GOP Statement of Principles on Immigration: Text and Analysis

Here is the new GOP Statement of Principles on Immigration.  Unlike every commentator, I would like you to read it first before giving my opinion.

PREAMBLE

Our nation’s immigration system is broken and our laws are not being enforced. Washington’s failure to fix them is hurting our economy and jeopardizing our national security. The overriding purpose of our immigration system is to promote and further America’s national interests and that is not the case today. The serious problems in our immigration system must be solved, and we are committed to working in a bipartisan manner to solve them. But they cannot be solved with a single, massive piece of legislation that few have read and even fewer understand, and therefore, we will not go to a conference with the Senate’s immigration bill. The problems in our immigration system must be solved through a step-by-step, common-sense approach that starts with securing our country’s borders, enforcing our laws, and implementing robust enforcement measures. These are the principals guiding us in that effort.

Border Security and Interior Enforcement Must Come First

It is the fundamental duty of any government to secure its borders, and the United States is failing in this mission. We must secure our borders now and verify that they are secure. In addition, we must ensure now that when immigration reform is enacted, there will be a zero tolerance policy for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their visas in the future. Faced with a consistent pattern of administrations of both parties only selectively enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, we must enact reform that ensures that a President cannot unilaterally stop immigration enforcement.

Implement Entry-Exit Visa Tracking System

A fully functioning Entry-Exit system has been mandated by eight separate statutes over the last 17 years. At least three of these laws call for this system to be biometric, using technology to verify identity and prevent fraud. We must implement this system so we can identify and track down visitors who abuse our laws.

Employment Verification and Workplace Enforcement

In the 21st century it is unacceptable that the majority of employees have their work eligibility verified through a paper based system wrought with fraud. It is past time for this country to fully implement a workable electronic employment verification system.

Reforms to the Legal Immigration System

For far too long, the United States has emphasized extended family members and pure luck over employment-based immigration. This is inconsistent with nearly every other developed country. Every year thousands of foreign nationals pursue degrees at America’s colleges and universities, particularly in high skilled fields. Many of them want to use their expertise in U.S. industries that will spur economic growth and create jobs for Americans. When visas aren’t available, we end up exporting this labor and ingenuity to other countries. Visa and green card allocations need to reflect the needs of employers and the desire for these exceptional individuals to help grow our economy.

The goal of any temporary worker program should be to address the economic needs of the country and to strengthen our national security by allowing for realistic, enforceable, usable, legal paths for entry into the United States. Of particular concern are the needs of the agricultural industry, among others. It is imperative that these temporary workers are able to meet the economic needs of the country and do not displace or disadvantage American workers.

Youth

One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children through no fault of their own, those who know no other place as home. For those who meet certain eligibility standards, and serve honorably in our military or attain a college degree, we will do just that.

Individuals Living Outside the Rule of Law

Our national and economic security depend on requiring people who are living and working here illegally to come forward and get right with the law. There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws – that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law. Rather, these persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits). Criminal aliens, gang members, and sex offenders and those who do not meet the above requirements will not be eligible for this program. Finally, none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced.

Personally, I like it.

It puts border security first and that more than anything is what matters.

Now some of the more idiotic pundits have complained about the lack of details, but these are the same people who would complain that a detailed statement would be impossible to achieve and then would then critique the Republicans as cowards and RINOS for not getting everything that they promised.  The sad fact is that most “conservative” (or so they claim) pundits would rather attack the GOP than Democrats any day.  So, yeah, it’s a bit vague, but it’s only a statement of principles, it’s supposed to be vague.  Some of the details will be worked out at the GOP get together this week, and some will be worked out in getting a deal struck that can get through the House and Senate (or at least one the Senate would pass if Reid wasn’t an obstructionist who didn’t prevent Obama from having to veto it).  Like adults (as opposed to liberals and pundits) the GOP is actually trying to do what is right and create a bill that can get through Congress.

Some of these same dumb pundits are claiming that last part is amnesty.  Which makes me question if pundits have basic reading skills.

 What they wants in not amnesty…but they also not dumb enough to think that we can just ignore the realities on the ground. Even if we get the needed upgrades to border security and enforcement we still have millions of people here and the cost of rounding them all up and deporting them is too high to make that viable. So we have to find a pragmatic (not perfect, but pragmatic) solution to deal with the problem without bankrupting ourselves just to uphold a principle (something about cutting off your nose to spite your face comes to mind). And that is what this plan is. So please don’t call it amnesty. It’s not.  I want you to read this again

Rather, these persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits). Criminal aliens, gang members, and sex offenders and those who do not meet the above requirements will not be eligible for this program. Finally, none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced.

That is not amnesty.  That is dealing with a problem in the most pragmatic and just way possible that isn’t some pie in the sky dream of what we could do. And notice it still doesn’t grant citizenship, they’ll still have to get to the back of the line if they want that.

Now if someone has a legitimate critique I’d like to hear it, because all I have seen so far is a bunch of whining by pundits who somehow feel controlling one half of one branch of government puts us in a position to dictate terms.

This is not the vile Senate bill by a long shot and it has everything I want or provides a pragmatic alternative to the things I would wish for.  It’s nice to talk about what we would like if we could have everything we want, and we should keep those things in mind, but we also need to be adults and deal in reality.

Meanwhile this shows to me that the GOP is both forward thinking and living in reality.

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1 Comment

Filed under GOP, Illegal Immigration

One response to “GOP Statement of Principles on Immigration: Text and Analysis

  1. Pingback: Is Immigration Reform the Hill Republicans Really Want to Die On? | Damn Straight Politics

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