It's time Washington acts on immigration - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

It's time Washington acts on immigration

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Posted: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 11:37 am

The so-called "immigration" issue is really a metaphor, a proxy for power plays by various factions where problem solving is the least of the concerns.

The civic-minded public, who want pragmatic solutions, is led down a path that seems complex, like ideological quicksand, and where everyone is betwixt and between. Actually, it's not that complicated.

In shorthand, here's what needs to be done: (1) legalize illegals, (2) wage fines on the surreptitious entry or require community service, (3) a prescription for a new policy is contained in Darrell M. West's book, "Brain Gain: Rethinking Immigration Policy," (4) negotiate with Mexico and Canada for a new type of North American cross-border security, and (5) North Americanize by allowing law-abiding people freedom of movement around their continent but that does not mean transferring citizenship.

Any three of the five recommendations above gets the country moving again and there is no need for acrimony nor anyone having the screaming memes.

By making these values clear, the logjam is broken that political beavers erected to sustain an untenable status quo.

Most important is that what's at issue is not "immigration" but breaking up a whole lifestyle of bogus leadership, where one issue after another is stolen from the public. Individual citizens have been role-played into virtually needing a Ph.D. simply to have an informed opinion on this matter. Meanwhile, those responsible for coming up with solutions have the Library of Congress and other research services at their disposal to make informed decisions.

Surely it's obvious by now something is very wrong and much of the public is being conned in this.

The proof of that became evident right after the Justice Department filed suit to halt the Arizona law that usurps federal authority and allows edgy discretions of its agents to infringe or verge on civil rights violations. You would think the Libertarians and the Tea Partiers would have been all over this intrusion and breach of personal rights. But they are not and the hypocrisy exposes the ideological charade that the "issues" are really about some people's rights and not about all people's rights.

Why have the Libertarians and the Tea Partiers not weighed in against the Arizona law? Well, you know the answer.

On the left side of the page are those who run for cover at the first sign of public opposition or heat. That political class simply wants leverage for future elections, to exploit the problem and profile themselves as answer-givers, which looks now more and more like an extortion racket.

As the first of seven lawsuits was heard on July 15, a July 6 TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence poll seemed to have a lot of sway on general opinion. It showed that 51 percent of Americans support Arizona's law.

But that contrasts with an ABC News-Washington Post poll in June showing that 57 percent support giving illegal immigrants the right "to live here legally if they pay a fine and meet other requirements."

Drew Westen and Celinda Lake researched the contradictory information--conducted in conjunction with the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies and sponsored by America's Voice. They found that 84 percent of people who support the Arizona law also support comprehensive immigration reform. Moreover, voters overwhelmingly want a national solution carried out by the federal government rather than state-by-state measures.

Frank Sharry, America's Voice's director, observed, the Arizona law is popular not because it is anti-immigrant but because the public is "in an anti-Washington mood." Immigration is a stand in, a metaphor, for slow or no response to a public priority.

It's not the first time that immigration is held hostage. Here's one time when the solution is easy. Getting off the question and doing something by policy-makers is what's hard.

Instead of talking any more about immigration reform, isn't it time to demand that Washington reform immigration.

Jose de la Isla writes a weekly commentary for Hispanic Link News Service. E-mail him at

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