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Monday, January 17, 2011

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Kirsten

Patricia,

Thank you so much for your comment. I actually don’t think we are as different as you might think in our opinions! I totally agree that a blanket amnesty is not the answer . . . and neither is a blanket “ship them all back” approach. The latest proposed legislation for immigration reform tries to take a very balanced approach . . . better securing of our borders and providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people that includes learning English, paying a fine, being in the country at least 5 years, no criminal history among other things. The big problem we have right now (as I am learning more about the system) is that there is no real path for people to either enter or stay in our country legally. The options for entering the country legally are very limited, and often require waiting times of years, or decades. And, once here, there really is no path for staying here legally that doesn’t take decades (so even if someone is eligible to apply—meaning they have a relative who is a citizen here or they are married to a citizen--a person could be here “illegally” for 10 – 20 years before the application is approved.) Unfortunately, many of the undocumented people that are here did not choose to come . . . they were brought by parents when they were very young. This is the only life they have known, but they have no options for being here legally. The system needs an overhaul, and unfortunately the answer is not a quick easy fix.

As for the civil rights issue . . . I guess I have used the term loosely, because I am looking at civil rights as bigger than an American Constitution issue. Maybe “human rights” issue is a better term. As a Christ-follower, I see human rights as at a minimum the right to food and shelter, safe living conditions and access to employment (I have a friend—who is here legally--who shared with me just last night that she would really like to go back to Mexico, but it is impossible to get a job if you are over 25 and not “attractive.” She went back many years ago when she was in her early 30’s and tried and had to come back here. And it has only gotten worse I hear.)

The new site http://Undocumented.tv is designed to provide information on all of these things and more to help us all better understand the current system and options for improving it. Take a look at it if you have some time. Thanks again for taking the time to write!

patricia

I agree with you that the system is broken however I don't think we'll agree on how the system should be fixed, nor do we agree that illegals are a civil rights issue.

In order to fix the system, we must not repeat the mistakes made by the immigration reform passed in the Reagan administration where millions of illegal immigrants were given legal status but nothing was done to prevent people from coming into the country illegally in the future. As a result, here we are 20-30 years later struggling with the same thing. Therefore first we must secure our borders.

Once we have secure borders, we need to find a way to give those here illegally, a path to be legal residents of the United States. It is not cost effective to round em up and send them home. However, they need to follow the same procedures as those who came here legally and they need to pay the same fees. To simply say "you're legal" with no consequence at all, does 2 things. First it encourages further illegal immigration and second, it tells the rest of us that laws simply do not matter.

I know from research that there are numerous illegals serving in the armed forces. In my opinion, those individuals should be granted legal status immediately. If you are willing to fight and die for the country, you should be given legal status.

While I do sympathize with those whose families are torn apart, I also know this. They willingly broke our laws. We teach our kids that actions have consequences. What does it show them when people flaunt our laws? As for this being a civil right, it is not. Rights are given by the Constitution of the United States to citizens and legal residents. By definition, illegals do not fall into this category.

I feel bad for the people who have waited years to come here legally, waited their turn, filled out all the paperwork, paid all the fees and then see millions just walk, ride or fly in and have absolutely no consequence for their law breaking.

And before I am asked how my forefathers got here, one of my Great-Grandfathers was full blooded Native American. My grandmother came here legally from what was then Czechoslovakia at the age of 2.

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