Time for Compromise on Immigration

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


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What do laptops, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, iPhones, and iPads have in common? Each in its own small way has contributed to the immigration problem we have today. These and other telecommunication advances have made it easier for authorities to track and identify people while also facilitate coordination across law enforcement agencies.

Whereas it would have been nearly impossible to trace the identities of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants (legal or otherwise) during the early part of the 20th century, today it is less so. Yes, are programs such as E-verify fallible? Sure, but the type of identification E-verify provides was impossible without the advancements of recent decades. And rest assured, as we continue to become more adept at identifying the tastes of the tween population when it comes to Hannah Montana and Total Dram Action, government agencies have and will continue to leverage these advancements in enforcing laws.

In my opinion, that’s a great step forward and we shouldn’t look to go back to the days where information was less accessible. But here’s a question for you: is the Italian immigrant who came here illegally in 1926 more morally justified than the Honduran illegal immigrant entering the United States for the first time in 2011?

My answer is no.

They both came to America to chase the same dream, one just happened to be alive during an era when Facebook (aka the world) knows what you had to eat for dinner last night so it’s much more difficult to hide behind a cloak of anonymity. And this to me is where our moral sense of the American dream needs to catch up to the technology of the day.

Let me make this point clearly, I do not believe the 1926 or 2011 immigrant should be allowed to enjoy all the rights and freedoms that come with being a legalized American resident. The reason is when we do that, we dilute the rights and privileges that come with the same. It’s like the saying that many guys have said behind their girlfriends’ backs – why the cow when you can have the milk for free? (Sorry ladies.)

It works the same with immigration. We cannot and should not provide driver’s licenses, college tuition, health care, or other governmental services to people who are here illegally. If we do, what point is there for them to become legalized? And what of the thousands of immigrants who do go through the tedious process of legalization?

Still, America is a place where people with nothing can make something of themselves and we need to make it easier to become legal and not forget that we displaced the Native Americans as many “illegal” colonists sought to escape from religious persecution in Europe. Our superiority complex (and more specifically, desire to be rich) later forced Native Americans off their land and enslaved an entire race of people for centuries.

Obviously, you and I had no direct part in any of this; however we are the beneficiaries of the people who battled for the freedoms we enjoy today. Therefore, I believe we have a moral obligation to make things right with immigration. No pure amnesty but we also cannot be ignorance of our immigrant history. So I ask those of us on the Right and my friends on the Left, let’s work on real immigration reform making the legalization process more streamlined and recreating value in the difference between legal and illegal immigrant.

It’s going to necessitate each of us to compromise in some way, and the question is, are we willing?


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