Thoughtful Rubio plan leads the way forward on immigration

Image Credit: Gage Skidmore (Flickr) (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Image Credit: Gage Skidmore (Flickr) (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Those 11 million illegal immigrants — what’s the policy sweet spot between outright amnesty and deportation? A smart National Affairs piece tries to split the difference. It suggests granting the undocumented a new status as ”permanent non-citizen residents.” Unlike legal permanent residents or green-card holders, permanent non-citizen residents would be prohibited from ever becoming eligible for naturalization.

But Marco Rubio has decided not to go that way. As sketched out to The Wall Street Journal, Rubio would create a path to eventual citizenship:

“Here’s how I envision it,” he says. “They would have to come forward. They would have to undergo a background check.” Anyone who committed a serious crime would be deported. “They would be fingerprinted,” he continues. “They would have to pay a fine, pay back taxes, maybe even do community service. They would have to prove they’ve been here for an extended period of time. They understand some English and are assimilated. Then most of them would get legal status and be allowed to stay in this country.”

The special regime he envisions is a form of temporary limbo. “Assuming they haven’t violated any of the conditions of that status,” he says, the newly legalized person could apply for permanent residency, possibly leading to citizenship, after some years—but Mr. Rubio doesn’t specify how many years. He says he would also want to ensure that enforcement has improved before opening that gate.

The waiting time for a green card “would have to be long enough to ensure that it’s not easier to do it this way than it would be the legal way,” he says. “But it can’t be indefinite either. I mean it can’t be unrealistic, because then you’re not really accomplishing anything. It’s not good for our country to have people trapped in this status forever. It’s been a disaster for Europe.”

Certainly the political math supports Rubio’s position. A Politico/GWU Battleground poll from December found that Americans, by a 62%-35% margin, support allowing “illegal or undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship over a period of several years.” Likewise, an ABC/Washington Post poll from November found 57% of those surveyed favor creating a path to citizenship, with 39% opposed. Among Hispanics, 82% favored a path to citizenship, a number which seems pretty stable. A 2010 Pew poll found that among Latinos, about 82% of the native born and 90% of the foreign born say they support providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

So Rubio is making the politically smart play, at least on a broad, national level. But something he might want to consider is whether the path to citizenship should be optional. That same National Affairs piece notes that a quarter century after the 1980s amnesty, only 41% of the nearly 2.7 million individuals who became legal permanent residents had gone on to exercise the option to naturalize. “In other words, when offered the chance to become citizens, the overwhelming majority of the undocumented have settled for less.”

Maybe we shouldn’t let them settle for less. Instead, perhaps all green card holders should face a time limit on applying for citizenship or face a loss of privileges. And achieving citizenship, becoming an American, shouldn’t be easy. For starters, demand that prospective citizens have to complete certified classes in American history and civics, as National Affairs editor Yuval Levin has suggested. Assimilation must be at the heart of immigration reform, a requirement just as important as securing the borders.

But the Rubio plan is a thoughtful, solid start, and I look forward to hearing more details, including the parts concerning legal immigration, high-skill and otherwise.

5 thoughts on “Thoughtful Rubio plan leads the way forward on immigration

  1. You should never need a person like Rubio from the get go if the party and it’s membership were so inclined to start with.

    and conversely – dialogue from people like Rubio without a change in the party itself is just window dressing with no real change that actually affects immigrants.

    The GOP has to recognize that within it’s ranks there are not only people like Rubio but there are knuckle-dragging Neanderthals – and right now and for the past decade, the Neanderthals have been who has really been calling the shots.

    Real change from within the party has to occur. Having high profile “tokens” without real change is not going to get it.

    It’s yet another form of corruption where illegal immigration has become a standard of big business “Ruling the Roost”. After the 1986 promise never to submit a bill for another Comprehensive Immigration Reform or some type of Amnesty, Obama and his mob of Inquisitors who don’t respect the Constitution are pushing for another Path to Citizenship for 20 million plus foreign nationals who spit on our laws. Another policy as before will just attract millions more people in poverty adding to our own. The quota system years back worked very well, but it was not good enough for the special interests, organized religion, unions and other inept organizations. Certain nationalities gained a working visa to enter the United States and it was a FAIR AND EQUITY way for individuals to immigrate. All we have to do is enforce the laws we have now, including passing most prominent laws that sit dormant ready to be voted on? These are Legal Workforce Act and the Birthright Citizenship bill. In the long run these laws could save taxpayers Trillions of dollars in education, health treatments for every illegal family, homes for low income and a load of benefits for the children of illegal aliens smuggled calculatingly into America. Using E-Verify and its growing innovations to electronically locate and deport illegal workers in jobs, which should belong to the 24 millions of Americans and the less fortunate existing on the streets. Our population is growing every year from legal and illegal immigration, with a proportion managing to gain entrance through CHAIN MIGRATION of immediate family members and there is a rising need to reduce it, otherwise we will have shortages of portable water, energy supplies and chaos on the crumbling road systems and retirement for people who never paid a cent into the system. Learn more from around the country with the lies and propaganda from the Liberal Progressives from the true believer in the Rule of Law at the “AMERICAN PATROL site.

