Immigration reform seems to be turning into a race to be the most xenophobic right now. With the formerly rational Lindsay Graham preaching a constitutional amendment to remover the 14th amendment, things are looking pretty grim. That is why when I got excited when I read Patrick Dorinson’s contribution on Politico’s arena last week. Now there are two caveats to this. First, this is not exactly how I would like to see immigration reform done, but it is a really good starting point for negotiations. Second, Dorinson is more of a libertarian than republican, but it is a right wing approach, and therefore deserves some thought.
Immigration is like the Gordian Knot in ancient Greece.
Many tried to untie it but nobody was able to.
When Alexander the Great tried and tried to untie it and couldn’t, he unsheathed his sword and with a mighty stroke cut it in half.
Here is my rough solution to the Gordian Knot of immigration.
The one thing that is scaring many Americans is the great demographic shift that is happening in America particularly in the West. They fear that one day by sheer numbers they will be outnumbered by Latinos legal or illegal and be in the minority. This scares them not out of any racist feelings as the know-nothings in the Eastern media would have you believe but a fear of the unknown – the most basic fear of all people.
Take California for example.
It has been reported that by 2020 California would be a majority Latino state. That is only ten years away. The report went on to say that in 2007 Latinos were one-third of the population. And in 2010 illegal immigrants make up 7.3% of the population.
When people hear the phrase “pathway to citizenship” they also hear “pathway to voting” and then they get really scared. Again not out of racist fear but fear of losing their voting power.
Now everyone with half a brain knows you can’t deport 11 or 12 million people even if you could find them.
Let’s remember many of them are doing menial jobs that even with 9.5% unemployment many Americans think is beneath them. I don’t see a lot of poor whites or blacks standing in front of Home Depot at 6 am trying to find day labor to put food on the table.
And while there is a criminal element like the drug runners and gang-bangers, it is unfair to judge a whole race of people by the crimes of a few.
Every immigrant group that ever came to these shores had bad apples. The Italians had Lucky Luciano and the Mafia, the Jews Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel and the Irish had Bugs Moran and Dion O’Banion.
So here is my solution.
Triple the budget for ICE and the Border Patrol and secure the border. Cut some other useless programs to pay for it.
Every illegal immigrant will have a limited time frame to register with the federal government. They will be given background checks. Any with criminal backgrounds will be immediately deported.
They will be required to pay fines and any back taxes owed since many of them who have been here for years are paying taxes through their illegal social security numbers. That alone will be a nightmare to unscramble.
They will be required to learn English. That is the language of this country and it should stay that way.
They will be issued a legal status card similar to a green card that will give them the ability to come out of the shadows and if they are leading productive lives they can continue to do so.
But they will never be put on any “path to citizenship”. They will be out on a “path to legal status”. They can stay and work and contribute to this nation but no one should be rewarded with the most precious gift on this planet – the right to vote as an American citizen – if they broke the law to get here.
That would also be unfair to the millions of naturalized American citizens who stood in line at American embassies and consulates around the globe to apply to come here and on many cases waited years to realize their dream.
The children born here are U.S. citizens just as the 14th Amendment states. Sorry Sen. Graham but you are full of cattle crap.
I truly believe that if you removed this “path to citizenship” idea many more Americans would feel comfortable with the situation.
Take away the right to vote and you will go a long way to solving the problem and people would have more time to adjust to the changing American demographics.
Democrats will never agree to this because there only motive is new voters they can manipulate.
Republicans would be wise to embrace this approach or they risk losing the Latino vote for years just like they lost the vote of other immigrant groups in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
How about it politicians? Ready to step up to the plate or are you more interested in playing for political advantage?
Time to cowboy up.