Common sense on legalizing illegal immigrants

Whether you're for it or against it, everyone should read this op-ed in the Chicago Tribune.

It was written by Dave Seminara, a former diplomat who issued thousands of visas during his career at the State Department. He voted twice for President Barack Obama, but presents facts that both sides ignore at their own risk. The topics he addresses are:

  • It's not just 11 million people.
  • Shadowy people aren't going to "come out of the shadows
  • Jobs Americans won't do?
  • Affirmative action.
  • We already have guest worker programs that don't work
  • Strain on social services.
  • A surge of document and identity fraud
  • Half the problem won't be addressed
  • Amnesty beneficiaries won't be "joining the back of the line."
  • The plan will vindicate those who broke the law.

I especially like his last point, which has to do with fairness and one of the main reasons I don't like much of immigration reform, which screws the people who have been waiting in line and following all the rules. His quote in full:

I had the pleasure of issuing immigrant visas to applicants who jumped through all of the hoops and waited years in their home countries to come to the U.S. legally. Any plan that provides the same prize to those who flouted the law is a mistake. The message to the hundreds of millions around the world who aspire to live in the U.S. will be clear: Those who broke the law still got green cards. Their decision to come illegally will be perceived as a smart one in their home countries, which will only encourage more illegal immigration.



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  • This stuff makes me crazy because my dad came here as a 17 yr. old boy in 1924 by himself. He couldn't speak the English language, but he learned and he followed all the rules. It never occurred to him not to! Thank you for this. It gives me hope that someone has common sense on this issue.

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    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

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