McCain’s immigration reform offers hope and reason

10Apr07

John McCain takes a thoughtful approach to immigration reformLast night, NPR’s This American Life featured a heart-rendering vignette about a bright, industrious UCLA pre-med student. The story might end happily were it not for the fact that the student is an illegal immigrant, snuck into LA by her mother at age 9. Despite her illegal status, the young woman attended public schools and now attends college. But unlike other legal aspiring youth, she will be denied the fruits of her labor.

As an illegal, she can not hold a job on a payroll, such as a teaching assistance or lab technician. Nor can she receive student aid of any kind. Even with a college degree, the only jobs she’ll qualify for are those that pay cash. Her future in the very country that provided the vast opportunity of her youth looks bleak into adulthood.

The UCLA student is not the only person caught in the crossfire of our nation’s disjointed immigration policy and poorly managed border. Nor does her situation represent the worst. Illegal immigration is accompanied by a series of serious issues affecting the economy, health care, education, national security, cultural identity, and human decency. Yet assessing blame is not particularly useful. While languishing on the margins for decades, the illegal immigration problem crept up quickly over the past two decades, reaching critical mass only in recent years.

Being from a border state, Sen. John McCain is acutely aware of the perils of illegal immigration. Even so, he avoids the sweeping simplicities of “all or nothing” immigration policies that have utterly failed in the past. Instead, he proposes well-reasoned legislation that tackles the complexity of illegal immigration head-on. Specifically, John McCain proposes that we:

– Vastly improve our border surveillance and enforcement capabilities;

– Increase the manpower, infrastructure and capabilities necessary to block, apprehend, detain and return those who try to enter the country illegally;

– Strengthen the laws and penalties against those who hire illegal aliens and violate immigration law;

– Achieve and maintain the integrity of official documents to stop fraud, verify immigration status and employment, and enforce immigration law;

– Encourage immigrants to come out of the shadows so we know who is in this country and develop a sensible guest worker program that will serve the nation’s best economic and security interests.

– Allow legitimate status to be earned by paying fines and back taxes, undergoing criminal and security checks, passing English and civics tests, remaining employed for six years before going to the back of the line to achieve legal permanent residence status, and adhering to other strict requirements.

John McCain’s immigration reform policies pave the way towards a safer, economically sustainable, and more stable nation. And only under such conditions, can bright young immigrant college students, like the one at UCLA, earn a legal status and an equal shot at a prosperous future in an equally prosperous nation.

Click here to read more about John McCain’s immigration policy in detail.

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One Response to “McCain’s immigration reform offers hope and reason”

  1. Listening to the President’s speech today, and reading this anecdote, I feel that President Bush should have stuck by his first position, and taken the heat.

    While a blanket amnesty isn’t a good idea, something must be done after the border is secured to make these people part of our society.


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