It Will be a Hot Topic for the 2016 Presidential Election, But Immigration Reform Still Far Away

Rep. Reggie Fullwood

by Reggie Fullwood

Immigration reform has been a critical issue in this country for the past several years. The President and Democrats have pushed for reform, and even some prominent Republicans like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio support changes to our immigration policies.
Despite it being such a hot topic, we are far from having any real resolution. It’s an issue that will dominate the upcoming presidential election with both sides dug in and hard to move.

While the Republicans clearly need to do better with Hispanic voters in 2016, the party has been a walking contradiction. On one hand, they say that one of their top issues is to appeal and win over Latino voters. On the other hand, many of their presidential candidates and office holders have strong opinions against immigration reform, which is a key issue for Hispanic voters.

And then there is “The Donald.” Of course, he wants to build a wall around the country – well, maybe not the entire country just along the Mexican border. You know those Mexicans – they are the reason this country has gone to hell – yeah right!

Unfortunately, many of the GOP presidential candidates are trying to be more conservative than each other and moving as far right as possible. That means that with the exception of the two previously mentioned Republicans, most of the rest agree with “the wall” immigration strategy.

So what it doesn’t make sense. It sounds good and appeals to the ultra-conservatives that you need to get elected in a primary.

The middle ground to “the wall” approach has been those Republicans that have finally come around to some level of reform. They say that the “Dreamers” can stay, but their illegal parents must go. Hmmm… seems like a pretty good compromise. My kids can stay, but I have to go? Really?
Who are the Dreamers – well, they are simply young undocumented immigrants that in most cases may have been born in their home country, but have lived in the United States for most of their lives. This is the only real home most of them know.

Nearly three years ago, President Obama made a bold move that has had a positive affect on the immigration debate, but it is still not enough.
He announced that his administration would stop deporting some illegal immigrants who were brought to the country as children and have gone on to be productive and otherwise law-abiding residents.

Of course, there are always repercussions to every action.The pro-immigration rights groups cheered the Presidents decision, while the anti-immigration “build a fence aroundthe country” folks went crazy. Some three years or so later, opponents are still at it.

During his speech, the President described his decision as the “right thing to do for the American people.”

It’s an interesting argument. Those who are for immigration reform point out the fact that undocumented people have lived in this country for decades and are as important to this country as citizens in many ways – especially certain industries like food service, construction, and agriculture.

Those in opposition feel like foreigners or illegals are taking over the country and overusing valuable resources, living off of the government, and taking jobs from American citizens.

The Latino population in this country is growing very quickly. In fact, Florida Hispanics are now the largest minority group according to the 2010 Census.
We should embrace our “Dreamers.” And there should be a clear path to citizenship in this country for undocumented people who have lived here most of their lives.
During his speech in 2012, the President said, “These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag.”

He added, “They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper.”

It’s funny how human nature works. We tend to have very short memories. The last time I checked, all of our families at some point were immigrants to this country – either by choice, or through bondage.

The obvious exception being Native Americans, but the rest of our families made it to America as immigrants of some sort.

What’s sad is that many backwards thinking “Americans” want to blame immigrants and other minorities for all of the country’s woes.

Former UN Secretary Kofi Annan, once said, “Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.”
Signing off from “the wall” in El Paso, TX
Reggie Fullwood

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