A Word from a Conservative Latino on Immigration Reform

The blame for the myriad problems resulting from the failure to enforce immigration laws rests at the feet of the federal government.

Congress has now embarked upon a long-overdue effort to fix our nation’s legal and illegal immigration policies. While I applaud the sentiment which recognizes our immigration system isn’t up to the task, is utterly dysfunctional, and is unfair to both Americans and immigrants alike, we are in this situation because of the failure of our elected leaders to follow the very laws they expect us to obey.

For decades, both parties looked the other way; their neglect ravaged citizens and immigrants alike. Did they think nearly half a century's worth of dereliction of duty wouldn’t have dire consequences? Families are now split -- some are citizens, some are not. Children brought here as infants identify as Americans but lack the status to back that up. And as always is the case with government, Washington lays the consequence of their failures on the American taxpayer.

When either party has held a majority in Congress while controlling the White House, neither made an honest effort to bring the southern border under operational control. The current effort to right the ship is happening in an open manner, with the Judiciary Committee accepting debate and considering all amendments. That being said, I’m troubled that Senator Rubio has chosen to not hear the concerns and suggestions of conservative Latino groups, despite striking me as the only player who truly wants to find a workable solution.

The legislative deck is stacked against security-minded Americans. If the Senate produces a proposal which ignores security, it will be up to the House to rectify this deficiency. That’s when we will learn whether or not President Obama and his party are truly interested in a compromise: judging by their actions and rhetoric thus far, I’ll wager Mr. Obama will work to pay off labor and torpedo reform. This will also have the added bonus, for Obama, of creating a political issue to tar Republicans with in the 2014 midterms.

Throughout the coming debate, every citizen should hold their politicians' feet to the fire regarding U.S. citizenship and its value. In the push “to get something done,” our elected leaders conspire to cheapen what it means to be an American. As we have seen with other government programs, the tendency is to lower standards to achieve a desired result on paper -- this cannot be allowed to happen to the criteria for U.S. citizenship.

I hope our leaders choose to hold American citizenship in the highest regard by making immigrants who seek to be Americans work for it. Who knows -- the newly minted Americans, many of whom come from oppressed left-wing nations, may set examples for their new countrymen and remind us how precious our liberty and freedoms are.