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Monday, October 24, 2016

Marco Rubio, Florida’s junior senator, is pushing immigration reform because he needs a major legislative accomplishment to cement his credentials as a rising GOP star.

Haley Barbour, former GOP governor of Mississippi, is campaigning for an immigration overhaul because he knows that the Republican Party will be doomed if it does not make peace with growing numbers of Latino voters.

John McCain, Arizona’s senior senator and former GOP presidential nominee, is once again advocating a path to citizenship for undocumented workers because, well, his ego won’t allow him to be outdone by a young upstart named Rubio.

Whatever their reasons, they have found the right cause: The time has come to offer an estimated 11 million people living in the shadows a path to citizenship. Political calculations can produce lasting accomplishments, and few issues are more in need of ambitious pols looking to burnish their resumes than immigration reform.

For decades now, Mexicans, Guatemalans, Indians, Koreans, and even a few Irish and Norwegians, among others, have lived and worked among us, paying taxes, buying homes, sending their children to school — all the while without the protections afforded by legal documents.

Their labors are easily exploited by greedy employers. They can’t drive or board airplanes legally. They are not eligible to collect Social Security upon retirement, even if they have paid into the system through fake papers. They live in fear of those routine disruptions that can spiral downward into devastation for those without proper documents: the routine traffic stop, which can lead to deportation; the death of a parent in a distant land, which urges travel across borders; the teenager’s approaching 16th birthday and its shattered promise of a driver’s license, which can’t be obtained.

Jose Antonio Vargas, a former reporter who has become an advocate for immigration reform, wrote about learning of his status as an undocumented immigrant only when he went to apply for a driver’s license as a teenager. His grandparents, who were naturalized citizens from the Philippines, had never told him that they had conspired to bring him into the country illegally in order to give him a better life. He was as American as any other California teenager, so he was shocked to learn he stood on the other side of an invisible line.

But some of the most compelling reasons to put people like Vargas, Americans in almost every respect, on the path to citizenship have to do with the benefits that would accrue to the rest of us. Yes, immigration reform is a compassionate policy. It’s also a very practical one that provides substantial assistance to the economy, which is good news for everyone.

Business executives already know that, which is why so many of them are campaigning for comprehensive immigration reform. They depend on well-educated immigrants for their science and engineering expertise; they also depend on low-skilled immigrants to do the jobs that Americans don’t want to do, including farm work.

In addition, there is a broader benefit provided by immigrants, both legal and illegal: They have helped the United States to remain youthful, in contrast to its rapidly aging peers among industrialized nations.

Just look at Japan, a vast geriatric ward. A stunning 23 percent of its population is 65 or older. A cultural resistance to outsiders has exacerbated its problems: It remains hostile toward immigrants, despite the fact that it needs younger workers.

Several Western European countries haven’t fared much better. In Greece, for example, 19 percent of the population is 65 or older. That helps to explain its dismal economy, which doesn’t have enough younger workers paying taxes to support its retirees.

The United States, by contrast, sees itself as a nation of immigrants (despite the fact that history shows waves of discontent over the issue). Because of more recent waves of newcomers — whether they crossed the border with or without legal documents — this country’s retirees account for just 13 percent of the population. Just imagine how vicious the fights over cuts to Social Security and Medicare would be if we had fewer young workers to pay the tab.

Most of America’s undocumented workers have shown their allegiance to this country. We ought to show our appreciation by putting them on a path to citizenship. After all, we need them.

(Cynthia Tucker, winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a visiting professor at the University of Georgia. She can be reached at [email protected])

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

  • The motive for the sudden interest that some Republicans are showing to help change immigration laws that should have never been allowed to be put in place is immaterial. The fact is that after years of overt opposition, there is a chance of bipartisan support to reform laws that encourage the entry of large numbers of foreign professionals to satisfy domestic demands, and ignore the need for unskilled or semi-skilled labor.
    The sad truth is that without cheap illegal migrants our agricultural sector would collapse, and our only choice would be to import the produce we consume at a higher rate than we already do.
    Moral considerations, consistent with our values and history, must be the driving force, but economic needs must also be part of the equation.

    • CPAinNewYork

      Mr. Vila:

      Your citing of “moral considerations” in determining immigration policy is extremely naive.

