US Senator Marco Rubio has written this op-ed for La Opinion. The op-ed was originally written in Spanish, and I have used a “translate” option in order to post this here. So, you will have to excuse what appear to be errors, blame it on the software translation.
As a nation founded, built and made exceptional by immigrants and their descendants, Americans have a special appreciation for how important immigration has been throughout our history and recognize it as an indispensable part of our future.
In return, Americans have been welcoming of immigrants than any other nation. With more than 1 million people coming here legally every year to stay permanently, no other country even comes close.
Unfortunately, our immigration system is broken, and our dysfunctional Congress has been unable to launch a new legal immigration system that honors our heritage as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.
To accomplish this, we need to address three key areas: modernizing the legal immigration system, implementing real and effective mechanisms of enforcement, and create a human process and responsible for dealing with the 11 million undocumented immigrants, a process not be unfair to those who are waiting to get on the right track and that it encourages illegal immigration in the future.
First, we need a modern legal immigration system with implementation and enforcement of the law, which is based on cutting-edge technology to simplify the process to come and stay here legally. We need a guest worker program that allows us to bring agricultural workers both temporary and long-term to provide our farms, dairies, and other agricultural industries the number of workers needed.
Also we can not have a system that allows only get about 6.5 percent of our immigrants based on knowledge. We need visa programs to attract and retain more entrepreneurs, investors and highly skilled in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It makes no sense to educate and train these talented individuals in our universities and then send them back to their countries.
None of this should lead us to abandon or weaken immigration based on family. This is how my parents came legally to the United States, and as a lot of new Americans join our society every year.Family unification should remain a high priority, together with interest and economic needs of the nation.
If we fail to do this with the modernization of our immigration system, then no matter what we do with those who are here now, we will be back with millions of undocumented people in the future.
In addition to modernizing our legal immigration system, a second major area of focus is to improve our ability to enforce our laws. In no nation on earth should be expected to ignore immigration laws, and we can not ignore. We achieve substantial progress for operational control of our borders, create an effective mechanism of enforcement in the workplace and find a way to ensure that visitors to our nation out of our country when they are supposed to do .
The third key area is not easy, how to treat undocumented immigrants already here. Like most Americans, I am concerned that we have millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States.
For those who have committed serious crimes in the United States, should be found, arrested and deported.
But most people who are undocumented are not dangerous criminals, but they are not victims.Knowingly violated our immigration laws and have no legal right to remain here. But they are also human beings, who took these decisions in pursuit of a dream that we would recognize as the American dream.
The best for our country is to address this problem in human form but responsible. One way to ensure this never happens again. This is not against the person who has the “right” to come and stay here illegally, but with or without documents, most of them are here to stay.
Can not round up 11 million people and deport them. Nor can we fix our broken immigration system if we continue to offer incentives for people to come here illegally – which is precisely the signal it would send a general amnesty or special new ways to gain citizenship.
But if we modernize our legal immigration system, secure the border and create an effective system of enforcement in the workplace, we can find a solution that protects our right to have our laws are respected in the future and that is fair for those who have come here the right way.
The first step should be to require that those who have not committed any serious crimes and have been assimilated into American culture, they have the opportunity to apply for nonimmigrant status temporarily. To receive this status will have to emerge from the shadows, admit having acted against the law, submit to a background check, pay taxes and a meaningful penalty for breaking our laws.And to maintain this status, should be kept clean criminal record, providing services to the community and demonstrate a command of the English language and U.S. civics.
In addition, they may not receive social assistance benefits, student aid or other federal public assistance we provide to legal immigrants.
They will have to remain in this status of nonimmigrant temporary for a significant period of time. But ultimately, it is a good idea to have millions of people trapped in a permanent immigration status is keeping them away from our society. Therefore, if and when our new measures of enforcement are working legally – should be allowed to apply for permanent status, not through a special path, but through the legal immigration process we imagine new and modernized. This means you will have to wait behind all those who applied before them legally. And when his turn comes, must meet the conditions of any visa request.
This will not be an easy road. In fact, it will be longer and more difficult than if they had chosen to respect our laws first. But legally allowed to live here, work and pay taxes while they wait.
In the past, efforts to accommodate illegal immigrants because the measures have failed to implement the law were never implemented. That is why this option to apply for a green card and get in line should not be available until it is certified that significant progress has been made to control the border and the federal government has implemented a workable employment verification and a system to ensure that our visitors do not stay longer than welcoming with their visas expired.
This is a good common sense approach will have enough support from across the political spectrum, because both parties would like to have a makeover. For those concerned about illegal immigration, what we have now is a de facto amnesty. For those seeking help undocumented families remain separated by deportations, while politicians are still arguing and trying to impress each other.
My hope is that President Obama will use his voice and influence to promote this measure. However, if what you offer is a process for undocumented immigrants to be more forgiving and faster than even most of the advocacy groups are calling for immigrant rights, that does not bode well for reform. It will be a clear sign that, instead of passing a law, he is more interested in a political victory that benefits Democrats. For the sake of our country and the millions of people affected by our broken immigration system, I hope the President show that is so serious about the problem as many of my colleagues and myself.
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