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Immigration: A reasonable compromise

November 29, 2012

Outgoing U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) are lame ducks, but they have offered a fresh and promising new approach to comprehensive immigration reform that goes beyond the agreed-up priority of tightening border security.

Under their proposed “Achieve Act”, children who were raised in this country — after being brought here illegally — would be able to earn permanent legal status.  Special visas would allow them to attend college or join the U.S. military; after college graduation or four years of military service they would have earned the right to live and work permanently in the U.S.

Unlike the “Dream Act”, they wouldn’t be on a fast track to full citizenship (jumping ahead of others applicants who weren’t brought here illegally), but they could still apply for citizenship through normal immigration channels.

The fast track to citizenship was the primary reason the “Dream Act” didn’t win approval.  The “Achieve Act” presents a reasonable compromise.  Sometimes the compromise that doesn’t satisfy either side is the most practical solution.

These young people didn’t do anything wrong, even if their parents did.  (And, let’s be honest:   many of their parents came here because we invited them — with a wink and a nod and selective non-enforcement of our immigration laws — because of our need for cheap labor.)

Many of them are just as American as any other children raised in this country.  If they have stayed out of trouble, earned a college degree or served honorable in our military, a humane nation should welcome them and their contributions to the nation.

Those who ask “What is it about ‘illegal’ that you don’t understand”? make a good point.  But they are no more correct than those who argue that it would be morally and economically disastrous to break up families and deport millions of people who were enticed here and have become valued and contributing members of our society.

The “Achieve Act” wouldn’t give liberals or conservatives everything they want.  But it’s a fair and humane compromise, and it’s the right thing to do.

(Also see and the
Immigration chapter.)


From → Immigration

  1. Here’s an interesting take on immigration reform from Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb:


  2. Mike Ruddell permalink

    I see this as a good potential compromise as it is not an entitlement. Sometimes maybe being a “lame duck” is not necessarily a bad thing.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Chapter 24: Real immigration solutions, not more self-serving politics « Fixing America's Broken Politics

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