It is nearly impossible to talk about immigration reform without talking about racism, bigotry and Republicans. It seems the GOP believes they gain voters by alienating large voter blocks: Latinos, Asians, Blacks, women, and those who can think critically. In many cases within an urban setting a candidate only needs to say “vote for me I am not Republican” to get all the votes from those groups.
The only reason there is no immigration reform is because of Republican opposition to immigration reform. And Republicans do not support our stupid immigration system. Republicans know what the rest of us know, that our immigration system does not control immigration. It is more to the point that Republicans are afraid of the debate.
There is no argument Republicans consistently offer to counter immigration reform proposals except their one word argument: illegal.
There is no law that says being undocumented is illegal. And besides framing the issue inaccurately as Republicans are well known for, there is also the fact that just because something is illegal does not mean it is bad. Look at slavery, Prohibition, civil rights, marijuana and any number of stupid laws all around us. There is no shortage of web sites to list such laws, one claiming there is a Connecticut law against walking across the street on your hands. A town near us outlawed confetti. In that town only outlaws have confetti.
There is no compelling reason to oppose immigration reform. So Republicans only criticize the immigration system offering nothing to replace the system except platitudes and oversimplifications like “it is illegal” or “no amnesty” or “enforce the law”.
ILLEGAL: Technically overstaying a visa is not illegal although it will change your immigration status to deportable. Nationwide about half of those people Republicans call “illegals” have done nothing illegal to earn themselves a deportable immigration status. In Connecticut the percentage of visa overstays is presumably much higher since we are so far from the Mexican border. Estimating such a thing is as difficult as estimating unreported crime.
But even those who did cross the border “unexamined” or wetback or in Spanish “mojado” there is no chance they will be charged with the misdemeanor Title 8 Section 1325 which proscribes the $50 fine. Presumably the portion of the undocumented US population Republicans call illegals is the percentage that entered without a visa.
If someone were to be charged with the misdemeanor of entering unexamined in Connecticut it would be like the police coming to your house while you are eating dinner to arrest you for speeding. If someone is not caught crossing the border illegally they generally will not be charged with the misdemeanor of crossing the border illegally. And we are all innocent until proven guilty, hence no one who is not convicted of a crime is illegal.
Republicans have tried in the past to criminalize visa violation but have failed. Look up the SAFE Act for details. Some of those called illegals by Republicans probably committed a misdemeanor for which they will never be charged. The rest committed no such crime at all.
In international law immigration is viewed like a tree overhanging a neighbor’s yard. You are free to cut the branches and remove the leaves and debris from the tree, or even build a high wall to keep the tree from crossing your property line, but there is nothing illegal about it. Every country is free to make laws, even stupid laws, to try to control such a natural phenomenon.
Illegal immigration is the process of moving your residence contrary to the immigration policy of your new home. Although the process itself is a crime proving such a thing is like proving conspiracy. Otherwise it is not a crime, it is more like breaking a contract. Our immigration laws and policies classify people and award or withhold visas. If you violate your visa then you have consequences on future visa applications. Those consequences for the 11.7 million undocumented people who are in the USA today are that generally they will never be able to become legal residents of the USA without immigration reform.
AMNESTY: If any of the 11.7 million is allowed to change their immigration status to lawful resident that is amnesty and present law does not allow for amnesty.
By definition a change in immigration status to allow a visa to someone who is deportable is amnesty. To refuse all amnesty, like Republicans are saying to do, would mean deporting a population of US residents larger than more than half the countries on earth, like NYC, LA and Chicago combined at the cost of about $12,000 per person.
ENFORCE THE LAW: meaning deport all those people, is like insisting that the government not make deals with detainees that will allow them to stay. It is like insisting that all criminals must go to a jury trial instead of any sort of deal with prosecutors. It is ignoring a big part of our justice system and executive discretion. Making deals and prioritizing cases is part of the system of laws.
Many Republicans suggest that the President should enforce the laws differently. Our system of checks and balances and the separation of powers puts the President in charge of enforcing the laws, and to want him to do differently from what he is doing is, well, like asking for a different President. You will have your chance in four years. In the mean time he is enforcing the law just as every President enforces the law. That is the President’s job.
It is not an us versus them world. There is only us, there is no them. We live here and the 14th Amendment to our constitution say that no US state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Makes me proud. Anyone, not just citizens.
But for Republicans the 14th Amendment is the part of the Constitution that made Anchor Babies. But another expression for Anchor Baby is “American Citizen”.
Seems to me the definition of bigotry is attributing negative attributes to large groups of people based on stereotypes.”