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D.C. Makes a Run for the Border

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The Great Recession threw vast numbers of people out of work, made the U.S. economy less attractive and reduced border crossings to a trickle. As a result, illegal immigration isn't the hot-button issue it was just a few years ago. That's one reason Washington might actually make progress toward real immigration reform. There's another reason, too. We'll get to that in a minute.

A reform movement took shape last week. First, on Monday, some of the Senate's top Republicans and Democrats pledged to push through legislation by summer. The Senate will consider 1) a path to citizenship for the 11 million or so immigrants already here illegally, 2) increased border security and 3) a crackdown on employers who hire undocumented workers.

The next day, President Obama outlined his own ideas. They were pretty much the same.

There are shades of difference. The Senate's path to citizenship, for instance, would require illegal immigrants to pay fines, pass background checks, qualify for "probationary legal status" and get in line to apply for permanent residency, itself only a step toward citizenship.

GOP senators said the president's plan would be too lenient.

Either way, reform is needed. Our nation's immigration laws are creaky and outmoded. Rounding up and deporting 11 million illegals simply isn't a realistic strategy.

And besides, most of those 11 million are self-sufficient, otherwise law-abiding people who came here to work, not to mooch. Deportation would send away producers and consumers, which our economy needs. It would send away taxpayers, people who give to charities and potential buyers of homes. Letting them stay here — legally — is in our nation's economic self-interest.

Alas, that's not the reason some Republicans cite for immigration reform. They're desperate to win over Hispanic voters.

"Elections. Elec-tions," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. "The Republican Party is losing the support of our Hispanic citizens. And ... (immigration reform) is a pre-eminent issue with those citizens."

Wrong reason. Right decision. It'll do.

REPRINTED FROM THE NORTHWEST FLORIDA DAILY NEWS

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM



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