Immigration reform w/o path to citizenship is a bad idea.

Post date: Jan 08, 2014 6:32:2 PM

Over the past two weeks, a number of politicians, think tank opinion writers and media outlets have started floating the idea of passing immigration reform -- as long as it doesn't grant a pathway to citizenship. This bad idea is based on two flawed premises about the process and the effect of immigration reform. First, (mostly GOP) members of the House of Representatives oppose adopting the already passed Senate immigration bill S. 744 because they think it will create large numbers of new Democratic voters. Here is a quote taken from an ABC news story from yesterday:

"Is the sticking point going to be we have to have immediate voting privileges for those who came here illegally?," Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Republican who voted against the Senate immigration bill, said Sunday on ABC. "If the Democrats are willing to come halfway, I think we can pass something, some meaningful reform that would help the 11 million who are here."

The Senate bill would grant Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status, that status could be upgraded to Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status after ten years. Then, after three years as an LPR the person could apply for Naturalization (Citizenship) that process can take anywhere from a few months to over a year. So if by immediate voting privileges you mean after thirteen years ...well, then I suppose we have an "honest" disagreement. It is one thing to be afraid of the "immigrant voter" --- but after 13 years, if you haven't brought them on board with your political party -- you probably don't deserve to.

The other problem is that we, as US citizens, supposedly want new members of our society to assimilate to our cultural way of life. If 11 million people are allowed to remain here, not as second class citizens, but rather as second class non-citizens with no means of ever becoming citizens with full rights -- what incentives would they have to assimilate? How much are they likely to care about a country that doesn't consider them worthy of being included as full members?