Immigration Reform: Why Bi-Partisanship is Better Than Presidential “Compromise”
Published: Friday, February 8, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 10, 2013 17:02
Crops rotted in Georgia last harvest season. There was nobody willing to perform the menial labor required to pick them. The Secretary General himself, Mr. Eric H. Holder, Jr., has armed Mexican drug cartels along America’s southern border – violent groups that frequently bleed into the US – thus resulting in an increase in violence. The United States spends roughly $113 billion dollars per year enforcing illegal immigration laws; a cost that hardly seems worth it when one considers that undocumented workers add more to the economy than they take away with remittances.
The point is this: Illegal immigration is an extraordinarily complex issue that affects Americans on a multitude of levels. It is directly responsible for keeping the cost of food low while and has resulted in violence along the borderlands. The solution is not a simple one, and to pretend that it is does a massive disservice to the American people.
On the campaign trail, we witnessed two polarized views on what to do with the roughly 11 million people who are here illegally. President Barack Obama proposed general amnesty for immigrants who fulfill a certain criteria while Governor Mitt Romney suggested a policy of self-deportation. Both are puzzling, as they seem to wave the proverbial white flag on the issue. The President’s approach essentially says that we can’t effectively enforce our laws, so we should let people stay here in a state of limbo where they are unable to earn citizenship. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney’s take would have save us the $113 billion, but would have also meant surrender on the issue since, let’s be honest, who would leave the country?
Well, during the election, the Hispanic community came out strong for Barack Obama, showing that policies that allow for the undocumented to remain in the country (presumably with their families) are much more popular than telling people to just up and leave on their own. Big surprise there, right? However, Barack Obama’s policy is not a solution. Like many of the policies this administration has put forth, it is a stopgap measure that will only slow a hemorrhage without actually stopping it.
Enter Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl): Cuban savior for the Republican Party (well, on the Federal level – on the State level Republicans are doing extremely well with 30 Governorships and 27 State Legislatures). He has done the unthinkable by leading a bi-partisan commission (the “Gang of Eight”) in search of a solution for our immigration woes. This Tea Party Senator’s proposal has been vocally backed by the extremely liberal Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and moderates such as Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). It was birthed by a far right guy, supported by a far left guy, and has been endorsed by guys in the middle. Now that sounds bi-partisan!
But what’s so great about this proposal? Well, unlike the President’s solution, it allows for earned citizenship. This means that instead of entering limbo, illegal immigrants can become legal immigrants and, eventually, United States citizens. However, it also reforms the processes for entering the country legally (with an eye for getting more scientists into the US) in the hopes that people will be able to enter the country legally with greater ease. Furthermore, it respects the current laws by upping border security. Clearly this policy is much better than “amnesty.” True, it makes people work for citizenship, but what is more American than good old hard work? I submit that nothing is.
The only fear is that this measure will not pass either the Senate or the House, as many Republicans fear they will lose their seats if they back this legislation. That is foolish – this legislation is perfectly in line with Republican ideology. It says that if you work hard, then you, too, can join the great American family and reap the benefits of your work.