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Immigration reform crucial



Published: Tue, May 14, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Angie Trudell Vasquez

McClatchy-Tribune

The terrible crimes committed during the Boston Marathon should not stall the urgent effort to reform our immigration system.

What happened in Boston is not the fault of the 11 million people who are in the United States right now without proper documentation. Look around you. The immigrants you come in contact with are good, hardworking people who only want a better life for themselves and their loved ones.

Many immigrants came over when they were very young. It wasn’t even their decision, and this country is the only country they have ever known.

But our current immigration system doesn’t take that into account. Instead, it separates children from their parents, who are either sent back to their country of origin or thrown into prison.

Pro-family initiative

If you believe that families are an important institution, you should be for immigration reform. And if you believe children should be with their parents, you should be for immigration reform. Immigrants make us rich in diversity and culture. Our willingness to welcome in people from all over the world is a huge credit to the United States.

And immigrants don’t sap our social safety net. They contribute more in taxes than they actually use in government programs, according to a recent study in the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare.

Yes, the government should do a background check for violent crimes on immigrants before they can become citizens so as to keep out anyone who would do us grave harm. But if they clear that hurdle, they deserve a path to citizenship.

And that path shouldn’t take forever. Today, there are immigrants in this country legally who have waited 20 years to become a citizen. That’s just cruel.

The path to citizenship should also be affordable. And the rules should be spelled out and fair for everyone.

Soon after the Boston bombings, a few Republican politicians made unfortunate comments suggesting that this dreadful event should upend the drive to immigration reform.

But now more Republicans are grasping that this is neither fair nor wise. The Republicans lost the presidential race in 2012 in part because they showed disdain for immigrants who are here without proper documentation. Infamously, Mitt Romney told them to “self-deport.” That was an insensitive and ridiculous answer, and it deprived the Republicans of a line of attack against President Obama, who has deported more immigrants and at a faster pace than any president in history. It is not something he should be proud of.

Neither party has done right by immigrants, and too many families have suffered as a result.

We are a better country than this. As a nation of immigrants, we need to be true to ourselves by passing comprehensive immigration reform now.

Angie Trudell Vasquez is a writer for Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary on domestic and international issues; it is affiliated with The Progressive magazine. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Comments

1donhonda(1 comment)posted 11 months, 1 week ago

First, we're not talking about immigrants, but Illegal Aliens who have committed a crime to enter and stay in the US. Second, they pay taxes???? The amount of any tax that is paid is very low and does not offset the costs of their continued Illegal existence here. Third, if they value their "family" so much, they they can join them back to their country of origin.

The Chamber of Commerce only wants a continued source of cheap labor that further drives down wages.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefin...

re: the Gang of Eight's comprehensive immigration reform bill:

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said, the legalization will come before the enforcement. Millions of illegal aliens will receive amnesty once DHS submits a plan to Congress detailing how they'll secure the border. Just to clarify, they only have to show a plan; they don't have to actually do it. Just like the border promises of 1986, these promises will likely be long forgotten after the amnesty is granted.

Illegal Alien border crossing up 50% since "Immigration Reform" talks started this year:

http://photos.santacruzsentinel.com/2...

Part I: Gang of Eight Break Promises of Paying Back Taxes

http://immigrationreform.com/2013/04/...

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2Jerry(445 comments)posted 11 months, 1 week ago

Four Principles for Reasonable Immigration Reform

I am the grandson and great-grandson of legal immigrants to the United States. It is not lost on me that this great nation is a diverse nation of immigrants and that continued acceptance of immigration is essential to maintain our heritage and to remain the light of freedom for the world. However, while it is necessary to avoid bigotry and xenophobia, it is also evident that reasonable immigration control by reasonable laws is required given the situation of the world. It is my belief that the immigration laws of the United States can be best reformed by finding the political will to predicate changes on four completely reasonable principles addressing application for entry, disposition of immigration law violators (illegal aliens), granting of publicly funded benefits, and birthright citizenship. By addressing these four areas, US immigration law can take away the incentive for making illegal entry into the United States, and greatly simplify enforcement. Border security, another necessity of immigration reform, must also be enhanced simultaneously, and I will not address that topic here; but enhanced security in combination with addressing the four basic principles of policy reform will have the effect of facilitating other modifications that are necessary to ease restrictions and bureaucracy involved with legal entry, and allowing the more liberal changes to our immigration laws that we are currently debating.

