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A Republican stance on immigration

| Thursday, March 6, 2014

It’s not often Republicans can speak about immigration reform without being called racist or anti-immigrant, but recently, House Republicans laid out their ideals of what immigration reform should look like, and in honor of the immigration programming on campus this week, I will make you all informed as to our position.

That’s right, even Republicans are in favor of reforming the nation’s broken immigration system. Our priorities are actually fairly similar to the Democratic Party except for a few key areas. For Republicans, we acknowledge the source of the problem must be addressed first. That is why our main priority is border security.

With over 12 million illegal aliens having been able to gain entry through our country’s borders, the problem is both serious and neglected. There is currently no effective way to track people over-staying their visas after gaining lawful entry into the country, and many areas of our physical border allow for easy crossing into the U.S. It would be useless to address the issue of the 12 million illegal aliens already here if the border was still weak and making it possible for that large number to grow. Greater security along our physical border coupled with a more effective entry-exit tracking system will help solve the original problem of inflow and allow for a shift in effort.

The Republican Party also acknowledges the blatant need to address those already here, and for that we offer a practical plan. Amnesty would be sending the wrong message and would be a slap in the face to those lawfully waiting in line, like many of our ancestors did years ago. We Republicans emphasize a need for those illegal aliens already residing in our country to become current on their back-taxes and prove that they are able to support themselves. Those illegal immigrants who are currently working, or display a willingness to serve the United States in the armed forces, will be given priority when it comes to granting residency.

It is also necessary to improve employment verification and workplace enforcement programs to ensure that legal residents of the United States are the ones being hired and that taxes are being rightfully paid. The current bi-partisan immigration bill includes statutes for a long-term residency program to grant those here illegally who are also contributing to our economy the opportunity to become legal residents, and eventually apply for citizenship. The key point here is that illegal aliens are not given time priority over those waiting to immigrate to the United States legally.

Another key point is zero tolerance for those who took advantage of other laws while in the U.S. illegally, and that is why it is necessary to deport those with felony records or warrants as well as those with multiple misdemeanor offenses. Both Republicans and Democrats also agree that children who are brought here illegally by their parents should not suffer and should have the opportunity to become legal in the United States if they receive a college degree or join the military.

Republicans ultimately dropped the Dream Act, originally a large part of the Democratic plan for immigration reform, because of its provision to grant federal financial aid to those illegal immigrant youth. The majority who were opposed to the Dream Act held their position because U.S. tax dollars would go to provide this financial aid when most sources agree that nearly 60 percent of illegal aliens pay no federal income tax.

Another part of the Dream Act that draws criticism is the age where the law drew the line for near-amnesty. It cited that children who illegally immigrated here under the age of 16 would be eligible. This creates another double standard when the legal age of reason in the U.S. is widely legally accepted to be seven years old, and many U.S. citizens can be legally charged for felonies as adults at ages much younger than 16.

In conclusion, Republicans care a great deal about immigration reform and are not just hell-bent on sending everyone back where they came from. Real reform will come from both sides and through cooperation.

Mark Gianfalla is a junior studying finance and a resident of Morrissey Manor.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not
necessarily those of The Observer.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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