Arizona, you are looking ugly. Defenders claim its Draconian measures are a result of the failure of US immigration policy, and I have to agree. Everyone seems to agree on the need for immigration reform, but like the weather, no one wants to do anything about it. The Democrats have a bill, but no one seems to think it will succeed in an election year and may be only window dressing, anyway. The bill puts securing the border first, followed by provisions for fraud-proof identity cards. Bringing up the rear are tough requirements that would allow a path to citizenship for people currently within US borders illegally.
I think the Democratic bill is wrongheaded. It has everything backwards. I have a solution. It’s simple, but I predict few of you will agree.
Let’s just get rid of the border when it comes to people. Who cares whether someone is here without papers? Why do you need papers anyway? If the rights accorded American citizens are based on the idea that these rights are universal rights, let’s make them universal at least for those within our borders. That’s the right thing to do. If we think people in Iraq should have those rights, then what’s the problem about extending them to everyone where we have some kind of authority? And the “privileges”? If we are talking about services provided pursuant to payment of taxes and fees, taxes and fees that everyone is expected to pay (and for which they should reap the benefits), then let’s give everyone those services. If they work they have to pay taxes. Immigrants pay taxes, whether they are here legally or not, so they should also get the benefits.
Children in the US are subject to compulsory education. That education should include the ability to read and write English. English isn’t better than Spanish or any other language. But it is the language of the larger community, needed to get along with people and to succeed in life. It’s possible at some point Spanish could be the language that fits that description. Then all children should have to learn Spanish.
But that’s it. Who cares whether someone has “papers” or not? They “jumped the queue”? Why do we have a queue in the first place? The border is an artificial line on the map as far as humans are concerned. Let lawyers argue about issues of who gets to make laws that hold in certain areas or control of resources in the ground. People should be able to move freely.
Screw the borders.