A Modest Proposal for Immigration Reform

jonathan_swift_trust_but_verify_1-30-14-2 Swift-boating immigration reform.

The old immigration conundrum is at the top of the news again for the umpitty-ump time for  the last -- what is it -- fifty, one hundred years.  For those of us who live in California the drumbeat is, shall we say, incessant.

But almost everyone knows the truth of the matter.  It's about power, i.e., votes. The Democrats want 'em and the Republicans want to keep things under control so they don't get voted out of office by the onslaught. The actual condition of immigrants, legal or otherwise, is the least of it.

Also worth noting is that Latinos are looking for special treatment that the vast majority of our ancestors, unless they were Daughters of the American Revolution or the equivalent, never had.  Most of our forebears stood in line and waited their turn, sometimes for quite long periods while facing brutal oppression in their home countries.

Latinos justify this preferential treatment by saying  much of our country was stolen from Mexico in the first place.  There's some truth to that, but almost all countries were stolen from somebody sometime.  Also, they point out that our country often looked the other way while we were flooded with convenient cheap labor from the South.  Undoubtedly, we have some culpability, but unless we want to be dealing with this problem for another hundred years, we have to reach some conclusions.  Our country lives by the rule of law -- at least we should.  Immigration policy has been a farce.

So here's my simple -- call it simple-minded, if you want -- solution, my modest proposal.  Illegal immigrants, assuming they have lived here for a decent period of time and have not committed a felony, can have amnesty, but they can NEVER be allowed to vote.  They can do anything else that is legal, but if they want to vote -- or run for office or practice law in our country, as just happened in California -- they must return home and go through the normal immigrant application process, however long that may take until they have citizenship.

This is a humane solution that does not make a complete mockery of the rule of law (only a partial one).  You can live a satisfactory life without voting.  Many who have the right to vote don't bother anyway.  (In 2012, only 57.5% of eligible voters voted in the presidential election.  Many fewer voted in other contests.)  It's up to the individual illegal immigrant here:  He or she can enjoy the privileges of U.S. citizenship without voting or go home and wait in line.

This takes political motivations off the table in immigration policy and allows it to be about the lives of the people themselves, not the advancement of politicians and their parties.  If our Democratic friends mean what they say about their "compassion," they should have no objection. If they do, they simply expose themselves as political opportunists with no real interest in the welfare of what they euphemistically choose to call "undocumented workers," only in creating a voting bloc.

This ruling would be a onetime only event for the eleven million or however many are inside our country now. Even if the border cannot be fully secured (I support border security but am not sure it can be obtained), this ruling should be put in place anyway.   It would not apply to children of illegal aliens brought here by their parents who are under the age of sixteen, but to everyone else. Those children, as they grew up, would have a track to full citizenship since they didn't choose to break our immigration laws.

You will note that the word NEVER is in caps.   That is a reminder that this law must be written as rigorously as possible.  As we have seen recently and repeatedly, the Democratic side is not to be trusted.  (You can keep your plan, etc., etc.) They are perfectly capable of enacting laws and then eliminating or altering them through executive fiat.  This a horrifying development for our country that most of us, myself included, have yet to fully grasp.

Alas, we must proceed anyway.  Trust, but verify.  But this time it's not with the Soviets.  It's with our own.