Monday, July 21, 2014


Image result for Immigration ReformThe term, comprehensive immigration reform, is commonly thrown out at political stomp speeches, but in many cases, the proposals are not truly comprehensive. President Obama frequently makes the compassion argument, but leaves much to be desired on how the problem can be resolved once and for all. On the other hand, the GOP takes the less popular role, at least in the eyes of the mainstream media, by putting forth the need to enforce current laws and secure our borders. The natural compromise between these two positions is to enact comprehensive immigration reform that offers both the compassion and border security needed to resolve the issue. 

Some will make the argument that comprehensive immigration reform has already been proposed, but that is not really the case. The proposal, passed the Senate, leaves the implementation of border security to the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security, which does not give much confidence that it will actually happen. Enacting the path to citizenship alone encourages more to skirt the process, and come into the United States undocumented. The goal should be to both resolve the problem of illegal immigration while extending an olive branch to those already in the United States, who have not committed further crimes and proved they can work.

Immigration enriches our society in many ways, but it needs to be done so in an organized manner. The status quo does not adequately work for either side. While it provides cheap labor for agricultural purposes and household services, the broken system and unregulated border create problems both for the individuals and society. The workers, given there illegal status, can be exploited for low wages. Additionally, states and federal governments lose out on tax revenues that would normally be paid by those workers. Furthermore, the unregulated border provides a national security threat since the open border can be utilized by entrants not simply looking for work. Comprehensive immigration reform can extend worker protections, recoup lost taxes, and provide security if enacted in a comprehensive manner.

There are relevant points being argued by critics of immigration reform, who equate the reform as providing amnesty to those who have broken our law. In all actuality, the illegal immigrants have broken immigration and tax laws, at the very least. They are not innocent bystanders by any means, but they should be able to reconcile for their crimes. Both sides seem to agree in levying a fine against the population, and even barring them from public assistance would be adequate. Affording them the opportunity to reconcile for their past, in exchange for their economic contributions, is one that is not amnesty but a practical solution to a growing problem.

Immigration reform needs to be completed as the stand off is being exploited. The rush of children to our border is not so much due to the violence in Central America, but the result of the policy interpretation and delay in addressing this crucial issue. The longer the process takes, the greater the problem becomes. The United States needs comprehensive immigration reform.