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Az universities and colleges react to DACA

Universities and colleges across Arizona sent statements to reassure their students.... Read more»

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Sep 11, 2017, 8:53 am
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In June of 2012, President Barack Obama used executive authority to implement an immigration policy called “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (more commonly referred to as “DACA”), which established a path for permitting illegal immigrants who had entered the United States as minors to receive a deferment from deportation and become eligible to remain in America and receive a work permit.
The intentions of DACA were good and compassionate. Nearly 2 million young people whose parents brought them to America illegally through no fault of their own might have been able to secure a foothold in the only country many if not most of them have ever called home. Nearly 900,000 people applied for DACA status, and nearly 90% of applicants were approved. About half of them live in California and Texas. Double that number might have ultimately applied, but in 2015 twenty-six states pushed for and received an injunction against further implementation, and a divided United States Supreme Court permitted the injunction to remain in effect on a 4-4 vote.
How important is a single Supreme Court Justice? Had President Obama been successful in seating Justice Merrick Garland, the injunction might have been overturned on a 5-4 vote. Had President Trump’s successful nominee, Neil Gorsuch, already been seated, the injunction would likely have been formally upheld by the same margin.
Immigration has long been a key component of American prosperity. The nation has been immeasurably blessed by the contributions of immigrants from all over the world who have brought their respective cultures’ agriculture, art, foods, music, and science, perpetually adding new flavors to the melting pot which, when coupled with economic freedom, imagination, and sweat have made America the shining city on a hill which President Ronald Reagan frequently described.
It is often argued, and rightfully so, that millions of immigrants enter America illegally because they are willing to risk everything to provide a better life for themselves and their children. Many come from countries with oppressive and corrupt governments, where civil wars are in process, where drug cartels and gangs murder thousands upon thousands of people, and where poverty is the norm. My mother risked her life to escape Communism in the 1950’s, and ultimately was able to secure a visa to start a new life in America. My father and his family likewise left behind war-torn Europe and immigrated to the United States. When I think of those whose present-day is every bit the horror of my parents’ youth, I am filled with compassion for them and want for them to have opportunities for themselves and their children which my family was blessed to receive.

Sep 11, 2017, 8:54 am
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Unfortunately the dominant political parties of the United States have utterly failed to collaborate on a comprehensive immigration policy which enables people live openly in the light of day without fear of apprehension, deportation, and separation of families. Ironically there are many facets of immigration which the parties could align on if not for the very serious and substantive issues which constantly separate them and make meaningful reform so challenging. Further complicating matters is the petty name-calling and demonization of those with differing views which make it difficult to sit across the table in good faith to compromise.
It is because of this toxic political environment wherein the problems keep getting kicked down the road that presidents become tempted to wield executive authority for band-aid solutions. The clear problem with these band-aid solutions is that they tend to force one side’s position down the entire nation’s throat, which adds further toxicity to the divide and increases the likelihood that the executive action will be just as readily tossed aside by the stroke of a successor’s pen, leaving countless people in legal limbo and further dividing the nation.
The only meaningful and long-term solution to the problem remains the one enshrined in the Constitution of the United States, whereby the House and Senate come to terms on legislation which is then signed into law by the President of the United States. This is something which every child of my generation learned while watching Schoolhouse Rock during our Saturday morning cartoons. Watching our Congress and our presidents in action makes one wonder if they didn’t have television in their homes growing up.
For the younger folks, here’s a link to the original “I’m Just A Bill” cartoon from 1973.
Saturday Night Live did a spoof of the cartoon with regard to DACA in 2014.
So what are some of the issues which make it so difficult for the major American political parties to align on immigration? In no particular order:
Employment. During periods of higher unemployment there is always a concern that increased immigration will make it harder for existing citizens and legal residents to find work. It can also suppress wages, not just in manual labor jobs where low-skilled but hard-working immigrants will accept lower wages for the same tasks, but even in the tech sector where highly educated immigrants can compete with American-educated peers. How one balances the desire to increase immigration while preventing wages from stagnating or collapsing is complex and not subject to ready agreement among legislators.
Rule of Law. America’s major parties differ on the importance of the rule of law in regulating immigration. Competing concerns over compassion versus the message it sends the world when we do not enforce our immigration laws are not easily overcome.