      The proper viewpoint is to look out for number one. We have a giant economy and a good standard of living. It’s ours. Our predecessors built that economy along with a democratic political system.

      No outsiders, no jealous foreigners contriibuted to it. They contributed nothing to America. They’re takers, leeches, and we owe them nothing.

      What proof do you have to support your middle paragraph? More twaddle by liberal economists? Our agricultural sector will not collapse if the illegal aliens are excluded. Indeed, their presence has a deleterious effect on the modernization of our agriculture because it’s cheaper to pay a bunch of illegal wetbacks a starvation wage than to invest in modern agricuiltural machinery.

      To hell with the illegals. Decent Americans don’t need them.the country.

      • Wrong, we do need them – because we are not willing to pay Americans enough to do the hard, menial, dirty and/or dangerous work and even if we were willing, Americans wouldn’t do it.

        By our insistence on having cheap labor, and our not enforcing the laws against employing illegal immigrants, we have – for all practical purposes – invited these people to share our society, but only as second-class citizens.

        • CPAinNewYork

          You’re wrong. We don’t need the illegals. Business wants them, because they’re cheap labor and will accept money off the books.

          They’re not “second-class citizens.” They’re not citizens at all and they have no right to be here. If money were not the most important thing in America, they’d have been kicked out years ago.

  • charleo1

    We can give Marco Rubio credit for bringing the subject of immigration
    reform to his Party. Albeit, he does it to advance his own political ambitions.
    He is certainly not doing it for his Cuban constituency, back in Miami. They
    are very satisfied with their, “Wet foot, dry foot,” immigration policy. Thank
    you very much. And are not too keen on their people, just off the boat, dealing
    with the competition of those, thousands of other, newly legalized, immigrates
    from South, and Central America, and Mexico. So, for Rubio, that’s where his immigration problems begin. But, the problems for the Republican Party, are
    much wider and go much deeper, than Rubio realizes. I’m sure many of his
    fellow politicians, adjust their language, whenever he is in the room. And maybe, that’s the reason for his optimism. But, he should not allow himself to be fooled
    by a Party that owes it’s political clout, to the Southern Strategy. While it is true,
    being a Republican doesn’t make you a racist. It’s also true, if you are a racist,
    you’re probably a Republican. And already the forces within the Party are
    beginning to look for the escape hatch. Boston was bombed. And, Limbaugh is
    warning of a huge amnesty program, that opens the flood gates to millions
    more, “Democrat,” voters. That will inundate the welfare system, and drive
    the Country into bankruptcy. While it’s true, every class of immigrant since
    this Country was founded, has benefited the entirety. And these bright, hard
    working, immigrants show every indication, they would be no different.
    But, the Republican Party, and the radical extremist, influencing the core,
    as we’ve seen, don’t use common sense. They use fear, and they use race.
    And they know of no other way to be. They are, unfortunately, what they are.

    • Charles___Darwin

      At least you admit that this amnesty will open the floodgates to more people on welfare. And there are just as many racists on the left, except their racism is more subtle and pernicious. Affirmative action is a statement that certain members of society cannot complete without special privileges, i.e. are not equal.
      And the whining about the “angry white male” is overt racism, from minorities and self hating whites. Classifying people by race is racism.

