Chicago is a city of immigrants. Modern Chicago was built by immigrants. At one point in Chicago's history, four out of five people came from someplace else.
Illegal immigration has been a major problem for over five decades. The United States Congress did nothing except patchwork to fix the problem. This country needs an immediate overhaul of its immigration policy. Congress should get to work passing a clean bill that clearly and succinctly spells out the nation's law and policy on immigration going forward.
The new policy should be enforced. From that point on, if you come into the United States illegally, you get deported. A policy is futile if it is not enforced or enforcement is lax due to political considerations.
Congress has an opportunity to work in a bipartisan fashion to craft legislation benefiting the country and people from abroad who want to live, work, and thrive here. They have a chance to show voters they can accomplish something other than squabbling or holding endless investigative hearings over meaningless issues.
Congress has a chance to make history and look like heroes instead of terrible two-year-olds having tantrums.
Undocumented immigrants, numbering in the millions, should be given a path to citizenship. There should be conditions. They must be law abiding, prove who they are, are not guilty of identity theft or creating a false identity. They are employed and are current on their income taxes. There are probably more conditions but they should not be so harsh as to create an obstacle.
Let's get real. We cannot deport millions of people. The immigration legal system cannot handle that many cases. Give these people a path to citizenship.
Put a new policy in place. Let the rest of the world know the rules. Vigorously enforce it. Give immigrants living here a chance. Claim victory over the immigration issue.
My grandparents were immigrants. I grew up in two neighborhoods heavily populated by immigrants. I went to an elementary school with the children of immigrants, many whose parents fled the ravages of post World War II or the rise of Communism in Eastern Europe.
I have been surrounded by immigrants, legal and illegal, most of my life. The majority of them fled poverty. Some fled their countries for something called freedom. Others just wanted better opportunities for themselves and their children. Whatever the reason, they are hard working decent people.
The United States has an ugly history of xenophobia. Chinese rail workers were subjected to atrocities. The Temperance Movement and Prohibition were partially fueled by xenophobia. Japanese were interred in camps during World War Two.
The Irish, Italians, Greeks, Germans, foreign born Jews, Poles, and others all have tales of harsh discrimination, bias, and violence perpetrated upon them solely for who they were and where they came from.
A new immigration law and policy, strictly enforced, along with a path to citizenship for immigrants living here, will help erase the xenophobic stigma haunting America.
Walls will not keep people out. More agents, technology, or armies will not keep people out. They will come. They have been coming since this nation was born.
America offers what no other country on earth does. The opportunity to live in freedom. The hope for a better future.
The United States can control immigration. It cannot stop it.
Congress should show the people they can achieve one major accomplishment. Immigration is not a Republican or Democrat issue. It is not a conservative or liberal issue. Immigration is a reality. Congress can pass a law to control it or keep fighting over God knows what.
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