Sep 11, 2017, 8:58 am
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National Security. America was forever transformed on September 11, 2001. A somewhat porous southern border wasnt the end of the world before then, even if it was a political football of sorts. Now with ever heightening concern over international terrorism, America needs to do something to enable fluid border crossings while protecting the nation against those who would exploit our generosity and weaknesses to do us harm.
Cost of Social Services. This is truly one of the greatest complications to the entire immigration issue. Americas National Debt is fast approaching 20 TRILLION dollars! Its one thing if new immigrants are completely self-supporting and do not add to the ever expanding cost and scope of social services. Its another if the majority of immigrants are immediately added to the welfare rolls.
Integration. There was a time when immigrants from around the world arrived on Americas shores and almost immediately bled red, white, and blue. Regardless of national origin, they rallied behind the flag of their newly adopted home country. They worked hard to master the English language if it was not their native tongue. They raised their children to love America and to appreciate the blessings of living here. The last thing on their minds was transforming America into the nations they had chosen to leave behind. While this is still true of a great many immigrants in the 21st century, it is no longer universally true. And concern over integration plays a role in shaping peoples views and concerns about immigration.
Politics. When one combines all of the above, politicians of the respective parties cant help but look out for their own personal self-interest in terms of their individual careers as well as the self-interest of the parties themselves. Speaking broadly, Democrats see political value in admitting large numbers of poor immigrants who become immediate dependents of the state and subsequent lifetime Democrat voters to keep the gravy train coming. Many Democrats may not appreciate phrasing it just that way, reasonably arguing that their views are far more complex and nuanced than that, but one must admit that that is roughly the quick perception Americans have of it. Speaking broadly, Republicans see political value in curbing large numbers of poor immigrants for the exact same political reasons. Likewise they may argue that their views are far more complex and nuanced than that, but it is nevertheless the general publics perception of things.

Sep 11, 2017, 8:59 am
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In the meantime there are millions of people living in utter uncertainty about their future, fearful that the slightest turn of fate may have them on the next plane, train, or bus to their country of origin regardless of family and safety considerations. Americafs politicians owe our citizens a comprehensive legal policy to address this festering situation in a manner which respects valid citizensf concerns while extending the hand of compassion to those who seek to join us in the continuation of the grand American experiment in democracy. DACA is not the answer because it rejects constitutional principles of establishing law and holds the valid concerns of many American citizens in contempt. Americans rejected the decrees of kings more than 240 years ago, and we should continue to do so today. Only through the actions of a united Congress and the signature of a president can we honor our democracy and provide meaningful, substantive reform which is widely accepted as credible and not subject to the whims of successive executive orders.
So, what exactly should Congress do?
Having agreed upon the fact that America must do something to solve its immigration problems, the major parties need to decide upon priorities and areas of compromise.
1.  Do we want more immigration with less social services, or do we want less immigration while retaining existing social services? We need to make a decision on this. If it were up to me, Ifd go with virtually unlimited legal travel into the United States (not necessarily as a path to citizenship, but simply permitting entry) coupled with an elimination of social benefits. It costs us nothing for people to come, and if they spend money while theyfre here, so much the better.
2.  Millions of undocumented residents really donft want nor need a path to permanent residency or citizenship. Not all of them are fleeing civil war and other mayhem. Some just simply want a job to take care of their families, and they make a lot of sacrifices to do so. A robust guest or seasonal worker program would enable primarily (though not necessarily exclusively) citizens of Latin American countries to work on farms and provide other forms of labor which they are already doing and which frankly most Americans are too soft and unwilling to do while traveling freely between the US and their home countries. Such would go a long way to solve much of the issues at hand. In crafting such legislation, Congress would want to consider how to address tax issues and perhaps establish limited social benefits to accompany that. Part of a compromise on making travel to the US easy for seasonal labor might include taking a fresh look at the question of birthright citizenship.

Sep 11, 2017, 9:06 am
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3.  Offer an eventual path to citizenship for those who keep their noses clean, even if they did not initially enter the United States legally. To prevent it from becoming too partisan, let that path take a decade or more (so the politicians enacting legislation are not the immediate beneficiaries of votes) during which time people desiring citizenship can become competent in the English language and become educated in our history and institutions.
4.  Deport anyone convicted of a felony or violent crime of any kind, with no future possibility of obtaining a work permit, travel visa, or citizenship. No spouse or child abuse. No drunk or other impaired driving.
5.  Grant citizenship to anyone completing an honorable enlistment in the United States military, as well as their spouses and children.
Immigration is a great blessing to America. We are all enriched and inspired by those who continue to grab hold of the American dream and add brightness of color to the fabric of our national diversity. Flimsy band-aid solutions may have their flash appeal to those who grow weary of government inaction, especially for those who would like to see Congress simply put the stamp of approval on an executive order, but I believe the best way to champion true, meaningful, and lasting immigration reform is to go back to the basics of Schoolhouse Rock.
Congress, collaborate on legislation where you all get something and lose something, resulting in an acceptable compromise which satisfies a strong majority of our citizens and helps foster a new generation of future Americans who will love our country just as the millions upon millions who arrived before them. Its the least you can do. If you cant, then resign and make room for those who will.

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The University of Arizona released a statement, saying in part “it is our goal to make education accessible to all students and lifelong learners”.


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