Type to search

GOP Needs To Make Up Its Mind On Immigration Reform

Memo Pad Politics

GOP Needs To Make Up Its Mind On Immigration Reform


Yet another member of the Bush family has demonstrated an uncanny ability to flinch on immigration.

Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, has long advocated a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, roughly in line with current thinking of a bipartisan group in Congress. Yet in a new book he has written with Clint Bolick, Immigration Wars, Bush has flip-flopped on the question of the path to citizenship.

“Those who violated the law can remain but cannot obtain the cherished fruits of citizenship,” Bush and Bolick wrote.

That’s disappointing, much like the failure of Jeb’s brother George W. to push the bipartisan immigration reform bill his administration favored through Congress in 2007.

In interviews since the book’s release, Jeb Bush has retraced and gone back to supporting avenues to citizenship.

To CNN, he had this to say: “Today the only path to come to this country other than family reunification is to come illegally. We need to create another category of legal immigration where there is actually a line. So if you could create that through a path to citizenship, I would support that.”

Well, what’s it going to be? It’s important to know; Bush might be the next Republican nominee for president.

With Congress set to take up comprehensive immigration reform, there simply isn’t time to waste on waffling. The Republican Party and its leading figures must decide: Are they going to join the movement for reform or are they going to keep up their long-standing campaign to demean undocumented immigrants?

For the last couple of decades, the conservative demagogues opposed to sensible immigration reform have worked hard to brand this issue as one of law and order. They have made an epithet out of an adjective — “illegals” — as a way to characterize undocumented immigrants as by nature criminal and, as such, unfit for U.S. citizenship.

Most Americans know better. Bush knows better too. A good portion of the book shows how deeply he understands the nuances of immigration law and policy. He discusses the fact that it is nearly impossible for many of the people who wind up illegally in the country to arrive legally.

He advocates clearing up the backlogs on visa requests based on family relationships by changing those systems and creating new avenues for legal immigration. He knows that many immigrants are seeking work and calls for doubling the number of work-based visas for both highly skilled and guest workers.

Let’s recognize that most undocumented immigrants live among us to work; let’s also acknowledge that American employers and consumers have benefitted greatly from the low-wage labor these people provide.

OK, now we can talk about legal status.

Mary Sanchez

Mary Sanchez has spent years covering immigration, schools, and other volatile beats for The Kansas City Star. She is now an editorial columnist for the Star, where she continues to offer insightful commentary on immigration, culture, and politics.

  • 1


  1. Dominick Vila March 12, 2013

    The difference of opinions within the GOP on the issue of immigration reform, reflect those of us as a society. I believe that most Americans understand and support the need for immigration reform to solve an issue that is moral wrong, that has a negative impact on our economy, and that undermines our credibillity as a bastion of freedom and democracy.

    Our immigration laws encourage the entry of professionals who are needed to satisfy demand and offset shortages in the medical and hard sciences sectors. Those laws do not extend the same opportunities for semi-skilled or unskilled immigrant needed to satisfy demand in sectors such as the agri-business, garment, and hospitality. The result is that impoverished people risk deportation, and sometimes their lives, to pursue opportunities that do not exist in their homelands, in a country where greedy employers are more than happy to hire them and benefit from their illegal status.
    The ideological differences now focus on whether or not illegal immigrants should be granted a path to citizenship. In my opinion, they should not. Regardless of how unfair or ineffective our immigration law may be, our laws must be respected and those that deliberately break them should not be rewarded. I believe the best solution is to grant a path to citizenship to children of illegal immigrants, who should not be held responsible for the crime committed by their parents when they brought them to this country, but I also believe adult illegal immigrants should only be granted permanent residency status, rather than citizenship.

    1. Jim Myers March 12, 2013

      Replying to Dominick Vila –

      I agree with you on most of your points. However, to deny any possibility of citizenship is a cruel stab to the heart.

      Certainly, illegal entry into the United States is a tricky subject.

      However, they would not risk everything, including their lives and the lives of their loved ones, if there were a realistic possibility of gaining entry that was legal for those on lower end of the economic scale.

      The reality is that they have virtually NO possibility of gaining entry within a reasonable amount of time, unless they are willing to cross our border illegally.

      The true “Catch 22” of our immigration policies.

