President Obama Touts Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Rash decisions are not usually a good thing, especially when you’re dealing with a problem that involves the lives of roughly 11 million illegal immigrants and over 300 million Americans.  Immigration reform is no exception to that rule.

Despite the fact that we’ve been “avoiding the problem for years,” including the past four years, President Obama has decided that “the time has come to fix it once and for all.”  What the President is actually encouraging is a poorly thought out “comprehensive” bill designed by the Senate’s “Gang of Eight.”

According to Mr. Obama, their final product will obviously be “sensible immigration reform.”  Of course, President Obama may have an incentive to facilitate a so-called “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants.  He won more than 70 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2012.

Some lawmakers on the political Right believe they can cut into that depressing margin of victory, which is why they have “signaled they would back immigration reform, including measures to provide a pathway to citizenship.”

But is a “pathway to citizenship” the best solution in a country that is so successful in large part because of our respect for the rule of law?  Is it fair to the 757,434 who became citizens, through the current legal pathway to citizenship, in 2012 alone?

Rather than rushing into more comprehensive legislation, the likes of which have failed us in the past, lawmakers and the President should look learn from the past and try a different approach.

The President can take a history lesson from Heritage’s Edwin J. Feulner:

A bipartisan effort is under way to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, improve border security and provide a path to citizenship for those here illegally. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Those of us who have been in Washington for a while certainly have. The plan announced recently by a group of senators dubbed the “Gang of Eight” may be touted as a new and novel approach. But it sounds eerily familiar to the one enacted in 1986.

At that time, greater border security and better enforcement of our laws governing immigration was promised in exchange for granting citizenship to illegal immigrants.

The 1986 law called for ramped-up enforcement of immigration laws and pledged better control of the flow of those here illegally. In return, the nearly 3 million illegal immigrants present in the country at the time received amnesty.

It didn’t quite work out that way, however. While the citizenship part came through all right, the security and enforcement part failed to materialize. Today, there are more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

He adds:

We don’t need any more “comprehensive” approaches that result in bills so long no lawmaker actually reads them. Fixing our immigration system requires a more thoughtful, step-by-step process, one that tackles each problem in turn.

When it comes to immigration, we need a system that welcomes immigrants, protects our sovereignty, encourages assimilation and expands opportunities for everyone. It will take time and effort to make sure that happens. A huge, catch-all bill won’t do the job.

In fact, as we’ve seen from past “comprehensive” efforts, it can make it worse. It’s time to slow down — and get it right.

Today, President Obama also said, “Everyone pretty much knows what’s broken, everyone knows how to fix it.”  That’s a bold assertion.  If he is suggesting that a comprehensive bill is the way to “fix it,” he obviously did not pay attention in history class.  Americans will be in for a rude awakening if their lawmakers pass another comprehensive bill that will fail to fix the problem yet again. 

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