It’s time to solve the immigration problem once and for all

It’s time to solve the immigration problem once and for all

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Ellis Island.
Ellis Island, NY. We once had a clear and rigorously enforced immigration policy. This main entry point for immigrants to the U.S., closed in the early 1950s. (Via Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON, February 27, 2015 − While we wait for our elected leaders to supply funding to an agency that provides security to all Americans, much time and effort is being wasted on arguments, lawsuits and posturing. It really is time to stop this, and come up with a solution on the immigration problem once and for all. We know the solution will not be easy.

There are a couple of points where we all should be able to agree. We need to have the proper amount of security on our borders so that citizens who choose to travel, can move relatively freely and where sufficient protection is provided so that undesirable people cannot enter the country. A secure border is a necessity.

We also recognize that we are a nation of immigrants. As such we need a policy that allows people, who we welcome, to enter the country and eventually become US citizens, while keeping the undesirable people out of the country. A policy could be found that is supported by a majority of Americans.

The problem is what to do with people who came to the US illegally, never were able or willing to obtain US citizenship but are now productive members of society. Some even have American born children. There are two arguments, and both of them make sense, which is why finding a solution to this problem is so difficult.

One side argues that regardless of the current situation, if a person entered the US illegally, that individual cannot get citizenship. He broke the law when he entered, he never took the proper steps to rectify the situation and since we are a nation of laws, he must leave the country and then enter legally. We cannot condone illegal behavior nor can we completely forgive it.

There are, after all, millions of immigrants who entered the country legally and followed the usually lengthy process to become a US citizen. It certainly isn’t fair to allow those who did not follow the rules to have them same benefits as those who did. Nothing that comes even close to amnesty could be accepted.

The other argument says that even though an immigrant entered illegally, he has been here for a number of years. Many are married and have children born and raised in the US. They have become an integral part of our communities and have built bonds of friendship. Since Americans are very compassionate, we do not want to cause severe hardship on families who are our friends and whose children have grown up alongside of all of our children.

That’s where the problem lies.

For the last six years the federal government has spent too much time arguing and positioning and too little time governing. They have issued what appears to be illegal executive orders, filed numerous and costly lawsuits and refused to vote on any compromise positions. Perhaps now it is finally time for them to come together to find a solution on this immigration issue. It would seem to me that a compromise position could be found that does not fully reward illegal behavior but does allow Americans to be compassionate toward members of their community.

Using the logic that almost all crimes have a statute of limitations, then the crime of entering the country illegally may also have a time limit for prosecution, so that after some amount of time, illegals who are contributing members of society could be given a path to citizenship. The problem is that those who like to adhere strictly to the law would not easily accept this position, even though it could be viewed as a reasonable compromise.

The reality is that because of all of the partisanship of the past six years, each side seems more concerning with adamantly selling there position rather than trying to seek a solution to the immigration problem. As long as this continues our well-paid elected officials will spend more of the time arguing and less time doing their job..

We pay them to govern, provide leadership and find solutions. It is time they earned their pay, especially on this issue.

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