Published January 15, 2013
It seems to me that everyone is talking: Democrats, Republicans, congressmen, senators, the president, immigration advocates, chambers of commerce; people of different races, religions and colors. Mostly the talk is positive, the line is the same — immigration reform is needed and it is needed now.
So, the ever-optimist in me says this time it will happen; it has to happen. Although we have gone down this path so many times before, and somehow it has never worked out, I am truly hoping for the sake of America that an agreement is reached that is embraced by the majority of the constituencies.
In the ugly process of law-making, there is no perfect law, no perfect outcome; but an agreement can be fashioned so that the majority gets a little of what they had hoped. While I want to remain positive, experience has shown me that reaching that kind of agreement will not be easy. Not everyone will get everything they want and some will get nothing they want. But just because we will never reach Utopia, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t love earth.
We have more than two decades of trying to get this right and we haven’t. Both Democrats and Republicans have utilized this issue to benefit themselves. We don’t have to go far to see that when the last real attempt at immigration reform during President George W. Bush was moving forward and came ever so close to become law, it was then Senator Barack Obama and Senator Harry Reid that stopped it.
Needless to say, for the last four years there has not even been a single piece of legislation on immigration reform offered by the president of Senator Reid and yet in the most ironic of ways, it has been the Republicans that got branded as being against immigration reform. Go figure. I am not blind to the awful rhetoric that was being used by the Republicans, but it was a trick they walked ever so willingly into, for there was not even a piece of true immigration reform.
The executive order the president advanced at the last minute before his reelection to secure the Hispanic vote only delayed the deportation of young people who came here through no fault of their own. That order is hardly the answer to all the prayers of the 12 million people who desperately need to have their stay regularized. But the president succeeded in making a band aid look like major surgery.
Immigration reform is on the minds of many people and many good-hearted Americans understand that the greatest country in the world must continue to live up to its remarkable legacy of equality of opportunity. In this great country there are no first-class and second-class citizens, only American citizens. It will serve us all very well to ensure that all that are willing are able to become Americans by choice, even if the process is long and hard as it surely will be.