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Our View: Immigration reform needs rational plan

Posted: August 25, 2012 10:00 p.m.
Updated: August 25, 2012 10:00 p.m.
 

While our elected officials in Washington, D.C., preoccupy themselves with partisan issues as they face admittedly huge problems, we believe the issue of immigration policy could be solved relatively simply with some common sense and a little across-the-aisle cooperation.

America’s current immigration policy is in shambles and needs to be dealt with now. The U.S. has an immigration policy unlike any other country, and it is not working.

The plight of people in the U.S. illegally with children who are citizens by birth is a story told over and over. The economic impacts of illegal immigration, both positive and negative, are the subject of speculation and posturing by numerous special-interest groups.

We believe that earnest discussions on illegal immigration can and should begin in Washington, D.C., and a solution reached.

That solution should begin with features that include the following:

- Improve and expedite the visa and work permit process so that foreign workers are moved into areas of national and regional need. The movement of companies has become more fluid in the international marketplace and so should the strategic movement of workers.

- Enforce existing and new laws pertaining to illegal immigration. Selective enforcement of the law compromises the integrity of any policy or process that is put into place.

- Create an amnesty program for those people who are currently in the United States illegally and create an improved opportunity for citizenship or work permits. The 12 million to 20 million people who are in the country illegally cannot be treated with indifference, but let’s be honest — we are not going to round them up and drive them back to the border.

The responsible solution is to create an opportunity for citizenship in accordance with historic, legal and national security requirements.

People in the country illegally should have 10 years to become citizens or be deported to their country of origin, period. Ten years is fair and plenty of time. No excuses.

- Convicted felons should be deported and cannot become citizens regardless of family affiliations. Committing a felony is a choice that should and does have consequences. No country should embrace criminals as a function of its immigration policy.

- Increase penalties for being in the country illegally.

- Increase penalties for companies not doing due diligence in their hiring practices.

- Drivers licenses and other government IDs should indicate non-citizens and their countries of origin.

- The privileges of citizens should always be superior to those of visitors and people in the country illegally. Otherwise, it has no point.

The issue of immigration is complicated and emotional, but we believe that keeping these specific points in mind can and would simplify the discussion.

The U.S. has always prided itself in being seen as “the land of opportunity.” So let us dispense with the shackles of entitlement and offer a real opportunity for citizenship and a responsible participation in the American Dream.

If we have the will, we can both honor our history and secure our borders.

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