The GOP Must Embrace Immigration Reform

Posted on Thu 05/22/2014 by


caruba_alan20080111By Alan Caruba ~

Aa - ImmigrationI was fortunate to know both sets of grandparents as a child. My Father’s parents came from northern Italy and met here. His first language was Italian because they knew he could learn English by virtue of growing up here. My Mother’s parents immigrated from Russia and Austria, also meeting here, marrying, and having five children.

When the topic is immigration I would like to see better border control, but I understand that a solution is needed to address the fact we have eleven million or so “undocumented” aliens living here. An amnesty is a bad idea because it would encourage others to come here in hope of being part of the next one and it betrays those who have obeyed our immigration laws to wait for naturalization.

The fact that many want to come here reaffirms that America remains the land of opportunity even as it struggles to get out of a stagnant economy.

Some, but not all Conservatives have a problem with immigration issues, but I fear that the Republican Party will have an even bigger problem if it does not embrace humane, sensible solutions.

Contrary to the lies that Democrats keep telling, as columnist Larry Kudlow recently noted in a National Review Online commentary on immigration reform that it has a broad support among conservatives who include Tea Party activist Sal Russo, tax reform activist Grover Norquist, American Conservative Union chairman Al Cardenas and Robert Gittelson, president of Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Add to that roster, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Senator Rand Paul, and former Florida governor Jeb Bush. My guess is that John Boehner, Speaker of the House, has not pushed to work with the White House because he, like millions of Americans, knows that Obama’s word is worthless.

“If the GOP is to recapture the Senate come November, and move on to retake the presidency in 2016,” says Kudlow, “it must have a strong pro-growth message. Immigration has always been pro-growth, bringing in new blood to provide the entrepreneurship and innovation that made America the greatest economy the world has ever known.

Let’s understand that being an illegal alien is a misdemeanor, a minor crime, not a felony. Then let’s realize that being here does not mean they qualify for welfare or other programs that require citizenship. In short, they are here to work and they do. Are there bad apples among them? Yes, but that is every group in the world.

What captures headlines are crimes committed by illegal aliens. The Center for Immigration Studies made news when Jessica Vaughen, its director of policy studies, called attention to a Homeland Security Department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) report that, in 2013, ICE freed 36,700 convicted criminal aliens from detention who were awaiting the outcome of deportation proceedings.

The Obama administration claimed that the releases were mandated by a Supreme Court ruling from 2001 that the federal government can only detain aliens for deportation for up to six months, but the Court made it clear that criminal aliens can be retained. The reason, however, their deportation is delayed is because many of their home countries refuse to take them back. Instead of exercising common sense regarding murderers, rapists, kidnappers and other violent criminals, the White House simply let them go free!

Allan Wall, an expert on immigration, points out that while Obama has been President “fewer than 1% of illegals who make it into the interior of the country are deported”, adding, “Of course, when you don’t want anybody deported, then one deportation is too many.”

This gives Obama and the Democratic Party the opportunity to represent themselves as sympathetic in particular to the Hispanic community and voice claims that the GOP is not. Theirs, however, is a political policy that ignores the national security and criminal enforcement needs of the nation.

Indeed, as Jon Feere, a legal policy analyst for CIS points out, the State Department could threaten to stop issuing visas to countries that refuse to accept criminal aliens, but neither former Secretary Hillary Clinton or John Kerry have not obeyed the law that requires the executive branch to do this.

Republicans who demand that all illegal aliens be deported are simply being unrealistic. Many are first generation children of those who have been here productively for many years. As Kudlow has noted, many leading Republicans and conservative leaders favor the reform of our immigration laws precisely because such reform is a strong pro-growth message. It fits in perfectly with the GOP’s key issues of jobs and the economy.

“Immigration reform is a crucial symbol in the GOP reach-out effort,” said Kudlow. “It will create new trust in a party that can govern for all.”

A survey by the Partnership for a New American Economy shows that “around 70 percent of Republicans who identify with the Tea Party movement support immigration reform. “They back the idea of undocumented immigrants obtaining either legalization or a path to citizenship. And 76 percent of surveyed Republicans support improved border security and letting immigrants remain in the U.S., while 69 percent say they would support a candidate who backs broad reform.”

There are eleven million good reasons for supporting immigration reform and it should be a component of the Republican message to voters as we approach the November midterm elections and those in 2016.

© Alan Caruba, 2014.

Alan Caruba blogs daily at Warning Signs .  An author, business and science writer, he is the founder of National Anxiety Center .