People become citizens when they invest years building their lives in this country. Denying them naturalization or selling legal status only to people who can afford high fees and legal expenses doesn’t make our border-control and immigration laws stronger. It makes them unfair. ...Elizabeth Cohen,WaPo
That's pretty much our "founders" decided, even when it came to the people who had taken up arms against them -- the British loyalists.
The founders had a clear answer: People who immigrated and spent years building lives in this country deserved citizenship. They were also keenly aware that making new immigrants wait a long time for citizenship denied them the very rights that Americans had just fought to claim for themselves.How long is the wait, really?
From the earliest days, the test of whether you were "one of us" was whether you were hard-working, tenacious, and were making a life here. You weren't asked to hire lawyers and wait with little hope. You were expected to be a republican. No, not a member of a "Republican party," but a person who renounced monarchy and who understood and accepted the responsibility of democracy.
In the end, we also have to remind ourselves that our "founders" were hardly men of unimpeachable moral character. After all, slavery had already existed in the colonies since the earliest days of the 1600's. But when our ancestors sat down to work on independence and a constitution, they didn't extend citizenship, freedom, or even personhood, to the imported Africans who, we have to admit, had been forcefully "immigrated and spent their lives " here.
(Morally, of course, the "founders" were hardly role models. No more than their Constitution is wholly acceptable in today's America without its due amendments -- and more to come .)
The immigration issue is having some fallout for which we should be grateful: it's driving the tea partyers nuts and making them mad at each other.
On one side, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): A Tea Party hero who was one of the movement's early success stories, Rubio is leading efforts to sell the bill to the GOP's conservative wing.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), three other Tea Party favorites, have also been closely involved in the bipartisan negotiations.
But others closely aligned with the Tea Party movement have come out — hard — against the bipartisan framework.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), a member of the House Tea Party Caucus, ripped a bipartisan Senate plan as "amnesty" shortly after a “gang of eight” GOP and Democratic lawmakers unveiled it this week. Smith attack the plan as a potential drain on the economy and threat to border security.
Erick Erickson, the influential head of the Tea Party website RedState.com, also blasted the proposal. ...The Hill
Where the tea party faction gets it wrong, apparently deliberately, is in its contention that immigrants are a drag on the economy.
“My real concern with this plan is quite frankly it's going to cost taxpayers millions of dollars because they're going to have to foot the bill for government benefits going to these individuals... " ...The Hill
That comes from my own rep, Lamar Smith, R-TX. The very same man who, at one time, dropped his email account because, as he said at the time, he didn't want to waste his time hearing from the people in his district.
What he'd hear from many of us now, if he'd listen, are the documented contributions of immigrants to our economy at every level, and certainly within the state of Texas. But he already knows that. It's just inconvenient to acknowledge it...