    Then again, until the special interest money is taken away from Congress, the general public hardly has any say in the policies of any administration? The rot inside the beltway is so intense, the little guy, the small politicians with expectations becomes malleable to their own parties. Ron Paul is correct that the Federal Reserve is as corrupt as any lawmaker. The 41 million plus TEA PARTY states that if you grew up in the in the 1950s and 1960s, you remember a time when the average husband could easily support his family – without putting his wife to work. You remember a banking system that was a good, honest steward of your money. And you remember when a dollar was a dollar… and every dime and quarter was made of 90% silver. Today, millions of two-income families are struggling to make ends meet. The same $1 that once bought you three gallons of gas will only buy you one-third of a gallon. And the price of everything else, from health care to food to electricity and even college tuition continues to soar. Make no mistake; this dollar crisis is destroying the American middle class. And one organization has been its chief architect: The Federal Reserve. Did you know…Thanks to the actions of the Fed, the basic necessities of life have become so expensive, according to a recent National Retirement Confidence Survey, 70% of American workers plan to work for pay after they retire. It’s true.

    And I’m sure you’ve noticed how much harder it is to plan for the future and confidently invest in the stock market. Everything we’ve worked for is at risk of being taken away. All the wars Americans have died for to claim our freedom from dictatorship, is slowly fading as those in power are accumulating votes by pampering not only illegal aliens but the freeloaders, who have no intention of working for a living. All those people who voted for King Obama and his Imperial court must be mystified by more and more dollars being extracted by his administration and not just from wealthy amongst us. And a growing number of Americans are saying, “Enough is enough. This madness has to stop!” Here at The Project to Restore America – we fully support Ron Paul’s push to Audit the Fed. And we’re encouraged to see a new bill has been introduced by Congressman Paul Broun this year. But a major showdown waits in Washington DC, where powerful forces are plotting to crush any attempt to bring transparency to the Federal Reserve. My question to you is – will you let them to continue to gut the value of the dollar… or… choose to fight back? I’m not asking for your money. Nor am I asking you to attend a political rally. But we need to let our Congressmen hear this message loud and clear: It’s time to Audit the Fed! We’ve created a special one-click petition that will ensure your Congressman knows where you stand in the weeks ahead. If you are with me and share in Ron Paul’s sentiments on this issue go to “The Project to Restore America”. As individuals we may be helpless to challenge the powers that be. But together we are strong enough to flood Washington with support for this historic bill…and return fiscal sanity to our country.

  3. Do you think Obama and Democrats really care this Nation is getting getting poorer and deeper in debt every day and the quality of life is decreasing and the misery index is increasing?

    The more that flee blue States like Calif. the more Control and Democrat voters the Democrats have in the State. With Democrats it not about the Citizens Welfare, Living standards, or the future of this Nation or State, it is about Power, Control and the Democrat party!

    If reducing Calif. and this Nation to a suburb of Mexico and this Nation to a bankrupt Third World Slum is necessary to accomplish their goal that is a price they are more than willing to pay.

    Normal people thinks no one would be diabolic and sick enough to purposely use policies to reduce the Nation and its population to a state of Poverty, Crime, Misery and Corruption, but you would be wrong!

    That is exactly where the Democrats are taking this Nation!

    The more Democrats can decrease Education achievement, Reasoning ability, Punish success, Reward failure and increase the Liberal idealogy, Poverty, Welfare and the Entitlement mentality the more Democrat voters they make and the closer they get to a Third World Socialist Food Stamp Paradise controlled Lock, Stock and Barrel by the Democrat party!

    The last piece to achieve their goals is nearly in place. Amnesty for the 12 to 30 million criminals and uneducated invading Illegal Aliens. That with chain Immigration for the ones still left in Mexico and Latin American and with a Prolific breeding rate will assure Red States are turned blue and a Democrat majority forever with a Third World Slum here of Crime, Corruption, Poverty and Misery modeled on Mexico and controlled by the Socialist/Democrat party of Northern Mexico!

    It is all about Power, Control and the Democrat party and how to use lies, false compassion, poverty and dependency to enslave a free people and a Nation!

    • It’s not really about Obama though. It’s about a GOP party that is perceived to be hostile to the interests of major voting constituencies that will determine the fate of the Republican Party.

      The GOP has to reconcile the fact that the demographics are shifting and that there are a lot of people out there who are not rich and some are poor – but even poor blacks and Hispanics tend to have Conservative values but when you’re calling a black POTUS a foreign-born Muslim from Kenya and everyone that is not a white American is listening to that and feeling it’s racism – and they think you’re trying to suppress their vote, have their relatives expelled or put in jail, etc…

      you have a big problem.

      If the GOP … REALLY.. wants to GOVERN – they have to win over the minorities and the minorities have to believe that the GOP really has the minorities best interests in their plans – if they are going to vote for the GOP.

      You can blame this on others but it won’t change the game. You have to get in the game.

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