      • charleo1

        Heck no, I don’t see the amnesty, yet. But, to tell the honest
        truth on welfare. The big retailers are riding the public safety
        net, all the way to the bank. Wal-Mart holds little classes for
        their mostly part time hires. Tells them what they qualify for,
        how to fill out the forms, and where they need to take them.
        That’s not immigrants. That’s the policy of the company that
        employs the most people in America today. They want the
        work done, but they don’t want to pay for it. Like they want a big modern Country, with all the amenities, but they want somebody
        else to foot the bill. And I don’t know about subtle racism.
        Affirmative Action, like school bussing, and minority set asides,
        for public works projects, are all admittedly a bit of an attempt at social engineering. But, it is not saying to the Black student,
        we don’t believe you can compete with the White kids, because we all know, head to head, they’d beat you every time. It is only
        recognizing the truth, that a lot of what gets these kids into the
        best schools, is having the connections. So, yes, they arbitrarily
        tell the school, 10%, or 15% of your student body will be from
        the minority demographic. It is totally about being inclusive, by
        mandate. But, after a hundred years of discrimination, Jim Crow,
        Laws, huge poverty numbers contributing to social dysfunction.
        It is the recognition, without some mandate, the White majority was
        always going to give the White kid the opportunity. So, categorizing
        by race. Or Acknowledging the particular problems common to
        a specific race, whether social, or medical, is not racism. But,
        denying there is a problem, and allowing the discrimination to
        continue, is the definition of racism. And the only whining about
        the angry White male, was when Karl Rove, or Frank Luntz made
        the comment, Romney didn’t win, because we just ran out of
        young, angry White men. The only faction, under the age of 40,
        that voted a straight Republican ticket. And I don’t blame them.
        Times are tough. And, there was a time, they could have had an
        advantage simply by being White. Then, they hire the Black guy,
        over some affirmative action, quota. And, he is gonna be pissed.
        I get that. But the program addresses an overall imbalance that
        has it roots in our history. And although he may not appreciate it,
        he is still twice, and three times better off being White, than Black,
        in terms of employment, and pay. Black unemployment is still,
        or was, last I heard, about 16%. Non-college, unskilled White is
        continues to be about half the rates of their Black counterparts.
        By the way, the unemployment rate for college grads, of all colors,
        with a masters degree, is 4.7%.

        • Charles___Darwin

          You articulated well the problems with illegal immigration. The cheap, “underground” labor has destroyed the blue-collar middle class in this country. Construction used to be a decent profession for those not choosing a college or white collar career path, but illegal immigrants have taken most of the jobs, while the societal costs of the illegals is borne by the taxpayer,
          Equally culpable, if not more so, are the companies that hire illegals at substandard wages and benefit packages to pursue a quick buck. Those companies should be fined and/or criminally prosecuted.

          • charleo1

            Yep. The practice is unfair to the American young folk,
            who deserve that entry level position, to gain experience,
            and learn a skill. And he/she should not have to compete
            with workers that will never file a worker comp claim. Or,
            report hazardous working conditions. The builder puts the
            profits in his pocket, while the community at large picks up
            the tab for healthcare if he’ injured, his family, if he has one,
            and education for his kids. What I don’t do, is blame the guy
            from Mexico, or Honduras, If fate, or God, or whatever force
            that determines such things, had put me in his shoes, I’d do
            the same things he’s doing. All humans retain the Right to go
            wherever, and certainly, do honest labor to survive. But, I
            blame the politicians, that stop all efforts to hold these companies accountable. They claim they just can’t tell the
            difference between the immigrant, that arrived in care of the
            same guy that’s been suppling illegal labor for him for years.
            And, the guy with a local address on his driver’s license.
            A diploma from the local school system he’s attended all his
            life. And, probably the doubtful look in his eyes, he’s going
            to be hired, when he sees his competition. It really is an

          • CPAinNewYork

            I agree. What do you recommend that we do about it?

          • Allan Richardson

            I agree with you, Charles, this time. The corporate interests have the “best of both worlds” immigration laws already, for them. They import and hire workers who are not in the country legally, knowing that if their workplaces are raided, they only have to replace them after paying a small fine; but if the workers want to complain, they do not dare complain to the law, or organize a union, because they would be deported. This is virtually a slave labor business. Perhaps if the MANAGERS who hire the aliens were deported (after removing their citizenship), this practice would stop.

            But I also have compassion on the immigrants who are already here and have been for years, ESPECIALLY those who were brought here as children. Deporting them to a country they barely, if at all, remember? Unable to speak the language of that country? When they have the skills to become REAL “job creators” in the future? This is neither fair nor smart.

            But relatively few jobs for Americans are preferentially given to illegal immigrants. The REAL job loss is shipping manufacturing and customer service phone banks overseas. And customer service overseas is also a security risk to the privacy of the customers, and to the country. All the terrorists need is to steal (or buy from unscrupulous IT managers) a hundred customer profiles in countries with lax privacy laws, have a hundred terrorists pose as those customers, and armed with the personal information, convince a US Embassy or Consulate that they “lost” their passport, get a “replacement” with their new picture, and “return” here as a fake “citizen.” Not to mention financing terrorist attacks by using the victims’ credit cards, and putting suspicion on those victims!

