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Linda Chavez
Linda Chavez
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Rubio's Lifeline


Marco Rubio has thrown the GOP a lifeline; let's see whether his fellow party members are willing to grab it. The freshman U.S. senator from Florida has been a hard-line foe to illegal immigrants, both in his home state and since his election to Congress, but now he is considering drafting a new "DREAM Act," which would offer legal status to illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

Similar efforts have failed in recent years, almost entirely because of Republican opposition. But according to the polls, most Americans favor such a measure. And passing it would be not only smart politics but also, more importantly, the right thing to do.

First, let's make clear that Rubio's plan (as reported in the press — he hasn't actually written language) would involve only those illegal immigrants who were minors when they came here and have led exemplary lives ever since. In order to qualify, these illegal immigrants would have to agree to serve in the U.S. military or attend at least two years of college.

Apparently, Rubio hasn't decided yet whether his limited amnesty — yes, the A-word, in its best sense, applies — would put recipients on a path that eventually could lead to citizenship or just permanent legal residency. The latter would be a mistake, in my view, not least because we want those who make their homes in the United States to become full participants in our democratic society, with the duties and responsibilities that entails, as well as the privileges. And who could argue that someone who risks his or her life defending the U.S. in the military should not be entitled to full citizenship?

So far, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, has said only that he is studying the issue. No doubt he's worried that endorsing the plan might hurt him with the party base. But he'd be a fool to reject the opportunity Rubio is providing. Opposition to illegal immigration — as every recent poll demonstrates — is simply not a core voting issue for voters, even conservatives (among whom I count myself).

The irony in Romney's reticence is that the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act was originally a bipartisan effort to reach some reasonable accommodation on the least contentious issue in the immigration debate.

Sen. Orrin Hatch was the original sponsor of the 2001 version of the legislation. But like many others, Hatch dropped his support when he became cowed by the extremist population-control advocates that founded and still dominate the anti-immigration movement.

Few Republicans have the courage to take on the well-funded radicals who want not only to eliminate illegal immigration but also to severely restrict legal immigration. And while they're at it, these extremists want to discourage Americans from having babies and encourage old and sick people to die — at their own hands if they become burdens. John Tanton, Garrett Hardin and Richard Lamm — founding fathers of the modern immigration restriction movement — have written and spoken admiringly of assisted suicide, various forms of euthanasia, sterilization and China's one-child policy. Hardin and his wife, both members of the Hemlock Society, committed suicide when they became infirm, which Tanton paid tribute to in an essay.

Why pro-life Republicans are in bed with the likes of these guys remains a mystery to me. But maybe there's hope yet that they will come around to embracing a way out of the anti-immigrant swamp they've wandered into. Sen. Rubio offers a path out. They should take it.

The alternative is to consign those who were brought to the United States illegally through no fault of their own to live in the shadows, unable to work, study or contribute their many talents to the only country many of them have ever known. Of course, the opponents of the DREAM Act will say these young people should simply leave. They aren't likely to — and if they did, it would be the United States' loss, not just theirs.

We're talking about kids who want to serve in the military and put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us. We're talking about bright youngsters who would earn college degrees and become respected members of their communities. And we're talking about future taxpayers who would help pay for the Medicare and Social Security benefits many of those who oppose their staying here now receive.

Republicans should seize this opportunity not only to pass the DREAM Act but also to restate the values and principles that have made this country the greatest in the history of the world.

Linda Chavez is the author of "An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex-Liberal." To find out more about Linda Chavez, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



4 Comments | Post Comment
Ma'am... If you don't know the difference between a life line and an anchor line I am never going to take you sailing, -not even in a bathtub... Thanks... Sweeney
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:03 AM
Ms Chavez, Please your opinion on this article I wrote. Thanks. Bob Wymer,
Robert A Wymer, cdr/mc/usn(ret)

1. Admit that we, in effect, invited them (illegals) here by maintaining the perception that immigration law would not be enforced, and that:

2. The agriculture industry would be unhampered in hiring them, paying them slave wages, without benefits or entitlements, plus unburdening employers of the obligation to pay their share of SS and FICA taxes.

