Immigration reform – DOA

Do you remember all the hoopla over the immigration bill getting to the Senate? This happened less than a month ago. The mainstream media went crazy. There was a lot of discussion about how many Republicans voted for the final bill. Would the final bill have only one or two Republicans to support it or would they have more like 10-15 Republicans? The number of Republicans who supported the bill somehow would have a huge influence on the House. As I recall, I really didn’t make much mention of this bill for a reason. I thought it was going to die in the House. As it turns out, I was right. Immigration reform is dead.

The House Republicans simply have little or no interest in immigration reform. Their position on immigration has been crystal clear. Send all illegal immigrants home. That’s it. There’s no further discussion. Sure, they probably want to build an electrified fence along our southern border. They’ll even go for electronic surveillance systems along our southern border. They may even go for increasing the number of border security personnel along our southern border, but as far as figuring out a path to citizenship is concerned, that is simply a nonstarter. You can poke. You can prod. You can jump up and down. You can present charts and graphs about the benefits of making millions of these economic refugees into real, honest-to-goodness American citizens, but they don’t care.

From my standpoint, the benefits of immigration reform are clear. First of all, I don’t believe that in the United States we should have two or three different classes of citizens. If you are here, you need to be here legally. Making immigrants pay a reasonable fine for breaking the law and then giving them a reasonable path to citizenship simply makes sense. It is fair. I also believe that we should work to close the border. When I say the border, I’m not just talking about our southern border. I’m talking about all of our borders. We have hundreds of thousands of miles that are simply unguarded. If you want to walk across the border with Canada, it is very easy in multiple places. If you want to come to the United States via boat, that is also easy in a number of places. Close the borders.

Let’s be clear. None of this is going to happen. There are powerful forces on both sides of this issue which create the stalemate. From a political standpoint, Republicans have to make a decision. They can either have pain now or they can have pain later. There is going to be some pain. If they pass some sort of immigration reform now, a large number of those immigrants will become Democrats. This will cause short-term pain at the polls. If they continue to resist immigration reform, as I suspect they will, they will have a lot of pain later as immigration reform will get passed at some point as this population of “new Americans” go to the polls and will invariably vote Democratic. Currently, this crop of Republicans have decided that they’re going to postpone the pain for as long as they can. I wish them luck with that strategy.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.

Books

A Letter to America

The Thirteeneth Juror

Where is The Outrage Topics
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