          • CPAinNewYork

            Your compassion is misdirected. It should be for the Americans who are being cheated of the opportunity that America should offer.
            The illegals don’t belong here and neither do their children. We need to rid ourselves of them.

        • CPAinNewYork

          Your posts are good, but your grammar and syntax mark you as poorly educated. You should clean up your act, because your poor use of English detracts from your credibility.

    • CPAinNewYork

      Immigration in the past, meaning pre-welfare, benefited “the entirety.” But with welfare, things have changed. If an immigrant becomes unemployed, he or she goes on welfare. That doesn’t benefit “the entirety.”

      Because illegal aliens will work for very little and off the books, they exacerbate the unemployment situation. Further, they contribute to the crime rate, the latter because desperate, hungry, homeless people will turn to crime rather than suffer. Who wouldn’t?
      We don’t need any immigration, legal or illegal, because we’re in a recession. Politicians like Rubio love it, because they think that it will increase their voting base immediately if the immigrant is legal, but seemingly eventually if the immigrant is illegal.

      • charleo1

        Okay, as you’ve said before, my writing isn’t up to your
        standards. Fair enough. But if you’re looking for Faulkner, It ain’t
        happening. What I do have, that you evidently lack is, actually
        having the pleasure of knowing many of these immigrants personally.
        They work the fields, and migrate from S. Florida, up into Georgia,
        or the Carolinas. Where the growers depend on them, each year,
        to do the work, first, most Americans, don’t know how to do. And,
        second, wouldn’t do that kind of work, if they did.
        Some have their own places where they have spent the winter season for years. They are known by the people of these towns, as honest, hard working, net contributors to their communities, and also known by law enforcement to be undocumented. But, then there are people like yourself. Who think they know what they are talking about.
        Arrogantly spouting their preconceived, suppositions, they’ve been
        told, or have concluded. That these illegals must be soaking up the welfare, because they all work for less. Which, if we are talking about harvesters, is not so. The pay is $100-150 a day. But, that is based on their productivity, They bust their hump, and contribute to Medicare,
        and a Social Security system, they have no hope of ever participating
        in. And they didn’t invent this system. They work within the rules
        that were already being used when they got here. You should meet
        my Brother-in-law, Augustin, In fact, a lot of people should meet
        him. Augustin was born into a migrant family. Because they were
        constantly following the crops, his education was interrupted
        countless times, and when he wasn’t in school, he was in the field
        with his family. That was how things were done. And the main
        reason most children of migrants follow their parents into the life.
        But, Augustin wanted a better life. He was the first member of his
        family to graduate high school, and then, to get a college degree.
        He made the military his career, served his Country in Vietnam,
        and to this day, flies the largest American flag in seven counties
        in his front yard, because patriotism, and love of Country are not
        just abstract things with Augustin. Augustin, was that anchor baby,
        some like to complain about. They are idiots, who’s vision doesn’t
        extend beyond the tip of their nose. Now, did America get it’s
        money’s worth? America got a bargain. And that’s the entirety,
        I was talking about.

        • CPAinNewYork

          Your brother in law isn’t the entirety, he’s the exception.

          • charleo1

            So you say. I happen to know better. You say, we don’t
            need immigrants. If you are a CPA, you might appreciate
            that the workforce is getting older. In the years to come,
            if people like the Social Security program. And, they do.
            We will need these younger workers contributing to the
            system, as the baby boomer generation is now retiring.
            But, I imagine you’re going to be coming to your conclusions,

          • CPAinNewYork

            We have plenty of out-of-work people here now. What are the illegals going to do to help us solve that problem?

  • Cynthia Tucker is a dopey liberal stooge. Immigration “reform” will turn America into Venezuela in twenty years.

    • Allan Richardson

      Corporate oligarchy policies will turn our ECONOMY into Venezuela, or Colombia, or Bangladesh (no OSHA law THERE!), or Biblical Judea, regardless of the racial or cultural makeup of the population.

      Our choice is Keynesian or Dickensian.