3. Mr. Romney should admit to illegals that they have been duped, by what has been in effect, a system of US Government sponsored slave labor, and that:

4. With this history of our own government complicity, forced deportation is not compatible with values that Americans should espouse.

5. The Solution: All should be required to have personal ID, provided free of charge. All here illegally should be given choices within a specific time frameóone or more years to: a. Utilize a rapid, non-penalty, path to citizenship, or b. Return to their own country.

6. States having the authority to secure their own boarders within prescribed federal immigration law is a State's Rights issue. This needs to be adjudicated in the Supreme Court--NOW.
Bob Wymer

PS: Requiring personal ID for all, including all visitors, immigrants, documented or undocumented, would solve many problems----voter fraud, security, profiling, the underground economy. No one can claim discrimination if all are required to have approved ID.
Another issue: Illegals use of medical and educational services meant for US citizens. I believe under current conditions they need and should be provided these services. This is the humane, realistic thing to do, especially since it is we who tacitly invited them and allowed for their employment for these many years. The issue is resolved, however, if they are given an easy, swift path to citizenship. Then they are tax-paying citizens, and the economic distortions of the underground economy are eliminated.

Tell me! Does this just make too much sense to be acceptable?

PPS: Pundits and columnists keep saying Obama is providing no leadership. WRONG! He is leading us effectively, brilliantly, full-throttle, toward economic disaster.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Robert Wymer
Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:51 AM
Re: Robert Wymer;... You do not sound like a republican... Especially when you admit the government complicity in illegal immigration... But if you were empowered to export all our illegals, your life would not be worth the money spent on the bullet republicans would buy for you...

Try to understand that the employing class is responsible for the immigrants in more than one respect... If they had ever exported liberty and justice instead of exploitation of peoples and their resources, we would not have this problem... Who would leave a land where they could find justice to work in a land without justice??? They were brought here to drive down wages and they have served their purpose well...

The government which should be our union, and for our general welfare should protect us from competition with slaves has instead encouraged it... This is the power of money in government, and it was there from the beginning, with the people given only the house, and the rich given the rest... Consider what a small difference over time can deviate into... The power of the house was curtailed, and the power of the court and presidency increased, and the people lost... And this change is not constitutional, did not come by a change in the constitution, but through the actions of the parties with the consent of the court...

Do you think the people would have ever allowed this invasion if they had the power to stop it??? We lost that power with the house... We lost our democracy with the house... And there is little that Mr. Obama can do against the will of the Senate or the Supreme Court... The whole place is a nest of snipers... Self interest carries every day...Thanks.... Sweeney
Comment: #3
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:45 AM
I have been at a US embassy and witnessed how obsurdly beurocratically difficult and from a poor countries persprctive expensive. I am not certain illegal, but I also noticed that is brown Spanish speaking people picking the oranges and strawberries. It does not look like an easy job. How much would I, Scott the American citizen, ask for that rough job in the hot sun? About $20 an hour would probably keep me working that for about a year if my back can handle it. How much of our money would stay at the grocery store if the people picking the produce each made $20 an hour? A lot more than I want to pay. Thus we really should appreciate the migrate worker from Mexico that do it cheaper and better than I Scott the American. Can we let every single person just walk into our house when ever they want? Noooo! First I like all the space we as Americans enjoy. I like lots of room for camping, hunting hiking, and houses with big yards. Second, if the migrants are already wroking for "slave" wages than how much lower would they get paid if there was 10 times more. They would be so miserable that it may cause this "revolution" Mr Sweeny is looking foward to. And with 10 times more of the pissed off disenfranchised, me the white middle class guy will surely have his head in the guillotine. Third, all kinds of mal intent undesirables will be coming here other than to be productive members of society such as trafficers, terrorists, revolutionaries. So what is the solution? First, we need some kind of effecient guest worker program that lets people migrat in and out of this country at a sustainable rate. Second, we need to enfore immigration law so that previously guest worker program is utilized and not bypassed. This can be done by making illegal immigration a felony. We could stop guarding South Korea's border and use those funds to secure our own. If CHina built a wall and kept the Mongels out why cant we do the same with a bunch of farmers?
Comment: #4
Posted by: SCOTT
Mon May 21, 2012 7:20 PM
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