The majorities on both the left and the right can agree that the issue of immigration reform needs to be addressed. The problem then arises from the implementation of a solution, which is where the blame lies entirely at the feet of congressional leadership of both parties.
The general concerns and focus of the left, as I understand it as a first-generation American born of immigrants, is to ensure that those individual human beings who have effectively lived here for X number of years, and live in the shadows, and can’t buy property or invest into the economy, should be treated with dignity and respect and be allowed to live a life as equal to any other legal resident of this country.
The general concerns and focus of the people associated on the right are predominantly focused on the issue of citizenship:
1. the inability to remove the individual to their home country for commission of a crime, and...
2. the “political suicide” of adding net 8M+ voters into the opposing party, relegating them to permanent minority status.
For some reason, the “all or nothing” proposition on offer includes citizenship. It’s called a poison pill. Included by party leadership on an issue that they’d rather use as a culture war divider to incentivize us to hate each other.
In my practice, I asked every one of my undocumented clients if they would accept an offer of legalized status with no pathway to citizenship, fine/back-taxes, and risk of deportation for DUI and above. Not one would have turned down the options.
As for citizenship options, those remain the same as they are today. They can marry a US citizen, or have children in the country who one day petition for their citizenship.
Extending an explicit pathway to citizenship in this bill is, not simply unnecessary, it is an active impediment to a reform that could pass the House of Representatives as currently constituted and can remove this issue from the culture war permanently.
True lefties get most of what they want, in that millions of people come out of the shadows and can near-fully participate in our society in every way. The sole exception being the right to vote.
We should not be using the group of human beings suffering “in the shadows” as human bargaining chips in a wider debate about reforming our process of granting citizenship.
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