A Compromise on Immigration?

This is what I’ve been saying for a while as the immigration debate has heated up. I don’t have a problem with people who want to work and desire a better life coming to this country. But the same fear that New Hampshire has of Massachusetts immigrants, and the whole West has of California immigrants works on a national scale too. What I fear from all those immigrants isn’t their presence, but the fact that they will consistently vote for the same types of people and ideas that ruined the place they came from. It turns out that if Republicans offered that compromise, it might just work. So OK, they can stay (Green Card), but because they broke the law to come here, they can’t ever naturalize (Vote).

27 thoughts on “A Compromise on Immigration?”

  1. I would suggest that someone look into the following with regard to “let them stay but don’t naturalize them” legislation: It seems to me that it is possible that would be unconstitutional.

    On the plus side, the constitution does grant congress the power to regulate naturalization, though not immigration — though the latter issue (immigration) is a dead-letter quibble, thanks to activist judges in the 19th century.

    However, I recently stumbled over the fact that the majority of “illegal” immigration isn’t actually illegal, as it is a civil and not criminal violation — with some exceptions.

    I would therefore expect someone to argue that denial of citizenship for a non-adjudicated civil violation, absent due process and conviction, was unconstitutional.

    I am hardly qualified to judge that, but I think it would bear investigation before proceeding too far with legislating; or, the legislation should attempt to address the potential problem.

    1. I was thinking that too, but you could presumably structure the process such that you have to admit “guilt” to get the green card, in which case your “sentence” is to be denied naturalization. I’m not sure it would work. I’m not really knowledgable in this area.

    2. They can deny or delay naturalization for violations or misrepresentations made while on your green card. If you vote, for example, and admit to it. That is grounds for revoking your green card and deporting you rather than granting citizenship. It has happened even if the violation is innocent.

      There are different classes of green card. Such as the often Hollywood-mocked marriage status where people marry for convenience to get a foreigner a green card. That became so prevalent the law was changed. If you’ve been married less than two years at the time of the green card issuance, you are on a “probationary status” green card. If you divorce in that time, you lose the green card. You have to apply to have that status lifted and your green card trasitioned to the one of the “full” statuses. Other statuses are for employment-based sponsorships or family sponsorships. They know exactly how you got your green card simply by looking at it.

      So the solution in immigration law is to create a green card status that is ineligible to transition to an N400 naturalization application. I’d go even further than that and also make that status ineligible for allowing the holder to sponsor others. A not discussed and ignored aspect of the immigration debate is a path to legal residency under a green card without a path to citizenship as an appeasement, unmodified, would allow that now-legal immigrant to sponsor their family members to come here and they would be able to naturalize and vote down the line.

      This is a very sore subject for me as a legal immigrant. Even legalization without some type of punishment or serious inconvenience/scrutiny basically sends a message to those of us who followed the process that being here and bitching loud enough about your “plight” matters more than the rule of law.

      And the blatant aspect of it being done for political reasons rather than a matter of national policy saying we want to be a placed for the non-skilled or low-skilled to come to to make a better life for themselves. If that is the immigration policy we want, fine. Congress can change the law to favor those classes. I may not agree with it but at least it is being done the right way. Granting residency to those that have committed first civil violations and later criminal (you don’t stay here illegally without committing other crimes like identity theft, drive illegally and so on) solely on the basis that it is “too hard” to deal with the problem is a slap in the face to every legal immigrant and every one still waiting to come here.

      The other aspect is there is simply no trust on this issue. The concerns are legitimate. The same promises and rhetoric being used now are the same ones that were made in 1986 with that general amnesty. And look where it led. Hence the piecemeal approach being proposed by the Republicans. Demonstrate trust on security and then we’ll discuss legalization paths. Democrats want it in the other direction.

    3. Wrong – look up entering without inspection. It’s a crime. Look up perjury – lying to the government about your intentions to stay is a crime.

  2. Step 1 is to get them in the door with this “compromise”. Step 2 is a lawsuit that goes all the way to the supremes that declares the compromise to be unconstitutional and that they have to be allowed to naturalize (and therefore, vote).

  3. That plan will NEVER work..and here’s why. You’ll will legalize all these people but won’t allow them to vote. A few years later the Dems will be screaming, “How can we have all these people being treated like second class citizens? They have proved themselves to be hard working, tax paying Americans…they deserve the right to vote.” And thus, they’ll be a media driven firestorm over the way they are treated unfairly and they will be then given the right to vote. The Dems love this plan..it’s plays right into what they want.

  4. Do you honestly believe that if this became law, the next time the Democrats control Congress and the White House they wouldn’t change the law to allow a pathway to citizenship? Heck, considering how squishy establishment Republicans are on a lot of issues, I’m not entirely sure Democrats would have to wait until they were back in control. They’d just have to wait until they didn’t think anybody was paying attention.

  5. Step 1: Get them in the door.
    Step 2: Once everyone accepts that they’re here, work on making them citizens REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THAT WAS BARGAINED AWAY TO GET THEM IN THE DOOR.
    Step 3: Repeat.

    If they were shown to overwhelmingly support Republicans, does anyone really believe the Dems would be tripping over themselves to get them amnesty? If anyone believes they’re not trying to get illegals full citizenship with voting rights and entitlements, I have a universal healthcare plan to sell you that isn’t a step toward single payer.

  6. Back in the 80’s we passed an amnesty bill with the promise that border security would come next. It has been almost 30 years now, and we still haven’t taken any real steps towards securing our borders.

    I’m willing to have a conversation about what we do with the illegas who are already here (read: anything other than jail/deportation), but not until after we have secured the border.

      1. Seriously? I hope you mean “we’ll never have the political will”, which sadly may be true, but you’re completely wrong if you mean anything else. Remember, it’s not necessary for this security to be 100%–what if we could reduce the quantity of illegal entrants by, say, 65%?

      2. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try.

        Our non-existent border security, combined with our ineffectual policies, presents a major national security risk. Congress has been talking about the problem for damned near 30 years; I’m sick of just treating symptoms.

      3. With the full might of the US military and relatively loose ROEs (almost as loose as SWAT teams stateside :-P), we were unable to ever really secure the Iran-Iraq border or the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

        I don’t know why the US-Mexico border would be any different. You can delay, disrupt, or degrade trafficking networks, and you can deny the easiest routes in and out, but a determined smuggler will find a way.

        The border is 2000 miles long (land parts only — there’s lots more coastline). To put a sentry post ever 200 yards with two guys per post would require about 30K soldiers per shift. For steady-state ops you typically need five times the desired number to man the posts. So you’re talking 150K soldiers, or about 20% of the Army, to man posts.

        There are more high tech ways to monitor such an area which are less manpower intensive, but technology is not infallible or inexpensive. And even if you have high tech sensors, you still need significant numbers of guys on the ground to go check out the activity.

        I’m not saying it is impossible but I do think a lot of folks seriously underestimate the expense involved in “securing the border.” There are degrees of security, and you hit the point of diminishing returns.

        1. I hear land mines work wonders at slowing flow of personell through an area….

          And in case anyone misunderstands, the above is a very sick joke…

        2. In point of fact, you’ve brought up a separate but related issue: Drug policy.

          For the most part, there are only two things being smuggled across our borders: People, and drugs.

          As I see it, there are plenty of things we can do domestically (making it harder for illegals to find employment, ending our war on drugs, etc.) to drastically reduce the rate of illegal immigration. A hardened border region (multi-layer fence with electronic surveillance) combined with drastically reduced incentive to illegally cross the border would go a VERY long way towards solving the problem of our porous southern border.

          Also, the Pak/Afghan and Iraq/Iran borders are an entirely different issue; Any drugs are likely outbound, and the people inbound are largely militant islamist terrorists looking to kill people, not poor people looking for jobs. In the mid-east examples you cite, the incentives are different, and they are practically impossible to curtail. The same is not true of our southern border.

          1. How, exactly, does ending the War on Drugs reduce illegal immigration? I can see how a serious border fence might reduce drug importation across the border, but I don’t see how the opposite is true.

            1. The traffic northbound across our southern border is primarily made up of two things:

              *Immigrants (people trying to move here, both for opportunity, and to get away from the violent maelstrom of a failed state): and

              *Drug smugglers.

              In order to really have a substantive effect on the traffic across our southern border, we need to address both problems (especially since many of the former are lead across the border by the latter) in addition to hardening the border.

              We’ve already discussed how the former group can be reduced by reducing/removing their incentive to come here; that is to say that we can reduce their number by making it harder for them to illegally be employed/on the dole.

              Similarly, in order to reduce the size of the latter group, we need to effectively combat their incentives. The fastest and easiest way to do this is to end our war on drugs. Doing so will have two positive effects: First, domestic production will become possible (which has the potential to kill some/all demand for imported product); and second, imported product will no longer need to be imported in secret (foreign drug suppliers will no longer have to operate in the shadows, meaning that they will be able to use official ports of entry, and have the full benefit of the use of the legal system to resolve disputes.).

              Most of all, the last bit will have the largest positive effect: the majority of our problem with crime derives from the fact that those doing business on the black market have no legal recourse if/when they get screwed on a deal. This in turn often leaves them little choice but to resort to violence. Also, allowing foreign drug suppliers to become legitimate businessmen has the potential to stabilize Mexico, which in turn will reduce the incentive to cross our border illegally.

              Additionally, considering that Mexican drug cartels (and increasingly middle-eastern terrorists) are deriving the vast majority of their income from the illicit drug trade, it is getting to the point where ending prohibition is vital to our national security.

              I do recognize that there are trade-offs involved with such a shift in policy, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the costs associated with our current policies are completely unsustainable.

      4. All you have to do is place a VERY low threshold on what it takes to let them stay here.
        Let that stew awhile and then proclaim “Deportations are down 70%.” If the numbers are down obviously the border is secure.
        Problem solved.

      5. You can, but it is messy and ugly.

        Enforcing laws against hiring illegal aliens, however, is pretty easy. $1000 a day fine for knowingly hiring an illegal alien should be a discouragement. Some employers have submitted more than a 1000 I-9s with the same Social Security Number on it. They know that they are breaking the law.

      6. Not all parts of the border are equal. Much of it is quite mountainous, and not so easy to cross. There has to be some will to do so, however, and as long as corporations want cheap, docile labor and Democrats want the next generation of Democrats, the will is lacking.

        Imagine if Republicans ran in 2014 on a policy of: “Stop importing low-wage competition for American workers!” and reminded Democrats that much of what makes for minimum-wage jobs is illegal immigrants.

  7. Democrats will reject such a compromise because the whole point of ‘immigration reform’ for the Democrats is importation of new voters for the Democratic party.

  8. I’ve argued everytime you move to a state, you should have to wait 5 years to vote in that state’s elections. You can vote all you want for Federal officials. But you need 5 years to naturalize, and try out the local culture before you can affect change to said culture.

    1. Won’t survive court challenge. Connecticut (and many other states) used to require one year residency before you could apply for welfare. The Supreme Court struck it down in 1969, arguing that it violated strict scrutiny (part of the continuously and amazingly flexible definition of strict scrutiny that is one of the most destructive parts of 14th Amendment jurisprudence).

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