"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Non-Citizens, United”: Republicans Want To Create A New Social Stratum Of Sub-Citizens

Lots of leading Republicans are saying they want to pass “immigration reform” this year. But those scare-quotes are there for good reason — the reform many of them are talking about is an assortment of bad ideas, most of them involving multiple layers of enforcement — the fence-‘em-out, lock-‘em-up strategy that has been failing America for, oh, the last quarter-century.

It’s an old, familiar line. But there is one new idea in the Republican mix. It’s legalization without citizenship – giving some of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants a chance to live and work here, but not to become Americans.  Not now, probably not ever.

America sees itself as a land of opportunity and equality, but Republicans want to carve out an exception. If you have ever been “illegal,” no citizenship for you.

The Republican National Committee passed a resolution opposing “any form of amnesty that would propose a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens.”

United States Representative Bob Goodlatte, the Virginia Republican who heads the House Judiciary Committee, told a town hall meeting in Verona, Va., that he opposes the immigration bill that passed the Senate because it contains what he calls a “special path” to citizenship.

“The folks who want to have a path to citizenship have held everything else hostage,” Mr. Goodlatte said. “Now we want to say, ‘Look, we understand what you want, but we think a legal status in the United States but not a special path to citizenship might be appropriate.’”

That Senate bill he was criticizing has a lot of enforcement measures that Republicans insisted on. It also contains a long, difficult, expensive but at least potentially achievable path to move from unauthorized immigrant to American.

Polls show that most Americans agree with the Senate’s approach. They support giving immigrants a chance to naturalize, as long as they get right with the law and go to the back of the citizenship line. But hard-core Republicans don’t want that, and those were the people Mr. Goodlatte was trying not to rile up.

Immigration-reform advocates are turning up the heat this month with rallies and town-hall meetings, warning the world that the Republican option — creating a new social stratum of sub-citizens — is not acceptable. These are the citizens and aspiring citizens whom Mr. Goodlatte is likening to hostage-takers.

Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigrant organization America’s Voice, is right: “America is at its best when we extend the welcome mat to people regardless of race, religion and national origin, and we have been at our worst when we don’t.”

Or, as the guitarist Ry Cooder put it in a song on his politically enraged 2011 album, “Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down”

Republicans changed the lock on Heaven’s door.
Keys to the kingdom don’t fit no more.


By: Lawrence Downes, Editors Blog, The New York Times, August 20, 2013

August 21, 2013 Posted by | Immigration Reform, Republicans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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