  • stooby doo

    As a legal permanent resident in the USA I have one question for the writer of this drivel- what don’t you understand about illegal? You advocate and say we need people that broke the law from day one. What’s your next article going to be about? Needing compassion for hundreds of thousands that get arrested for DUI’s and Drugs – don’t we need them too? For the same reasons you advocate in your article.

    • charleo1

      As a natural born American, and citizen by birth rite. I have a
      question for you. What makes you think your opinion, as a foreigner,
      in my Country is worth a plug nickel? I mean, what part of legal permanent resident, gives you the idea, that just because somebody messed up, and
      gave you amnesty, you can now start setting the rules for Americans, in our own Country? Because, this shit can flow both ways, Pal.

      • CPAinNewYork

        Get used to it, Charles. I’ve had considerable exposure to foreigners working in America on two- and three-year assignments before they returned to our firm’s overseas operating offices. Here’s my impression of them:

        The English are the most vocal and critical of America and Americans. They don’t like anything about us. Right behind the English in that respect are the Canadians.

        My considered remedy to work to correct these impressions: Tell both groups to go to hell. Their opinions are half baked, but they’ll never change them. I look on them as “allies,” not friends. Countries, I was told once, do not have friends. Countries have interests. It’s in our mutual interest to have allies, so i’m willing to tolerate them and their stupid opinions. To paraphrase Winston Churchill: “The only thing worse than having allies in a war is not having allies.” Smart man.

        • charleo1

          Honestly, New York. I think you need to get over yourself.

          • CPAinNewYork

            Have i offended your tender psyche by relating my experience? Too bad. Where do you get your opinions, by listening to someone else’s and then piggybacking on their opinions?

          • charleo1

            Offended my tender psyche? Not at all. I just felt I
            should be honest, before our relationship goes any
            further. And tell you, I think you’re a jerk wad. And,
            since life is so short, and so full of jerk wads. There
            is only so much time I can waste with each of you.
            And your time is up.

          • CPAinNewYork

            That’s the best you can do? A “jerk wad”?

    • Stooby, the proposed immigration reform is designed to change a system that allows – and encourages – some people to enter the country legally, and blocks the entry of those we dislike culturally and ethnically. The reason our current immigration laws have not been change is also because special interests benefit from the influx of illegal immigrants who have no choice but to accept working conditions that should not be allowed in a country like ours, ostensibly to profit at the expense of the misery of others.

      • CPAinNewYork

        You’re wrong, Mr. Vila. the proposed immigration “reform” is intended to increase the influx of illegal aliens to benefit business through cheap labor and the left wing politicians through increased voter bases.
        Fairness in immigration rests with the individual’s view. My view is that America is for the native born, not some unfortunate from a third world dump presided over by a dictatorial elitist government.

  • Cynthia Tucker is a left wing radical and racial agitator. Has been for years.

  • bcarreiro

    Republicans are using immigration reform to help better themselves in the next election. We would have had a better system if its weren’t for them. Our country is founded on immigrants, just look at your ancestory. If they aren’t criminals, leave them an open path to citizenship. People who stay beyond the shadows are scared because they are just a number in a system that doesn’t even work for the ones who are born here. We don’t need reform we need RESPECT for them who do work hard. Our Statue of Liberty stands for all of US who have a dream of being free. Doesn’t necessarily mean that they want a hand out …..just a hand up!!!

  • Charles___Darwin

    Yes, keep families together. Send the illegals back to their native countires where they can be with their families.

  • It’s to bad the gutless folks in Washington are only looking for votes. If
    they came over the fence, pick them up, and send them back. Sorry if that sounds
    cold, but that’s the way it should be..period! Lets protect us!

  • docb

    This is a self-serving piece of of fiscal irresponsibility from the repubs who would benefit from building a Israeli Modeled Berlin Wall at our Border that delays citizenship by the

    ‘Border Fence Trigger’ for over a decade..At the cost of BILLIONS to the tax payer and creates second class citizens for their corporate donors coffers..

    Rubio fought immigration reform the whole time in the Florida legislature…This is just another repub scam! FOLLOW THE $$$ MONEY to the building of that fence!

  • Allan Richardson

    We need more PLURIBUS in our UNUM!

    • CPAinNewYork

      No we don’t. The more homogenious societies seem to have the least internal problems.