that our nation must start using our brains to solve this problem and stop letting emotions make our decisions. My bottom line is that we should enforce the immigration laws now on the books before we even consider new laws.