Citizenship For Illegal Immigrants
The Simple Solution
I am not a political person. I only write about political issues when they start to intrude upon my routine television viewing. The issue of the day is "immigration legislation", since ABC chose to air a segment in place of what I normally watch at 4:30 PM. ABC ruined my otherwise serene afternoon, so it is my obligation to enlighten the world on an issue that should never be televised outside of any network's allotted news time.
From what I gather, there is legislation on the table, that would facilitate the granting of U.S. citizenship to immigrants who did not go through proper channels when they originally entered this country. In other words, helping illegal aliens gain U.S. citizenship. I can see why some people might take issue with this, and why others might not, but to me, this is a classic example of Americans getting into a huff over nothing.
It is estimated that illegal immigrants account for less than 5% of the U.S. population, and working illegal aliens account for less than 5% of the U.S. work force. I imagine that some people might find these numbers upsetting, since it's reasonable to conclude that for every illegal immigrant who is working, there is a U.S. citizen out of work. However, we must keep in mind that first and second generation legal immigrants, who account for 25% of the U.S. population, comprise nearly 50% of the U.S. work force. If all illegal immigrants were deported tomorrow, then legal immigrants would still account for a large percentage of the U.S. workforce, relative to their percentage of population. So, if you have a problem with illegal immigrants taking jobs from Americans, then you might as well have a problem with legal immigrants taking jobs from Americans. And, If you have a problem with legal immigrants taking jobs from Americans, then you might as well have a problem with immigration, altogether.
I think that's the real issue. I believe that those who are against illegal immigration, are against immigration in general, and are just choosing to fight a fight that they have a chance of winning. It bears a resemblance to people who fight for gun registration legislation, instead of fighting for the banishment of guns. If there are people who are against immigration, then that's their prerogative, but I don't think that the U.S. will be abolishing immigration any time soon.
Enforcing borders would solve all the issues concerning illegal aliens, but the extent of our success in that area has been less than stellar. Two senators from Texas suggested that we track people, as they exit our borders, to help monitor everyone's immigration status. This is neither a terrible idea nor novel one. Many countries, including, Cuba, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, require "exit visas", and other nations, including Australia, the Philippines, and Mexico, charge an "exit tax", whenever people cross their borders by land, sea, or air. However, exit visas and taxes would apply to everyone who leaves the country, including native citizens.
From a financial viewpoint, not granting citizenship to illegal aliens, just because they entered the country illegally, does not make a whole lot of sense. If they are living here anyway, working here, raising families here, and contributing to their communities here, then it makes sense to grant them citizenship as soon as possible. After all, the sooner their social security numbers are injected into our computer system, the sooner they will be obligated to pay taxes on their income. Deporting them, and granting them citizenship later on down the line, to me, just seems like an exercise in delaying the inevitable.
By not passing this legislation, would it be making a statement to prospective illegal aliens to think twice before entering the U.S. illegally? I don't think so. By passing this legislation, would it encourage prospective immigrants to enter the U.S. illegally, instead of going through proper channels? Maybe. I just don't see a meaningful difference between granting citizenship to immigrants now, or doing it later.
Passing legislation which grants rights to immigrants who entered this country illegally, is not fair to immigrants who entered this country legally. No reasonable person can argue that. But from a U.S. citizen's standpoint, this legislation does not affect me either way. I am in favor of strengthening this nation. If there are illegal immigrants in this country, who have proven to be assets to their communities, then we should strive to grant them citizenship as quickly as possible.
I still don't fully understand why immigrants who are single, have to wait an additional two years before becoming citizens, whereas immigrants who are married to U.S. citizens do not. Are we urging immigrants to marry U.S. citizens, in situations where they ordinarily would not, or are we granting additional rights to immigrants who happen to fall in love with and marry U.S. citizens. That type of rule just adds to the already huge number of unhealthy marriages, which in turn, results in higher divorce rates, and more unstable offspring. I would rather grant citizenship to an illegal alien who is single and has had steady work for the last two years, than to a legal immigrant who is married to a citizen, but has been a burden to society for the last two years.
If somebody out there can find a cost effective way to control illegal immigration, then by all means, create a bill and try to pass it. Until then, the wisest thing to do, is to strengthen our economy by granting citizenship to working immigrants, whether legal or otherwise. That is my view, anyway.