Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says we need to “get beyond” the word amnesty. He’s right! It’s one little word that for some people means a lot ... maybe too much. So much so that it’s holding up immigration reform. Paul, who I’ve argued has the inside track on the GOP ticket, is honest and gutsy enough to say what most of us who follow the immigration reform debate already know.
It’s time to move beyond syntax and truly consider what we’re doing. It’s time to change our weak, confusing, misinterpreted and mitigated immigration policy with something that actually works to both secure our border and deal with those immigrants who are already here.
Murdoch Makes a Plea
News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch, himself an immigrant, suggested last week in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed that immigration reform must include a path to citizenship.
The lack of a cogent or even understandable immigration policy is contributing to an increase in immigrant children crossing the border.
“We need to give those individuals who are already here – after they have passed checks to ensure they are not dangerous criminals – a path to citizenship so they can pay their full taxes, be counted, and become more productive members of our community,” wrote Murdoch.
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Murdoch and Paul are both conservative and practical — enough to fully understand that the status quo is no longer acceptable. It is why neither the media tycoon, nor the quirky quasi libertarian is willing to accept “the amnesty excuse.”
Cowardly and Ignorant
Saying you won’t allow even the most decent, hardworking, patriotic, God-fearing, law-abiding immigrant who’s been in the U.S. for more than a decade an opportunity to fulfill his or her American dream for fear that the next day the border will be overrun is both cruel, cowardly and ignorant.
Those who use the “amnesty” excuse need look no further than Arizona to see how the opposite is taking place. In other words, ‘not’ passing immigration reform with or without a path to citizenship ‘is’ causing a run on the border. That’s right, the lack of a cogent or even understandable immigration policy is contributing to an increase in immigrant children crossing the border.
Rumors on Radio Bemba
As Fox News Latino has been reporting, the number of unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras has soared more than 1,000 percent. The U.S. Border Patrol reports that in 2009, agents apprehended 3,304 such children from those three countries. This year, that figure is now more than 48,000 and expected to continue to grow.
Why is it happening? Rumors, along with misinformation and desperation, seem to be the principal causes. The Spanish term for this is “radio bemba.” It means a false report uttered from one person’s lips to another and yet another, until scores of people believe it’s true. Fact is, it’s not true!
Creating Fallacies through Inaction
It’s not true that ICE won’t hold children in detention. And it’s not true that newly arrived immigrants can qualify for some type of “Dreamer” status by just arriving in the U.S. Yet, those myths are a big part of the reason for the humanitarian crisis that is now occurring on the border. They are fallacies manifested in a vacuum that we have crated through inaction.
Think about it, if lawmakers who have spent more than nine years trying can’t figure out what our immigration law is or should be, what message do you think they’re sending to the people of Central America? How can we expect them to follow, understand or interpret a law our leaders are too afraid to take on — no less legislate?
More Will Come
Rand Paul has as much skin in this immigration game as any active conservative politician. Given his popularity with the Tea Party movement, it would be easy for him to cut and run, ignore it, or use circumlocutory language when dealing with the issue of immigration reform so as to not tick off his base.
Instead, this weekend he made a comment that cuts right at the heart of the amnesty excuse: “If we do nothing, 11 million more people will come.”