Monday, April 8, 2013

Illegal Immigrants: A Sensible Middle Way

I am dismissive of pollyannish searches for fabled "middle paths" and moderate compromises. However I fully support exploiting such phenomena when they occur naturally. We have such a path to solve the question of what to do about the 12,000,000+ people who are here illegally.

Pew survey results reveal that a vast majority of Americans want to cut illegal immigrants some slack, allowing them a way to stay here legally. Only 43% want to grant them citizenship however, favoring permanent residency instead. Not even 50% of Hispanics agree with granting illegal immigrants citizenship.

That's pretty much where I stand. You can stay, but the penalty you pay is you will never be a US citizen.  This solution gets people out of the shadows and removes a major human rights exploitation opportunity for unscrupulous businesses. It also paves the way for integrating the US citizen children of those who entered illegally and had children here.

Many Don't Want Citizenship

Many here illegally don't want citizenship, or want it only for reasons that a visa would satisfy.   So, we have an opportunity to take a humane action without cheapening the value of US citizenship.

Reuben Navarette sums it up nicely:
- Illegal immigrants don't care about citizenship nearly as much as politicians do. Their concerns are practical, not ideological. They want driver's licenses, the freedom to go to work without living under the threat of being picked up and deported and the ability to go back and forth between the United States and their home country;

- U.S. citizenship is something special, and it has great value. It ought not to be bartered away in a round of horse-trading. By all means, those who are legalized should be allowed to become citizens, but only by their own effort and on their own steam. There should not be a roadblock to citizenship, but nether does there need to be a direct pathway.  (Solve Immigration without a quick path to Citizenship)
Unfortunately, this opportunity will probably be destroyed by fringe element screamers left and right. Politics trumps human rights and common sense every time.

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