Let’s hope Sen. John McCain was right when he said immigration reform could happen this year.
McCain, on CNN on Sunday, said immigration reform needs to be dealt with during this election cycle to make Republicans less vulnerable during the 2016 presidential campaign, when the issue is sure to come up, and could sway moderate voters.
He’s right that it needs to be confronted by Congress. The “political victory” reasoning is suspect at best, though not unexpected. But if the thought of President Hillary Clinton is what it takes to jumpstart the House into action, then so be it.
More importantly, approaching immigration in a practical, logical and compassionate way is the right thing to do if we truly believe in the principles this country was founded upon. Anyone who is willing to risk their life to get here, which is what immigrants who enter this country illegally from Mexico are doing, deserves a chance to integrate into American society and everything that entails, including paying taxes. Undocumented workers who live in the shadows of our society aren’t taking that opportunity. The U.S. government is responsible for securing our border, if that’s what we want it to do, but it also must take away the incentives for entering this country illegally by easing the process for legal status.
Sooner or later, undocumented immigrants already living in this country will receive some form of amnesty. Let’s call it what it is.
Republicans, specifically those in the House that have been dragging their feet on immigration reform, need to face this reality. They’re not going to create a whole new judicial/customs bureaucracy or expand the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to deport the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are already here. It’s just not practical or feasible. The U.S. could do nothing, and continue to allow 11 million people to live and work in this country without actually contributing to the social fabric as a whole, but that’s not right either.
Action on immigration reform needs to happen now, so we can focus on the greater problems of this country when we’re thinking about who to elect as President in 2016.