Our View: Now is time for immigration solutions

Feb. 03, 2013 @ 01:38 AM

It’s often said that we are a nation mostly of immigrants. So it makes sense that the United States should have clear immigration rules and policies — and should enforce them.
The U.S. does have rules and policies regarding immigration. But the enforcement part is where the federal government has, at times, seen lapses. And that is why we are where we are now.
Today, an estimated 11 million illegal aliens populate the country. The number surely was more before the recent years of recession hit. When jobs went away, so did some of the illegals who were working them, but still millions of illegals remain.
Last week, President Obama said it’s time to solve the nation’s immigration problems. He’s right. During the 1980s under President Reagan, amnesty was extended to 3 million or so illegals, mostly Hispanic, who had come to America over the years and lived outside the law. But because the nation’s borders were not secured in the nearly 30 years since then, here we are today with millions of illegals again living among us.
The president’s proposal, general in nature, calls for legislation establishing a clear pathway to citizenship for illegals while tightening border security to stem the flow of illegals. It also calls for cracking down on businesses that hire illegals. In general, the plan sounds like a reasonable approach to addressing this decades-long and at times contentious matter. Really, just how much sense does it make to round up 11 million illegals and deport them?
As they say, the devil’s in the details, and we expect folks in Congress to have plenty of devilish words to say on it. But whatever specifics eventually may be decided upon if a pathway to citizenship is established, the solution to immigration problems must begin with a strong security component.
For far too long, the nation’s borders, especially the southern border with Mexico, have been porous. And the security concern is not so much the good people who came here simply looking for a better life as it is the chance criminals and terrorists could so easily enter the U.S. According to government reports, only one sector of the nine-sector southwestern border has reported that it is at what’s called full operational security. That is unacceptable for a nation that is the target of suicidal terrorists.
Some will say Obama is addressing immigration policy because it’s a big issue among Hispanics who gave him his Democratic Party strong support at the polls in November. Sure, that could be part of his motivation. But the president is correct: “Now, is the time.”