8 Years Isn't Enough

02.20.13

Lengthen the Path to Citizenship

I made my Bloggingheads debut yesterday, talking a few pet topics: immigration, the filibuster, and the future of the GOP. I'll have more on the latter two in the near future, but for now a few brief thoughts on immigration reform.

As Jamelle and I discuss in the above clip, the argument shouldn't be whether or not the current illegal immigrants receive citizenship. If we pass immigration reform, granting legal status to the 12 million(ish) illegal immigrants in the country, it would be a huge mistake not to have a path to citizenship.

A major reason for immigration reform is to enhance social cohesion: allowing illegal residents access to police and other services, moving illegal labor to the tax rolls, and giving a political voice to a part of society politicians could otherwise ignore.

And the last part is why citizenship is so important. But it's also why I oppose the short eight years that the current reforms would require for citizenship. Jamelle calls the act of crossing the border a minor deal, akin to a traffic citation.

That's his opinion, but it's not one I share. I don't doubt the bravery required to come to the United States illegally - and on a personal level, kudos to those willing to take the risk - but that choice is illegal.

And eight years of waiting is not long enough.