|Image by Andrew David Cox|
However, we cannot begin to start trying to figure out where the system breaks down until we begin enforcing the laws as they are currently written, to their full extent.
If those in power do insist on tackling the issue of immigration reform before beginning with enforcement, then there is one place to start that would make me look much closer at supporting any law.
Right now, the fourteenth amendment grants citizenship rights to "all persons born ... in the United States..." When we had vast open tracts of land that were unsettled according to European definition1, then this made sense. However, the land is entirely owned now. There are no broad tracts of land to settle. In addition, people are deliberately coming in and having "anchor babies," who are considered to be fully born citizens of this country. Then the parents make us out to be monsters: we want to keep the child, but deport the parents.
Now, the wording or understanding of it, needs to be changed. I don't care if you were born here to illegal children. If one of your parents is not a citizen then, you have to go through the naturalization process to become a citizen. If you are the child of a pair of illegal immigrants then, you should be deported with the others. If you have been here long enough to become "Americanized" then take the best parts of our culture home with you and try to change your culture. After all, we want to spread "freedom and democracy" around the world, right? So, let them do it. If they feel that they can't change their culture then, they can attempt to come back legally.
As for those saying: "'If we don't let these people stay then we will not have the labor needed to
People say that those coming here work hard, and they want to give a better life to their children. For many, that is true, and I cannot say that I would not do the same if I were living in another country. On the other hand, I have more respect for those who remain in their countries. Those who see a problem, and instead of running away argue and support change and reform in their country to benefit not only themselves and their family, but their entire nation.
Obama's plan is passable, but it does not cover all the steps needed to ensure that we don't have this problem again.
1. Change the 14th amendment, one parent must be an American citizen.
2. Allow more legal immigrants through faster.
3. Enforce the rules that we already have on the books.
1: the idea of the Native American vs. European ownership is a debate outside the scope of this essay.