Welcome to America (here are the rules)

As shocking as this may be, I am not a Trump fan. But this post goes to show how, if you look hard enough, you can find commonalities where you least expect them.

The debate over ICEhow, or even if, we should deal with illegal immigrants seems academic. Call them what you will-undocumented, illegal, or otherwise-they are breaking the law.

Mr. Trump’s focus may be inarticulate and mean-spirited, but it is not wrong.

Now nothing is ever black and white. Individual circumstances call for careful consideration.  An eighteen-year-old high school graduate heading off to college, but here illegally because of her parents’ choice to break the law, should not be unilaterally tossed out.

I have no sympathy if this same graduate’s parents have been here for fifteen years, yet made no effort to become citizens.

What sparked this is an interview I read of a twenty-five or thirty-year-old woman, brought her illegally as an infant who said she wants to stay here to support her family in her homeland, but does not want to become a citizen.

Whoa, there Nelly. That’s not how America works.

This country guarantees opportunity, not success. We offer a pathway to citizenship, not a shortcut to enjoying the benefits without taking part. It’s like saying I want to play for a World Championship baseball team (let’s use the New York Yankees as a neutral example) but not go to practice or be in the game. I just want the salary.

If the problem with the law is it prevents one from applying for citizenship because of how you came here, we can work with that.

How about this as a compromise?  Regardless of how you got here, everyone can apply for citizenship. If you have no criminal record, we’ll overlook your entry in exchange for your making the effort at joining the team as a fully participating member.

We’ll issue you a provisional driver’s license good for five years. At the end of five years, if you’ve did not achieve citizenship, then out you go.  If within the five years, you achieve citizenship we’ll extend the license and classify you as a provisional citizen for another five years.

Maintain the peace, obey the laws, pay your taxes, take part in our society and at the end of the five-year period, your citizenship becomes irrevocable.

The only way to do this is to put teeth into enforcing immigration laws, tie federal aid to cities and towns to ensure their cooperation (including accepting the amnesty of the five-year grace period for reaching citizenship), severely penalize companies that hire individuals not taking part in the path to citizenship program, and tighten the borders.

The solution to strengthen the borders is to listen to the ICE officers who’ve been dealing with the issue for decades, not some idiotic unworkable campaign promise.

Even amid diametrically opposed philosophies, compromise through rational discussion is possible. The ingenuity, determination, and courage of what many illegal immigrants go through to get here may be an untapped resource. An opportunity not to be squandered.

As Americans, we offer an opportunity to enjoy our freedom but expect you to bear the same burden to ensure it survives.

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