Is America’s immigration policy fair? Is it fair to American citizens? Is it fair to legal immigrants to the United States? Is it fair to illegal aliens or undocumented immigrants? Is it based on the rule of law?
Matthew Spalding, expert at The Heritage Foundation, wrote that the United States “beckons to its shores the downtrodden, the persecuted, and all those `yearning to breathe free” and “embraces those who come to this country honestly, armed with their work ethic, in search of the promises and opportunities of the American Dream.”
Spalding explained that the “key to the uniquely successful story of American immigration is its deliberate and self-confident policy of patriotic assimilation. America welcomes newcomers while insisting that they learn and embrace its civic culture and political institutions, thereby forming one nation from many peoples….
“The overwhelming result of this policy of assimilation, throughout American history, has been a strengthening of our social capital, the continuing expansion of our economy, and the constant renewal of our national purpose. America has been good for immigrants, and immigrants have been good for America.”
I would correct that statement to say that “legal immigrants have been good for America.” The immigration policies of the United States used to be based on law: those who obeyed the laws were blessed and those who broke the laws were penalized. The policies have now been turned upside down and law-abiding potential immigrants are being penalized for obeying the law while those who come to this country are being honored and promoted.
Many of the illegal immigrants to the United States come across the southern border with Mexico. That is interesting because Mexico has some fairly strong laws against immigration to that country. I understand that the following are Mexico laws: 1) There will be no special bilingual programs in the schools. 2) All ballots will be in this nation’s language. 3) All government business will be conducted in our language. 4) Non-residents will NOT have the right to vote no matter how long they are here. 5) Non-citizens will NEVER be able to hold political office. 6) Foreigners will not be a burden to the taxpayers. No welfare, no food stamps, no health care, or other government assistance programs. Any burden will be deported. 7) Foreigners can invest in this country, but it must be an amount at least equal to 40,000 times the daily minimum wage. 8) If foreigners come here and buy land … options will be restricted. Certain parcels including waterfront property are reserved for citizens naturally born into this country. 9) Foreigners may have no protests; no demonstrations, no waving of a foreign flag, no political organizing, no bad-mouthing our president or his policies. These will lead to deportation. 10) If you do come to this country illegally, you will be actively hunted and, when caught, sent to jail until your deportation can be arranged. All assets will be taken from you.
Mexico is not the only nation that has much harsher laws against illegal immigration than the United States, and yet the Left constantly condemns our nation for being mean to “undocumented immigrants.” Our immigration system is badly in need of reform, but the proposal currently making its way through Congress is not the kind of reform we need. I believe we should include some or all of the ideas that are purportedly laws from Mexico; however, I recognize that our political climate would never allow such strict laws.
The current immigration bill pending in the Senate, written by the Gang of Eight – four Democrats and four Republicans - has opposition and support from both sides of the aisle. Byron York, Chief Political Correspondent for The Washington Post, reported on the Senate bill. “Members of the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of Eight have stressed that under their new immigration plan, currently illegal immigrants will have to wait more than a decade before achieving citizenship. Newly-legalized immigrants will be given a provisional status and `will have to stay in that status until at least ten years elapse and [border security] triggers are met,’ Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told Fox News on April 14. `Then the only thing they get is a chance to apply for a green card via the legal immigration system.’ The green card process would take additional years, meaning the road to full citizenship could take as long as 15, or even 18 years.
“Unless it doesn’t. A little-noticed exception in the Gang of Eight bill provides a fast track for many – possibly very many – currently illegal immigrants. Under a special provision for immigrants who have labored at least part-time in agriculture, that fast track could mean permanent residency in the U.S., and then citizenship, in half the time Rubio said. And not just for the immigrants themselves – their spouses and children, too.
“A second provision in the legislation creates another fast track for illegal immigrants who came to the United States before they were 16 – the so-called Dreamers. The concept suggests youth, but the bill has no age limit for such immigrants – or their spouses and children – and despite claims that they must go to college or serve in the military to be eligible, there is an exception to that requirement as well.”
York’s article deserves to be read in its entirety because it explains how using the two loop holes can turn millions of “illegals” to citizens in just a few years. Neil Munro at The Daily Calls believes the “pending Senate immigration bill would bring a minimum of 33 million people into the country during its first decade of operation, according to an analysis by NumbersUSA, a group that wants to slow the current immigration rate.
“By 2024, the inflow would include an estimated 9.2 million illegal immigrants, plus 2.5 million illegals who arrived as children – dubbed `Dreamers’ – plus roughly 3.4 million company-sponsored employees with university degrees, said the unreleased analysis.
“The majority of the inflow, or roughly 17 million people, would consist of family members of illegals, recent immigrants and of company-sponsored workers, according to the NumbersUSA analysis provided to The Daily Caller.”
The immigration debate seems to be picking up speed because those leaders who should be upholding the law are the very people who are undermining the laws for political purposes. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund on April 24, 2013, and said that illegal immigrants have a “civil right” to earn citizenship: “Creating a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in this country is essential. The way we treat our friends and neighbors who are undocumented – by creating a mechanism for them to earn citizenship and move out of the shadows – transcends the issue of immigration status. This is a matter of civil and human rights. It is about who we are as a nation. And it goes to the core of our treasured American principle of equal opportunity.”
