- Associated Press - Monday, September 1, 2014

Kearney Hub. Aug. 29, 2014.

Lawmakers are ignoring immigration realities

The problem with U.S. immigration policy is that it makes legal entry into the country so expensive, time-consuming and risky that instead of entering through the front door, foreigners are sneaking in through the back door - illegally.

For whatever reason, U.S. lawmakers cannot recognize this fact. They know there is an abundance of low-skill jobs Americans are unwilling to perform that is a magnet for illegal immigrants, but ignorance and prejudice seem to guide policy from that point. For example, many of the jobs that lure illegal immigrants are year-round, such as packing plant jobs, but our current policy provides only for seasonal workers to enter legally.

Why do we ignore the year-round needs?

Another often ignored fact is that many young people come here from foreign lands to study math, science and engineering. They prepare for careers as scientists, researchers and engineers, but our immigration policy is slanted against them. They must first obtain visas and then hope that good fortune might hand them the opportunity to eventually become citizens.

But why wait for the United States when other nations, including Canada and Germany, allow easy legal entry for highly skilled and educated foreigners?

Why do we educate foreign students, but then sustain a policy that shoos them away to competing industrial nations?

Ignoring the need for scientists, researchers and engineers as well as for year-round laborers is a fatal economic mistake. Resolving those problems and others is in the interests of our nation, yet federal lawmakers are doing nothing. Why? If logic isn’t guiding their actions, then something else is. Could it be prejudice?

There’s a third fact that lawmakers standing in the way of reform don’t seem to grasp, and that is the likelihood that all of those foreigners they chose to deny could eventually become legal, despite the legislative obstructions.

One avenue is through executive action. President Obama exercised his powers in 2012 by granting temporary legal status to children brought into the country illegally by their parents.

Some observers believe that in a few weeks Obama will issue yet another executive order that will legalize up to 4 million illegal aliens.

Only Congress can grant a path to citizenship and the right to vote, so obstructionists might not face immediate peril at the polls. However, U.S. demographics are constantly shifting and gradually, many congressional districts are losing their white majority. How soon will it be before the diverse blend of voters that results will turn against the obstructionists?

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Lincoln Journal Star. Aug. 30, 2014.

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