Friday, January 05, 2007

Let's try again on comprehensive immigration reform

The following is an excerpt from the recent editorial "Let's try again on comprehensive immigration reform" published by the Mercury News:
Path to legal status

Serious immigration reform has to include a way for many of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants to become legal residents. Critics decry this as amnesty for lawbreakers, but there is no practical way around it. Authorities can't find and deport 12 million people. The Kennedy-McCain bill divided illegal immigrants into three groups based on how long they've been here, with different rules for each. Rep. Zoe Lofgren of San Jose, incoming chair of the House immigration, border security and claims subcommittee, thinks that approach is too complicated.

``We do have to pass something a brain-dead bureaucracy can work with,'' she said. A better strategy would be to sort immigrants based on how much they contribute to the economy and society: length of employment, payment of taxes, special skills and family ties to legal residents. Communities would benefit from offering legal residency to those with the strongest ties and the most to offer.

People who entered the country illegally should face penalties. But deportation -- especially breaking up families -- isn't good for them or for society. Fines would be more effective. To reward those who did follow the rules, that money could be used to clear the backlog of applications from legal immigrants who clearly qualify for permanent residency or citizenship.

For a link to the full editorial, click HERE.

2 comments:

Pixey Chart said...

I don't understand how deportation would breakup families. Or - more specifically what is the "big deal". Doesn't prison break up familiies? If a family members commits a crime, he/she goes away (to jail) and is separated frrom his/her family. War separates families as well, but such is life.

Why not adopt a policy that if an adult is deported, then the dependants of that responsible (?) adult (children, wife, husband, elderly parents, etc) also go with him/her. This would solve the family breakup cunundrum.

Pixey Toast said...

Admitedly I think the family breakup argument is weak at best. Many events in life separate families - prison, war, illness, work, etc. A person sent to prison is separated from his/her family - that's part of the deterrent. I don't think the judge who sentenced Ken Lay to 60 years in prison, was losing any sleep think how much his wife and children were suffering from his separation. In fact, it's probably understood to be an integral part of the punishment.

And families breakup even when they are living together - it's called "divorce". Why struggle to keep a family together, when they're just going to divorce anyhow?

So when a head-of-household (as the supposedly responsible adult) gets deported, it only makes sense that his dependents (children, spouse, elderly parents, pets, etc.) join him. In this way the family is kept together.

It's true that the US has a citizenship by birth policy (as Ireland used to have), but if the 'citizen' is a minor, the child really should go with his parents. He can decide at age 18 or 21 exactly which citizenship to keep.