While I disagree with the president on a lot of things, immigration is one of those rare instances where I agree with him. (I do not agree with him bypassing Congress but that's another topic.)
The problem is too complicated to just say something simplistic like "send them all back." Even if that were made the law, how would law enforcement root out every illegal person? How would they get back to Mexico or wherever? Trucks? Thousands of them? Children would suffer. It would be a humanitarian crisis.
President Bush worked hard to get his own immigration reform bill through Congress but the fight ended in failure in 2007. These were the keys to his plan:
- A major new investment in border security, including doubling the Border Patrol by the end of 2008 and temporarily deploy 6000 National Guard troops
- The temporary worker program, which would include a tamper-proof identification card
- Stricter immigration enforcement at businesses, which would reduce exploitation and help slow demand for illegal workers
- Promote assimilation by requiring immigrants to learn English
- What to do with the approximately twelve million illegal immigrants in the country? [I outlined] a rational middle ground between granting an automatic path to citizenship for every illegal immigrant and a program of mass deportation.
All of the Bush points are valid. His program is just more strict than the current one, and automatic amnesty isn't really there.
My son had to take ESL [English as a Second Language] English for the first 3 yars he was here. A lot of his friends were hispanic. These were good kids, most of them, who weren't responsible for their parents coming here illegally. Punishing them for that is cruel.
My personal belief is that illegal folks who come here and don't commit crimes should be given some way to become citizens. The criminals should be sent back.
But think about this: if illegals are given a fair path to citizenship, they will become tax-paying folks. The new taxes will help our country. Instead of being a drain, new citizens will immediately help the USA. This is the most compelling argument I can make.
I don't approve of people who come here and won't learn English. English is our language and we shouldn't cater to folks who can't speak it. I get irritated when stuff comes home from school in Spanish. If we stop forcing everyone here to translate everything into Spanish, they will be more motivated to learn English.
If I were to go live in Greece, for instance, I would learn Greek. It's only logical. I wouldn't expect everyone in Greece to learn English for me. Same for any country where I was living. I lived in Kazakhstan for 3 weeks when I was adopting Michael and I learned as much Russian as I could. I tried very hard. It was logical and fair. Americans who refuse to learn the languages of countries they are visiting are being rude.
But back to my original thesis: immigration reform is NEEDED. We desperately need to address the problem NOW. I hope and pray Congress will do something meaningful soon.
During World War II, America didn't allow the St. Louis passengers to stay here, and most were Jewish and went back to Europe to face death. President Roosevelt didn't show compassion and it was a horrifying thing, a tragedy. I would hate to see anything similar to that in my lifetime.
America was built by immigrants and we should never forget that.