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Congress considers special treatment for people who are in the country illegally

January 28, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
Why reward people who came here illegally?

According to an Associated Press story today, Congress is apparently going to take up legislation that would offer a "path to citizenship" for as many as 11 million people who technically don't have a right to live here. Granted, the requirements are fairly stringent. Anyone who wants to jump through all the government's hoops in order to stay here can expect to shell out a lot of money, have his or her background checked out by the local cops and wait for several years before they even have a chance at a green card. According to the Senate plan, these people would have to register with the government, undergo a background check, pay a fine and back taxes to gain probationary status and the right to live and work in the United States.

The U.S. would deport people with serious criminal records or those deemed a threat to national security. People who are granted probationary status would "go to the back of the line" behind people who already applied legally for a green card. Once he gets his green card, the illegal immigrant would have to wait more years, undergo another background check, take English and citizenship classes and pass a citizenship test to be considered for citizenship. They supposedly would not be eligible for welfare or health care benefits under the proposal, though I've seen articles speculating that this legislation could make it easier for illegal immigrants to qualify for health care benefits. People who were children at the time they arrived in the country illegally would not be penalized. Agricultural workers would also get preferential treatment compared to other illegal immigrants, in recognition of the value of their work.

The proposed legislation does have its good points. The legislation would also tighten border security, improve checks on people with visas to make sure they leave the country on time, and make it easier for employers to check an employee's immigration status to avoid hiring people who are here illegally. The bill also would grant green cards to foreign graduates of an American graduate school or Ph.D program who have earned advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or math. We certainly need more immigrants who are Ph.Ds with STEM degrees and other highly skilled immigrants and people who have attended an American university are likely well acclimated to American society.

But let's call this what it is: Amnesty. Congress did the same thing back in 1986 and claimed they'd never do it again. But, 27 years later, here we are again, granting special privileges to all the people who came here illegally since that time. I've interviewed immigrants who waited for 15 or 20 years to come here legally. Some of them are still separated from their families in other countries. The illegal immigrants who are considered for probationary status will get to be with their children in this country and have permission to live and work here while all the legal immigrants in other countries are waiting to come here.

This appears to be an option mainly because Republicans lost the Presidential election and fear they will not win a national election again without the Hispanic vote. It will likely also be popular with wealthy employers who hope to continue to employ immigrants at lower wages than they would have to pay native born Americans. It's Americans who have to compete for blue collar jobs who will lose out under this policy. Americans will also lose out if Congress continues to grant an amnesty to illegal immigrants every 30 years.


Article Comments



Feb-18-13 9:43 AM

Well we have news of a proposed Immigration program to keep many of the workers who are here through visa or otherwise on the job. Good news because I love veggies with my meat and potatoes.


Jan-31-13 6:39 PM

H4C, thanks you for good talk of my Engleesh. Been working hard.



Jan-30-13 5:26 PM

"unbelievable" for the spelling gurus


Jan-30-13 5:25 PM

If there are immigration laws on the books already, and if they're not currently being enforced, then why in the wide world would anyone be interested in writing any more laws about the issue?

Either do away with the laws which make people "illegal"--excuse me, "undocumented" for those with feelings--or get busy enforcing the laws.

Some people have respected the immigration process, and what has it gotten them? A long wait, like Andrea said. And those who haven't respected the process? They get a reward for that?

Unbelieveable. But true in USA 2013.


Jan-30-13 4:48 PM

If they are already here and part of the system I believe we should make them tax paying citizens. After all most of them are here to work, what more can we ask for in a fellow citizen than a willingness to work. Some may say durk-a-dur but I bet they all have jobs and a sense of security in their lives we all deserve if we work for it.


Jan-30-13 11:51 AM

Securing the border is the first logical step. If we don't do that, there is NO reason to do anything else. If the border is secured, will it keep everyone out? No. Will it greatly reduce the number ? Yes, trucks will have more difficulty driving through a checkpoint than across open desert. Do I feel sorry for those living in poverty? Absolutely. If we sent money there, would those peole see that money? Probably not. But we can not afford to carry all the illegals here in this country. If they came illegally and PAID for their own needs, we wouldn't be having any discussion about illegal immigrants or as they prefer to be called undocumented immigrants because the term illegal has such a negative connotation.


Jan-30-13 8:57 AM

I was just being sarcastic stating instead of making up an excuse to invade Iraq we could have made up an excuse for Mexico. It was closer and certainly would have solved two problems and would have been much cheaper to operate a war closer to home and I believe we could have finished that war much sooner. Plus look at all of the additional laborers those small businesses could get for little or nothing to boost our economy! It would certainly bust the unions! RIGHT! I am surprised Bush/Cheney did not think this all the way through.


Jan-29-13 10:00 PM

I even have the bumper sticker! We couldn't keep you out! So we will take you out!


Jan-29-13 9:58 PM

h4c you may have something there it would have been cheaper to invade Mexico and take over and rebuild that country, rather than Iraq. We wasted all that money building a fence when all we had to do was move our forces in and do a little "shock and awe".


Jan-29-13 3:30 PM

We might start by decriminalizing marijuana and eliminating some of the demand for illegal drugs from across the border. Their violent drug wars are in part fueled by a U.S. market for illegal drugs from Mexico. I sympathize with Mexicans who come here because of poverty or because they don't feel safe in their own country but the United States economy can't afford to support all of the poor of the world, either. California has a large share of Mexican immigrants, both legal and illegal, and it's going broke from the demands on its health care and education systems. Mexico also is quick to deport anyone who comes to their country illegally and has harsher penalties than ours.


Jan-29-13 1:26 PM

This illegal immigration is a real problem for a very long long time and have dealt with it incorrectly. The best way to stop it is to help Mexico improve their economic situation to keep their citizens from wanting to come to the US in the first place. We are so busy helping foreign nations overseas, but we should be concentrating our efforts on relations with Mexico,Central America, and South American countries.


Jan-29-13 12:33 PM

I'll add that I think the immigration system should probably be reformed so it doesn't take 25 years for someone to get permission to come here legally and more temporary guest worker programs would be a good idea.

One of the problems with the current system is that it prioritizes family connections over skilled workers. Other countries like Canada give preference to workers in fields that they have a need for and/or require that the immigrant have enough money in the bank so he won't rely on social welfare programs for income. We do require that legal immigrants have a sponsor who will help with expenses, etc. when the person comes over but of course illegal immigrants often don't have "sponsors." We are also one of the few first world countries that continues to have birthright citizenship. American citizen children of illegal immigrants automatically qualify for welfare and Medicaid and other assorted programs.


Jan-29-13 11:33 AM

From a practical standpoint, you can't deport 11 million people or perfectly secure thousands of miles of border. But letting people who are here illegally stay here and work legally sounds like a really good way to encourage more people to come. The ones introducing the bill have made a point of saying these people have to go to the "back of the line" but it isn't REALLY the back of the line when they can live and work here and raise American citizen children when there are people in other countries who have been waiting since 1989 to come here legally. I can see why that would outrage people who tried to do things the legal way and see those who bent the rules getting everything first. It's not fair and it's not good for our national economy that is already at the breaking point.


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