First, any reasonable immigration reform policy must recognize that application for legal entry into the United States is something that must always be done from outside the United States, or while visiting the United States legally. No person who is in the United States in violation of immigration law (illegal alien) should ever be granted legal status without leaving and then applying for legal re-entry from the outside via the appropriate and legal procedures. Any policy that conflicts with this requirement invites illegal entry by rewarding it, and is absolutely unacceptable.

Second, any person who has violated immigration laws of the United States and who is caught in the United States illegally must be deported and forever barred from re-entry. There can be no exceptions. This does not mean the United States must engage in “round-ups” or “mass deportations”, it just means that illegal aliens must be deported as they are caught.

Third, any reformed immigration policy must absolutely recognize that no person who is in the United State illegally is entitled to any benefits or services supported by public funds; and that identification and proof of legal status is an absolute requirement for application for any such benefits and services. This does not imply that emergency services and emergency healthcare should be withheld; however, once the emergency situation is resolved, deportation of persons here illegally must follow.

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3Jerry(445 comments)posted 11 months, 1 week ago

Fourth and most controversial, the privilege of citizenship can no-longer be granted to children born in the United States when the mother is not authorized to be here legally under the jurisdiction of the United States. These children are here as illegally as the mother and, in my view, altering policy and law in this manner does not conflict with the Constitution for several reasons. The words of the 14th Amendment indicate that birthright citizenship applies to “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof”. A person who is here illegally and without the knowledge of the government of the United States, and who is in the very act of defying the laws of the United States, cannot and should not be considered under the jurisdiction of the United States. I have also seen nothing in the record of the original congressional debate regarding the 14th Amendment that indicates the originators were considering illegal aliens at the time of the amendment. They were considering Native Americans, former slaves, and children of legal immigrants; but they were NOT considering illegal aliens in their debates. In addition, certain Supreme Court decisions that are often cited as supporting the traditional overly-liberal interpretation of the birthright clause actually do not address the situation of children born to illegal aliens in the United States. The frequently cited case of United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898) dealt with the citizenship of a child of non-citizen but legal Chinese immigrants. Another frequently cited case, Plyer v. Doe (1982), dealt with the education of children brought to the US as illegal aliens, but not born here. The ruling in Plyler v. Doe may be seen to have bearing on the interpretation of the words “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” in the 14th Amendment, but it does not answer the question regarding children born here, and the decision was a 5-4 split of the Court, with the dissent indicating that the Court was overstepping its bounds and that the matter should have been resolved legislatively (in other words, as a matter of law or policy).

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4Jerry(445 comments)posted 11 months, 1 week ago

It is additionally interesting that, in the Wong Kim Ark decision, the Supreme Court indicated that birthright citizenship of the 14th Amendment would, in fact, be excluded for “members of foreign forces in hostile occupation of United States territory”. While application of the term “hostile occupying force” may seem a bit harsh it is not unreasonable, considering that there are now in excess of 12 million illegal aliens (a number many times the larger than the combined US military forces) occupying the territory of the United States in defiance of our laws; and it is worthy to note that the Court was definitely allowing an exclusion of citizenship for the children of people who are present without permission and against the will of the people of the United States. There may be differing opinions on this issue, and legislative and judicial action will be required; but a change of law in this matter should be able to withstand Constitutional scrutiny.

I am very willing to accept immigration reform that facilitates legal and controlled entry into this country for anyone from anywhere; and once these four principles are accepted, other reforms that are necessary to ease restrictions and bureaucracy involved with legal entry will be facilitated. We will be free to discuss any other reasonable reforms that would facilitate the legal application process. We can discuss and implement laws allowing more legal entries. We can discuss and implement making requirements less stringent. We can discuss and implement streamlining the path to permanent residency and/or citizenship. We can discuss and implement a controlled and legal guest or migratory worker program. We can discuss and implement tougher enforcement and consequences for employers who employ illegal aliens. We can discuss any reasonable reforms, as long as it is recognized that the United States has an absolute right and duty to protect its borders and control entry of any and all persons from other areas of the world. What we cannot have is any law or policy which provides incentive of any kind to enter or remain in the United States illegally, or which provides any hope that by entering or remaining here illegally there will be a path to permanent residence or citizenship.

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