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Give Up On Citizenship And Get Reform? Not So Easy. By Roger Algase

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

The latest fad among immigration reform advocates is to blame the "pathway to citizenship" for holding up immigration reform. Their argument is that all we have to do is throw the dream of future citizenship for today's unauthorized immigrants overboard, and presto! - the Grand Immigration Reform Bargain (GIRB), including legalization for 11 million people, will suddenly materialize and reach the president's desk.

(I use a nautical image since previous reform compromises have left no more room under the bus for land-based ones.)

The latest version of this argument comes from Esther Cepeda, a Washington Post writer, in a December 30 article called Esther Cepeda: A Path to Immigration Compromise appearing in journalstar.com

The link can be found in the December 30 issue of Immigration Daily.

Quoting recent polls which, not too surprisingly, show that Latino and Asian immigrants are more worried about the threat of deportation than they are concerned about future citizenship, Cepeda writes:

"This tells me that a majority of the majority of the ethnic and racial groups with skin
[no pun intended, I am sure] in the immigration reform game would be willing to compromise on a package that provided the legal rights, working rights and in state college tuition preferences without including an expedited or "special" pathway to citizenship."

Good enough. So why don't we already have such a compromise? How come CIR hasn't already been signed, sealed and delivered, if that's all that is holding it up?

According to Cepeda, it's all the fault of the overreaching liberal politicians who only care about scoring political points and are willing to sacrifice 11 million immigrants in order to do so. She writes:

"The immigrant advocacy groups, politicians and other parties who are invested in immigration reform solely for the purposes of creating a perpetual Democrat-leaning voting bloc are both cynical and misguided.

They have been playing high stakes poker by pushing citizenship-only plans on Republicans who fundamentally disagree with bestowing the cherished right of citizenship upon people who broke laws in order to come to this country - and then demonizing such lawmakers for not compromising.

And so far, these activists and their supporters have been winning. Poll after poll shows that immigrants and other minorities tend to look on Republicans as people who are intolerant of them based solely on country of origin, skin color or native language."

How unfair! How nasty toward Steve King, who calls DREAMERS "drug mules" and all those other poor, much-maligned, House Republicans who refuse to go to conference with the Senate on reform under any circumstances! Of course, if self-serving politicians keep labeling the Republicans as racists and bigots, or try to force them to give the precious right of citizenship to all those non-white lawbreakers coming in from Mexico, how can we ever expect to have the great compromise, GIRB, on immigration reform? What to do?

Cepeda has the solution:

"Compromise already! Ditch the politics, legalize the 11.7 million who aren't a threat to their communities or national security, secure the border and let's move on."

What a great idea! There is only one small problem. Where are the House Republicans who would be willing to accept legalization for 11 million immigrants of color as part of any deal at all?

Even in the Senate, only 14 out of 45 Republicans voted for legalization. And remember when CIR was "Dead on Arrival" as soon as it reached the House? Or is remembering all the way back back to June and July too much effort as we now enter January of another year?

Does anyone seriously think that giving up on a "special" pathway to citizenship is going to persuade Steve King, the Tea Party, Heritage Action and assorted highly vocal and influential hate groups who look on "amnesty" as little short of treason, and are threatening to "primary" anyone in Congress who even mentions the word "reform", to compromise on legalization?

I am not saying that the "pathway to citizenship" should be held to at all costs, even if it means that reform goes up in flames. But citizenship is one of the essential attributes of a human being. When we let that go, we are giving in on the dignity and humanity of the people who are denied citizenship.

Once we let that recognition of humanity go, what is the next step in stripping 11 million brown immigrants if their right to be considered as human beings? Answer: expulsion from the country. That is what history has always taught.

When the immigrant haters see that reform advocates are so eager to throw the right to citizenship for 11 million people overboard, it is not surprising if they think that these same reform advocates might be ready to take the next step in appeasement of hate and intolerance - namely giving up on legalization too.

Immigration advocates who are so ready to give away the store on citizenship may actually be setting back reform by taking away any incentive for the other side to compromise.

Maybe showing a little more backbone on the fundamental human right to citizenship in the country where one lives, works, pays taxes, raises a family and has the strongest ties, instead of more of the same old appeasement and cave-in on yet one more reform issue, might actually help to bring about the main objective, i.e. legalization for 11 million immigrants in 2014, which everyone seems to agree will be the do or die year for immigration reform.

What results did the pro-immigrant side get from its "compromise, compromise, give in, under the bus, throw principle overboard" strategy of trying to appease Tea Party controlled GOP bigots who won't even talk about making a deal, but only want to kill reform at all costs in 2013?

If immigration supporters continue to follow the same path of "compromise" on anything and everything, no matter what the price, will 2014 be any different?

Just a thought.

Happy New Year to everyone!




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Updated 01-02-2014 at 12:52 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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