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By Sal Osio, JD
From the Publisher's Corner
Mi Punto de Vista
Immigration Reform – The Reality & The Solution
By Sal Osio, JD, Publisher

 The principal stumbling block to comprehensive immigration reform necessary to resolve the problem facing us - an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in our country - is the inclusion of an amnesty provision that includes a path to citizenship. Republicans, both conservative and moderate, including a significant number of Independents, are concerned that a path to citizenship is a reward for illegal entry and a subterfuge of our immigration laws that provide a legitimate path to applicants who abide by the law. Further, Republicans fear that the incorporation of potentially millions of new voters with a clear preference for the Democratic Party is political suicide.

 These are legitimate concerns. Clearly we must acknowledge these concerns and find a middle of the road solution that equitably deals with the challenge of addressing this issue.

 If we view the undocumented immigrants as economic exiles who came to this country as a result of dire economic depravation in their home country, including the displacement of millions of small farmers as a result of the NAFTA provision allowing the export of grain products into Mexico, and a desire to better their lot; and, if we also acknowledge that their participation in our work force was a de facto invitation by employers seeking low cost labor primarily in our agricultural, construction and service sectors, that benefitted the U.S. consumer and aided our competitiveness, so as to place the blame for illegal immigration between Mexico and the U.S. and our private sector, then we have the basis for finding a solution.

 First we must separate the illegal immigrants into the adults who came to work illegally and their children who were entirely innocent of ‘the sins of their fathers.’ The latter who settled in our communities and attended our schools have embraced the American way of life and our institutions. They should not be sanctioned.  In fact, they are as American as the rest of our youth with the exception that they were not born here. To them citizenship is not a ‘reward.’  It is a just and equitable recognition of our reality. The ‘Dream Act’ is only a partial recognition of this reality. All minors, below the age of 21, should be accorded citizenship. It is to our self interest to do so, particularly since they are a valuable human resource to our country that needs their participation in our economy and aging society.

 In our online publication, Hispanic Vista has offered many policies for consideration in the resolution of this issue and has dissected the causes underlying this labor dynamic. Herein, as a Hispanic American voice, we offer in summary a proposed resolution: 

  • All persons who were minors, below the age of 21, who entered our country with their parents, illegally, and who have attended school in this country, served in the military or have been gainfully employed since their entry, paying taxes, and have not been convicted of a felonious crime, should be accorded citizenship upon application and determination of their bona fides.
  • All adults who entered the U.S. illegally, who have been gainfully employed, paid taxes and have not been convicted of a felonious crime, should be accorded residency, without a -path to citizenship. Legitimizing their stay and allowing them to come out of the shadows, albeit without the right to hold political office, vote or benefit from programs restricted to citizens, is a just and equitable resolution that also benefits our society.
  • Adopt an import labor program for the benefit of our agricultural sector that provides for seasonal and temporary work by foreigners, with appropriate restriction to avoid abuses and assure the return of their laborers to their home country.
  • Enforce our laws prohibiting hiring of illegal workers. Also, make it possible for illegal workers to blow the whistle and collect from their employers treble the wages they received and the cost of returning to their homeland.
  • Share the cost of policing our borders with our neighbors by assessing a ‘fee’ for each illegal entry.
 The above are common sense, just and equitable, recommendations. However, in the final analysis it is up to Congress to come together as Americans, in a non-partisan spirit of cooperation, free of the political self interest that has paralyzed our Nation, to resolve the immigration problem by providing comprehensive reform.
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Sal Osio is the Publisher of HispanicVista.com. Contact at sposio@aol.com