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July 17, 2014

Immigration The Endless Story

Patricia A. Kelly

Immigration, a solvable problem, already extensively studied, with clear, sensible recommendations already written, continues endlessly unresolved, as our present leaders dance around it, political gain remaining foremost in their little minds.


Inspired by this week’s headline in The Frederick News-Post, the subject must rise again, unfortunately. It should have been put to bed a long time ago.


This headline serves also as a reminder that candidates should be offered equal time in public venues, as smeary headlines with quotes from an opponent, as if he were a credentialed commentator, are unfair to the present sheriff, and give news-like credence to opposition views.


This should hold true in the case of any candidate for office.


The headline reads, “Sheriff’s trip funded by alleged hate group.” Quite a shortage of capital letters, but who’s checking grammar or headline composition these days anyway?


Sheriff Chuck Jenkins left for Texas on Tuesday to meet with national and federal leaders regarding the recent arrival of 57,000 unaccompanied minors across the southern border of the United States. Because of a 2008 law giving children special hearings before deportation can occur, parents have heeded the words of traffickers, who convinced them their children would be allowed to stay in the United States, if they could make it here.


Sheriff Jenkins, also quoted in this article, for a change, said he needs to go because he serves on the immigration and border subcommittee of the National Sheriffs’ Association.


Although the funding organization, the Federation for Immigration Reform, a public advocacy group with 250,000 members, has been called a “hate” group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Sheriff Jenkins’ actual itinerary will be independent of them.


The present crisis may or may not pose an immediate threat to our local community, but there’s a definite possibility of long-term impact, considering the large numbers and legal issues. Sheriff Jenkins has become a national figure in the immigration debate, and receives revenue that helps support our jail as a result of his participation in the federal ICE program.


Suggesting that he is wasting time and neglecting his duty by taking the trip is ridiculous.


During research on immigration issues, and FAIR, the name of Barbara Jordan, politician, attorney, constitutional scholar, and the first woman of color elected to state or national political office from Texas, came up. Her last major contribution to our country was to serve under President Bill Clinton as chair of the Federal Commission on Immigration Reform, evidence that this immigration crisis has been going on for far too long.


According to the June 8, 1995, New York Times, the commission report was released and enthusiastically supported by President Clinton, although it’s no surprise that special interest groups soon reared their ugly heads and opposed the recommendations.


Interestingly, the recommendations, with a few possible exceptions, make great sense today, just as they did then. How sad they were never implemented, and that Texas Gov. Rick Perry, finally gave up and sent state troops to protect his border, in the absence of federal action.


How sad that individuals in California needed to stage a protest to prevent illegal immigrant children from being sent to their town. How sad that our sheriff needs to go to Texas to work on a problem that could have been solved long ago.


President Bill Clinton’s Commission, chaired by black female Democrat Barbara Jordan, recommended the following:


·       Increase border management.


·       Ban employment of illegals, and implement worksite enforcement.


·       Create a more consistent benefits policy.


·       Develop cooperative efforts with source countries.


·       Eliminate amnesty, and increase capacity to remove deportable aliens.


·       Reduce legal immigration from 830,000 to 550,000.


·       Favor skills rather than family ties in choosing immigrants, except for spouses and minor children.


·       Pay more attention to integration, not just entry. Emphasize Americanization of immigrants. Prevent naturalization becoming a path to welfare.


“E Pluribus Unum:” “From Many, One.” Americanization means that legal immigrants should come here intending to be Americans, which includes speaking English, and blending into the society they have joined. It’s perfectly okay that their skills and abilities to contribute to American society be considered. Barbara Jordan spoke of “a shared commitment to the American values of liberty, democracy and equal opportunity,” not a path to entitlement.


Immigration decisions must be devoid of discrimination based on race, religion or gender. Numbers decisions must be made based on actual economic and societal impact.


Aside from this, what’s so difficult?


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