Let's not have a path to citizenship for illegal aliens
In recent days, I've been happy to read that Biden's Budget Busting Bill may be on its last gasp if not completely dead in the water. That's because section 60001 of H.R. 5376 grants lawfully admitted permanent resident (LPR) status to the DREAMers. They are essentially illegals brought here as children who have done relatively well since then.
I understand the "compassionate" argument, that they did not choose to come here and they've done the best they can. However, many, if not most, of them have engaged in federal felony identity theft. To enroll in school, obtain employment, get a bank account, and have credit cards, they would have needed to provide a Social Security number. Given that they have no legal access to their own SSN, they used someone else's. That's a crime, and it was a deliberate one.
Professor Jan Ting, a Board member over at the Center for Immigration Studies, has written an exquisite piece about the absolute harm this identity fraud has caused Americans and how the Obama administration quietly made it immeasurably worse by prioritizing illegals over citizens, thereby drastically increasing the risk that citizens would not receive their Social Security benefits.
The same perspective applies to all other pending legislation attempting to normalize the status of illegal aliens in the United States.
Though I believe that enforcement should come before legalization efforts and was thoroughly disgusted decades ago working in the environment created by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, I am not entirely opposed to amnesty programs. Sometimes, it just makes sense.
However, the benefits of citizenship should never accrue to those who applied for temporary visas claiming they were coming for a limited time and then never left — the bulk of illegals currently in the country. Nor to those who were never lawfully admitted to this country in the first place.
Despite the Biden administration's actions to the contrary, America is a country where the rule of law prevails. By and large, it's what makes us great, and such a magnet for dissatisfied souls across the globe. Our stability is the foundation of our prosperity.
Image: Illegal aliens near Yuma, Arizona, 2019. Public domain.
Future participants in any immigration amnesty or legalization program, if successful, should be granted only conditional permanent residency. The first condition must be that any criminal activity would be grounds for deportation. They should be required to obtain and hold a valid passport from the country of their nationality. Their children would have lawful permanent resident status upon birth, with the option to apply for naturalization upon reaching the age of 21.
They should be required to 'fess up to all aliases and SSNs used so that corrections can be made to the records of American citizens harmed by their fraud. Also, so that their own contributions to Social Security and Medicare can be rightfully credited to them rather than to another.
After application under an amnesty program, illegal aliens should go to the back of the line of those currently waiting for appointments for legal immigration. Trying to jump the line for immigration benefits should receive the same blowback as trying to jump the line for festival seats at a concert, or to buy a NextGen videogame. Not gonna happen! These applicants can be processed and their status adjusted after those patiently waiting ahead of them have had their turn.
What benefits would they lose? For starters, they would not be able to vote in national elections or hold elected office. They would not be able to file immigration petitions for their parents, siblings, or adult children. They would not be eligible for a security clearance of any significance and thus be ineligible for hire into many federal jobs. No traveling on a United States passport and no claiming American citizenship as a point of pride.
Not a bad exchange for not being deported and permanently barred from re-entry into the United States. DHS's Office of Immigration Statistics estimates there are 13,590,000 LPRs, of whom 9,130,000 are eligible to naturalize but have not done so. Amnestied/legalized illegal aliens would simply be joining these folks. The opportunity to live in a land of peace, opportunity, prosperity, and inalienable civil rights more than compensates for any loss encapsulated in a permanent ineligibility to naturalize.
Again, as with my article opposing birthright citizenship, Republicans in Congress need to get busy and introduce new legislation that states as simply as possible that amnestied/legalized aliens will be granted a conditional lawful admission status with no eligibility to naturalize. I believe that this would diffuse some of the tension in our society brought about by Biden's wide-open borders.
Anony Mee is the nom de blog of a retired public servant.