Former Attorney General Gonzales (Dean/Belmont Univ. College of Law) and immigration lawyer Strange propose a bipartisan approach to resolving the current impasse regarding illegal immigration.
Reviewing the complexity of current law—e.g., quotas based on family and employment status and country of origin—the authors reject proposals for “instant citizenship for the majority of the millions of undocumented immigrants” on the one hand and their across-the-board removal on the other. Furthermore, any piecemeal approach is bound to fail, they write; it is necessary to put everything on the table in order to achieve a workable political compromise between the different stakeholders. “For example,” write the authors, “a hardliner on border security may be willing to support a pathway to lawful status for children brought here unlawfully by their parents if he sees an effective plan to provide more resources to the border.” The authors advocate for an overhaul of the Immigration and Nationality Act and a revision of the visa system. Gonzales and Strange propose the establishment of a third avenue between deportation and citizenship that would provide presently undocumented immigrants permanent residence, providing they do not owe back taxes and do not have criminal records. The authors would also allow young people brought here illegally by their parents the opportunity to achieve a high school diploma. Support for those who wish to pursue a college education or enroll in the military should be available. Underlying such practical considerations is the recognition that most immigrants come to America in the hope of achieving a better life for themselves and their families rather than a desire to flout the law.
Though unlikely to interest general readers, this is a valuable reminder of the role of immigrants in creating the economic and cultural strength of America and a practical guidebook that provides a basis for a comprehensive “national dialogue.”