The 2020 Presidential campaign season is now upon us and with it will come the usual shrill dialogue over immigration reform. Once again, immigrants will be the target of endless attacks. When all is said and done, nothing will be accomplished and the immigration quagmire will continue.
For more than two decades immigration policy has been a riddle in search of an answer for Washington lawmakers. But, is the problem really so incomprehensible that a solution cannot be found?
The obstacles are not insurmountable from a policy standpoint. The key question is whether the two major political parties can set aside the political value of this volatile issue long enough to reach a solution. Immigration is a wonderful tool for riling up the base of both parties and politicians use it every chance they get.
The American public is treated to the same spectacle during every election cycle. The Republicans accuse the Democrats of advocating open borders, giving away the store to immigrants and favoring them over United States citizens. The Democrats accuse the Republicans of being heartless monsters threatening to tear down the Statue of Liberty.
The history of immigration to the United States is of keen interest to me as a Latin American history professor at Kean University where most of my students are immigrants or the children of immigrants. My teaching coupled with my recent selection as a “Public Scholar” by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, with the mission of lecturing across the state on the subject, have reawakened my interest in offering a solution to the immigration stalemate. My proposal draws heavily from Congressional compromise agreements reached in the U.S. Senate in 2006 and 2013 but never voted on by the House of Representatives.
To arrive at an immigration reform plan, it will be necessary to come to some realistic conclusions.
First, there is no way to deport the 10 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants in the nation. Even if one were inclined to do so, it would cost billions of dollars and tie down law enforcement on futile goose chases looking for people, most of whom are hard-working and contribute to our society.
By Frank Argote-Freyre for NJ.COM
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