      1. Dominick Vila March 12, 2013

        I spent almost 30 years abroad, much of it in Latin America. I am keenly aware of the misery and lack of opportunities that have existed in that part of the world for centuries, the reasons so many people from Mexico and Central America want to come to the United States, and how unfair our immigration laws are.
        One of the most fascinating parts of this issue is the fact that we don’t hesitate to issue entry visas to citizens of countries that hate the United States, including people who learn how to fly planes in our universities so that they can destroy targets on U.S. soil, but find it objectionable to grant visas to people willing to work 10 or 12 hours a day for less than minimum wage to pursue their dreams and support their families.
        Having said that, we have no choice but to decide whether or not our laws should be respected. Like I said earlier, I find the “anchor baby” argument abhorrent and inconsistent with our values and our Constitution (14th Amendment), and punishing children for crimes committed by their parents is something that not even the Soviets embraced. I have no problem with granting permanent residency to illegal immigrants, but I don’t think a path to citizenship is the way to go. Permanent residency, what we used to call a green card, allows foreigners to work legally in the USA, pay taxes, buy a house and do almost everything the rest of us can, except certain privileges – such as voting – that are limited to U.S. citizens by birth or naturalization.
        Needless to say, immigration reform also affects the entry of future immigrants, not just those who are already in the USA. This is, indeed, an emotional issue, but it is not one that cannot be solved expeditiously if our legislators are willing to do what is right for our country.

        1. Jim Myers March 12, 2013

          Dominick –

          By my thinking, the system is irreparably damaged.

          Those who have the money and/or education, the professionals that you mentioned, as well as those who are capable of buying multi-million dollar properties are admitted freely. They can become citizens based on those qualifications.

          The lowly workers who literally kill themselves working for much less than minimum wage, have virtually no chance of earning citizenship status. Because, well, they are illegal immigrants.

          What ever happened to “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…”

          I’m not trying to be an advocate for illegal immigrants, but the reality is that under the present system, they do not have any chance of ever gaining citizenship.

          And, I think that is just plain wrong.

          1. Hillbilly March 13, 2013

            So Jim, you want that illegal immigrant that has already been deported twice and is set for her third deportion hearing after she gets through suing the Sheriff’s department, for shackling before her 4th anchor baby was born, before the baby was born, she was unshacklied, had the baby and was shackled again after the baby was delivered.The shackles are a starndard thing done when prisoners go from the jail to the hospital for any reason. She is also trying to use what happened to keep from deported again and as a way to stay in the Country. Also Jim there is proof that there aren’t that many of them that want to be US Citizens, there pictures that was sent to me that showed Hispanics showing their disrespect for the American by walking on it, spitting on, putting their smokes out on it, while holding a Mexican flag. I don’t want people like the woman I just posted about, she was caught in Nashville,TN. driving a car without a driver license, no insurance and wild driving, and the people that treat my Country’s flag like a rag while waving the Mexican Flag to ever become citizens of this Country. Also many Mexican illegals in the Western states keep telling the legal citizens and people born in the US that when enough of them get into the Country, they are all going to raise up in revolute and take back the land that they say was stolen buy Americans. That means to me they all need to be deported and never allowed in this Country at all.

      2. Hillbilly March 13, 2013

        There are many legal immigrants that have been waiting years to get into the Country and still haven’t got in. What is a reasonable amount of time to wait to get entry into the country legally? There is a husband and wife that has moved into my Condo complex that waited 8 years to come into the states legally, they are from Brazil. No everyone that is in the Country illegally should be deported no longer how long they have been in the Country, we still have people here that were here illegally when Reagan did both of his amnesty and did not get amnesty because it cost money and they still brag about how they have got away with living in this illegally for 30 years and have never paid any taxes on income.They should be deported and get in line with all their Countrymen that are trying to get in the country legally.

  2. Jim Myers March 12, 2013

    Jeb Bush for President and Ann Coulter for Vice President.

    Imagine John McCain and Sarah Palin on steroids.

    The idiots brother and the beauty queen with a piece of coal for a heart. (No insult meant for coal or coal miners.)

    The DREAM TEAM the Democrats should be praying for.

  3. LaRae Bailey March 12, 2013

    pathetic what these politicians will do to this country and our people for a damned vote

  4. Canistercook March 12, 2013

    Guess all politicians change their minds, Obama pro or anti gay marriage and anti the Sequester he invented along with Bush and others! So what else is new, we all have a mind change occasionally!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.