If you ask five Republicans what do to about immigration, you’ll get five different answers.
The differences between Republican positions and those of their leftist counterparts are more about the details than the big picture.
Most Republicans will tell you immigration reform is needed. Most would add that a key component of any immigration reform should be border security. Most would be quick to add that giving law-breakers a complete free pass is a no-go. One would hope that more still would recognize the human element — that family unity matters and that it is at stake in any such reform.
Boehner’s Immigration Plan
When House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced his plan for immigration reform recently, it wasn’t met with enthusiasm. His plan has the hallmarks many Republicans would agree with, but the Christian Science Monitor reported that nearly 1 in 3 Republicans at the retreat opposed Boehner’s idea.
Further, Fox News Latino reports that Tea Party favorites like U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are strongly against the plan.
Taking a closer look at Boehner’s plan (which you can view here), however, shows a measured approach to a mega problem.
The preamble of Boehner’s guidelines on Republican Immigration reform begins with a statement that few would disagree with.
“Our nation’s immigration system is broken and our laws are not being enforced. Washington’s failure to fix them is hurting our economy and jeopardizing our national security,” it reads.
The first part of the plan underscores the importance of border security. In a section aptly entitled, “Border Security and Interior Enforcement Must Come First” Boehner insists on a tight border and a post-reform zero-tolerance policy for those who cross illegally or stay past their visas.
The “post-reform” part of that policy is what I believe rankles the Tea Party, but we’ll come back to that in a moment.
Following that section the Speaker calls for a verifiable entry-exit visa tracking system and a national electronic employment verification system to ensure worksites are employing only those here legally.
Boehner’s guidelines call for reform to our legal immigration program by focusing on employment and strengthening America’s economy, rather than prioritizing extended family as it pertains to visas and green cards. He adds that this must be done in a way that doesn’t disadvantage current American workers, though no specifics are offered.
Pathway To Citizenship For Some
Saving the toughest two sells for last, Boehner’s plan turns next to the youth.
Among the millions of immigrants here illegally are children. Many of those children were brought here as infants, toddlers or other youths too young to have a say in their parents’ decision to break American law. Boehner writes that we should not punish the youth for crimes of their parents and that some who know no home but America, who have no fault in their arrival here and who serve in the military or attain a degree may be granted a path to citizenship.
While that might be a challenge for some on the right to accept, Boehner ups the ante even further in a section titled “Individuals Living Outside the Rule of Law.”
Amnesty is a big scary buzzword in the conservative debate on immigration. Some demand that anything short of mass deportations is amnesty, while others contend that amnesty for illegal immigrants would be defined by granting citizenship.
Boeher does neither, and his plan smartly avoids the “A” word.
“There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws — that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law. Rather, these persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits).”
Boehner’s plan adds that criminals, gang members, sex offenders and the like will not be eligible for this program.
So what’s good about this plan? Plenty.
It takes a massive problem, keeps to core conservative ideals but recognizes the reality of the situation. Importantly, Boehner’s plan won’t lead to mass separations of parents and their children, which any family-value loving member of the party should be able to respect.
Is the plan perfect? No. But political solutions rarely are. Boehner’s plan isn’t an extreme, and that makes it not so bad after all.
- Republican Views on Immigration
- Republican Views on Illegal Immigration
- Democratic View on Immigration
- Donald Trump On Immigration
- Republican Views on a Border Wall
- Republican Views on Gay Marriage
- Republican Views on School Vouchers
- Rand Paul On The Issues
- Ted Cruz On The Issues
- What Is A Republican? Republican Definition