I believe that our immigration policies are failing all of us because they are no longer based on the rule of law. America has always been a land full of promises and opportunities; it has been a place where honest, hard-working, and law-abiding people could obtain the American dream. The American Dream was successful as long as immigrants came here legally and with the desire to become Americans. There are still many immigrants who come with this desire and goal, but there are far too many people who come to America’s shores and borders with ulterior motives. They do not want to assimilate and become part of the American “melting pot.” The best recent example of this is the bombing of the Boston Marathon by Chechen immigrants who lived on welfare and built bombs to destroy lives and properties.
The immigration policy of the United States has changed in recent decades until it is no longer functional. Jessica Zuckerman, an expert at The Heritage Foundation, is a third-generation American whose grandfather came to the American shores from Hungary following World War I. He left behind everything he had to “escape discrimination and destruction” and to give his posterity “the promise of freedom and opportunity in a new land.” Her grandfather’s story is not “unique” because “millions of immigrants have come to our shores with a similar dream, each bringing with them new experiences and pieces of their cultures that together form part of what makes this nation great.”
Zuckerman too believes that our immigration policy has changed. “Over the past several decades, however, immigration policy has become confused, unfocused, and dysfunctional. America lacks a simple system to attract the qualified immigrants who can help our economy and contribute to our nation. Millions of unlawfully present immigrants are undermining America’s core principle of the rule of law, while the legal naturalization process isn’t working as well as it should. Large-scale immigration without effective assimilation threatens social cohesion, along with America’s civic culture and common identity. This is particularly true when immigrants are assimilated into the welfare state rather than into a society of opportunity.
“It is high time for an immigration policy that serves immigrants and citizens alike. As an important part of this, we must find ways to reform our legal immigration system to create a process that is truly fair, orderly, and efficient. Indeed, currently there are close to 4.5 million individuals waiting in line to come to this country legally and some have been waiting for as long as 24 years.
“These numbers make one thing clear: America needs meaningful immigration reform. It must, however, be done in a deliberative and thoughtful manner. It must also seek to uphold the rule of law, welcome individuals through a legal framework, and discourage future flows of unlawful immigrants.”
Americans should be grateful that Congress cares about fixing our immigration system, particularly our broken borders, but we should be leery of the 844-page-plus “comprehensive” immigration bill being pushed by the Gang of Eight and the Obama Administration. The current bill is so large and covers so many areas of immigration that it will make the immigration system worse, not better. Like Obamacare, the immigration bill was “designed to solve everything” but will end up “creating as many problems” as it addresses.
James Carafano, another Heritage expert, listed five reasons why the “comprehensive” immigration bill is a failure that cannot be fixed. “1) Amnesty. This bill grants amnesty. It creates a framework for legalization for the estimated 11 million people unlawfully present in the United States…. 2) Fiscal Costs to the Taxpayer. This plan does not account for the government benefits, especially welfare and entitlement benefits, that would be paid to those who are legalized over their lifetimes. The additional costs to taxpayers would be enormous…. [The Obama Administration is currently trolling for illegal aliens and encouraging them to apply for food stamps.] 3) Government Spending. The bill is a Trojan horse for government spending, and in some cases, it appears the funding is unrestricted or ill-defined…. 4) `Border Triggers.’ The bill requires certification of `border triggers’ for stemming the tide of illegal border crossings before additional steps in the legalization process can proceed. But the Department of Homeland Security has been trying unsuccessfully to define credible metrics for border security since 2004…. Amnesty creates an incentive for illegal border crossings and overstays. Thus, the strategy laid out would drive up the cost of securing the border…. 5) Lawful Immigration Reform. The bill `modernizes’ lawful immigration and non-immigration visas. These modernizations include substantially lowering `chain’ migration; abolishing the diversity lottery; expanding the visa waiver; increasing high-skill migration; and expanding temporary worker programs.
I am for legal immigration but against those who come here illegally. I am also against amnesty for those who have broken our immigration laws. We had an amnesty program in the 1980s that was supposed to end our illegal immigrant problem, but it simply made the problem bigger by encouraging more people to come here illegally. The “comprehensive” immigration law currently pending in the Senate would only make the problem grow.
Americans deserve a better bill than the current “comprehensive” bill. I know that good immigration reform can happen, and I know that we need to do something with the illegal aliens currently among us. I also believe that we need to do things in proper order. The first thing we should do is secure our borders so that we know who is entering and leaving our nation. We need to have laws that will keep America’s enemies outside our borders while allowing freedom-loving people to enter our nation. We need a justice system that enforces the laws of the land fairly and squarely. Instead of a “comprehensive” bill that deepens the divide in our nation, we need to work on solutions that will work for all and upon which we can all agree. We need solutions that will be based on law – not emotions - and will be fair to everyone – citizen and immigrant alike.