Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Golden Opportunity for Americans and Immigrants

It’s past time for properly securing our borders and reforming our immigration policy, but citizenship should not be a consolation prize for circumventing our laws. Today, the president announced his plan for resolving our immigration problem. Unfortunately, it amounts to amnesty bundled up in a new box with a fresh bow. We did this in 1986 when we said, “If you come here illegally, we will award you citizenship for breaking our laws.”

Does anyone really think the undocumented are here because we have a broken citizenship process? No, they are here in the shadows because we have a broken workforce documentation process and a broken border.

Our president and other leaders in Washington must understand that changing our current citizenship process is not necessary to repairing our failed immigration system. Further, inserting a change to our citizenship process for certain people only continues to send the message to others that the U.S. rewards circumvention of our laws.

Any new policies must focus on securing our border and addressing workforce needs rather than rubber stamping citizenship through amnesty. We can be pro-legal immigration and pro-economy without creating a situation where we encourage future illegal entry. The president’s proposal is nothing more than convenience citizenship. We already have a pathway to citizenship; it is our naturalization process, let’s not undermine the process for becoming a US citizen.

There are more than 11 million illegal immigrants living with us today in the United States and I support a plan that allows them to become a legal part of the workforce. These hard-working immigrants living in the shadows should be allowed to come out of the darkness, pay a fine, submit to a criminal background check, secure verifiable employment and then attain legal worker status. I also welcome all who want to become a U.S. citizen through our naturalization process, but don’t want to make the mistakes of past amnesty that will only perpetuate the problems.

We can solve this problem and still ensure America is the land of golden opportunity for immigrants around the world, but let’s make sure we do this the right way and fix the broken system by taking the politics out.  

No comments: