Why is this problem so hard to resolve?  It’s not nuclear science.  Here’s a quick rundown of the motivation each party brings to this impasse.

With a new added influx of an estimated 57,000 plus minor children being ferried into the country by coyotes, we don’t send them back; and we are setting up camps to warehouse them, creating an added crisis to the 11 million already here.

Why are conservative Republicans so hostile to granting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants?

First, their strict constructionist philosophy says they broke the law, they should be punished, not rewarded.  Second, they’re sure most of those new citizens will vote Democratic.  Third, unless the border is fixed or controlled, we’ll have the same problem in another 10 years.

These positions all seem reasonable, but they don’t solve the problem.  You cannot deport over 11 million people.  It is totally impractical.

On the other hand, the Open Border Crowd on the other side of the aisle has a differing view.

The Democrats (and the Catholic church) do not worry too much about fixing the border.  They want to provide the easiest way possible to get all the illegals to citizenship as soon as possible, because the Democrats want the votes and the Catholics want them in their churches.  Compassion is very secondary and their smoke screen.

As has been said many times, “The illegal alien problem is partially the fault of the U.S. government itself because for decades they didn’t stop people from crossing the border.  It let them come right over.  And for decades, it did not track down visa violators, didn’t care to.  So America itself is to blame.

Writing in the N.Y. Times, David Brooks outlined a number of interesting facts about our immigrant population.  “In survey after survey, immigrants are found to have more traditional ideas about family structure and community than comparable Americans.  They have lower incarceration rates.  They place higher emphasis on career success.  They have stronger work ethics.  Immigrants go into poor neighborhoods and infuse them with traditional values.

“When immigrant areas go bad, it’s not because they infected America with bad values.  It’s because America has infected them with bad values already there.  So the first thing conservative opponents of reform are trying to restrict is social conservatism.

“The evidence about assimilation is clear, too.  Current immigrants enter this country because they want to realize the same dreams that inspired past waves.  Study after study shows current Hispanic immigrants are picking up English at an impressive clip, roughly as quickly as earlier immigrant groups.  They are making steady gains in homeownership, job status and social identity.  By the second generation, according to a Pew Research Center study released earlier this year, 61 percent of immigrants think of themselves as `typical Americans.’

“Far from segregating themselves into their own alien subculture, today’s immigrant groups seem eager to marry into mainstream American society.  Among all newlyweds in 2010, 9 percent of whites married outside of their racial or ethnic group, as did 17 percent of blacks.  But an astonishing 26 percent of Hispanics and 28 percent of Asians married outside their groups.  They are blending into America in the most intimate way.

“Generation after generation, the children of immigrants are gradually better educated and more affluent than their parents.

“Current reform proposals would increase high-skill immigration.  Opponents of reform are trying to restrict an infusion of people most likely to start businesses and invent things.

“Finally, opponents of reform are trying to hold back the inevitable.  Whether immigration reform passes or not, the United States is going to become a much most cosmopolitan country than it is now.  The country will look more like the faces you see at college commencement exercises and less like the faces you see in senior citizen homes.”


Here is a sensible and sane immigration plan to deal with the 11 plus million human beings:

  1. All of them—must register with the federal government within six months. If they do not, it’s a felony.  They will be detained and deported.
  2. The borders of the United States must be upgraded so illegal entry becomes extremely difficult. That must be verified by Congress.  This is the key sticking point for Republicans.  The Democrats are not anxious to do it.  Undocumented aliens themselves must pay a fine and apply for citizenship.
  3. But they wouldn’t be given preferential status. It will take a while.  Along the way, they would have to learn English, pay taxes, and not receive any welfare.  They would, however, be given the right to work as many foreign nationals are doing right now.
  4. A controlled guest worker program should be put in place and evaluated as well as adjusted annually to reflect the needs of the American economy.
  5. Once this immigration reform is put into place, no other illegal aliens would ever, ever be put on a citizenship track. No more illegal intrusion.  If you’re caught, you’re detained and deported, period. That’s got to be in any new law.

Based on recent comments, it would appear that Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush would support such a program.  I’m not sure how many of the other Republican perspective presidential nominees or how many Democrats would be willing to accept reason and compromise with the key issue of securing the border.


Filed under Blog


  1. Thanks for such a balanced analysis of immigration reform Art. These issues are, of course, highly layered and complex. There is far more too them than a blog post can fully address. Yet, just to add some texture to the conversation I’m offering a few additional thoughts.

    * For the most part, those coming in illegally from our Southern border tend to be extremely hard working people who do the work that very few of us raised in the US are interested in doing, regardless of race. Our produce, for example, would cost us a great deal more if there were no illegal immigration.
    * Most of the South West once belonged to Mexico. To be Mexican truly means to be indigenous (Indio) as there is no real distinct ‘Mexican Race’ and the entire country was taken forcibly and through manipulation and coercion from the original peoples of these lands. So in some sense this land belongs to them.
    * My third point is that I really like Mexican food, so the more the merrier. 🙂

  2. Art Schwartz

    You’re right Glenn, they are hard working people and we need them which is why we need an effective guest worker program. I like mexican food too. At my age it doesn’t always like me

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