I did not know what to think about President Obama’s new executive order on immigration. Most of my mainstream news comes from NPR, and sadly most of what they talk about is the Capitol Hill gamesmanship. Since 50.01% of what goes on on Capitol Hill is straight-out lies from teabaggers, I wasn’t getting much actual information.
Then this video from Vox came along and laid it out rather clearly. What got my attention is the fact that eleven million people are living in the US without authorization and it’s not at all practical to kick them all out.
Let’s start with that: Deporting eleven million people is not a thing we can really do. It doesn’t matter what the teabaggers want to believe. There is nowhere for them to go! Their former home countries can’t accommodate them! We need them to work here!
Look. You can’t evict 3% of a country. Well, you can, but we’ve seen how that goes in Europe, Africa, and South Asia. Not an option unless you want to go all Full Sudan out there.
Furthermore, if you ask me how I feel about people who cut out of their former countries for food, jobs, safety, or a place to live? I’m on their side. Let me put it this way: My foreign-born grandmother didn’t have papers either.
And back to the video, a majority of unauthorized immigrants have lived here more than ten years. Home is here for them.
So starting from the reality-based assumption that jacking up deportations by an order of magnitude is off the table, the administration has no choice but to prioritize its cases. And then doesn’t it make sense to let peaceful, productive, good neighbors stay? And furthermore, if they’re going to stay, what advantage is there in forcing them to stay underground and off the radar?
No, the only reasonable thing is to allow a path to permanent legal residency for people who are already living in the United States and already making a contribution. Let’s get them integrated, employed above the table, paying taxes, receiving benefits, and acting like they belong here. Because even though they or their parents may have slid under the radar years ago, the fact is that they’re here now and nobody benefits from creating a culture of “illegals.”