Congress won’t pass a “comprehensive immigration-reform” bill this year because congressional Republicans don’t trust President Obama and his fellow Democrats to keep their word on border enforcement. “There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our (immigration) laws,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, “and it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.”
I tend to agree with Boehner because I don’t trust the president and his “progressive” attorney general, Eric Holder, to enforce our nation’s immigration laws. A president who lied to us about Obamacare (“If you like your health care policy, you can keep it”) and tells us that there’s no corruption at the IRS can’t be trusted to follow through with his promises on border enforcement, which is an indispensable requirement for real immigration reform.
Obama’s comprehensive immigration-reform plan would put more than 11 million illegal immigrants on a relatively fast track to citizenship, which would turn them into voters sooner rather than later. On the other hand, the Republicans’ step-by-step approach to immigration reform would emphasize border security and slow down the so-called “path to citizenship.”
I prefer the GOP approach on immigration because I don’t believe we should grant de facto amnesty to people who knowingly violated our immigration laws. In fact, most countries don’t offer paths to citizenship to illegal immigrants. Mexico, for example, sends illegals right back over its southern border with Guatemala. We should replicate Mexico’s policy.
But because it isn’t possible to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, we should follow the GOP blueprint by establishing a path to legal residence for those who haven’t violated other laws, while denying them a fast track to citizenship. “There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws,” Republicans declared in a document last month. They went on to call for “specific enforcement triggers” including border security and other enforcement measures before undocumented immigrants can attain legal status.
The GOP document states that immigration problems cannot be solved with “a single massive piece of legislation” and calls for a step-by-step approach to illegal immigration. “Our nation’s immigration system is broken, and our laws are not being enforced,” Republicans asserted. “Washington’s failure to fix them is hurting our economy and jeopardizing our national security.” The New York Times commented that Obama and congressional Democrats may soon have to decide “whether to abandon the creation of a new path to citizenship ... and accept tough border security and enforcement measures that they have long criticized.”
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., a leader in the immigration-reform movement, urged Democrats to consider the GOP approach. “If your standard is citizenship for everyone immediately or no immigration reform at all, you’re going to get no immigration reform at all,” he said.
Having followed this issue for many years, I know that most illegal immigrants don’t want to become citizens. They just want to work hard and send money to their families.
Illegal immigration advocates want to legalize everyone at once. Fortunately, that’s not going to happen.
Guy W. Farmer is a retired U.S. diplomat.