Illegal Immigration, Amnesty & Citizenship

Assuming we can’t just load up all of the illegal immigrants on a plane and drop them off in Botswana, the Federal government is yet again discussing amnesty for illegal aliens. This started with Reagan and comes up from time but help me out with this - why does amnesty always involve citizenship?

If the goal of the illegal immigrant is to live and work here to make a better life for their family, why does citizenship have to be part of the deal? Isn’t it sufficient to allow them to stay legally and then start the timetable for naturalization from the date amnesty is given? In fact, one could argue that because they were here illegally, the tradeoff is that they can stay legally but cannot be naturalized. Doesn’t that fulfill the goals of the alien in being here?

Also, if the idea behind amnesty is that we can’t deport 11 million+ illegal immigrants, then does having the whole amnesty/citizenship debate even make sense if it doesn’t include tightening up the borders?

Because the alternative amounts to “guest-worker” status which amounts to serfdom or indentured servitude.

Wait a second. For it to be serfdom or indentured servitude that means that there is no choice for the worker. I don’t think that is comparable to a situation where a person chooses to come (illegally) to this country knowing what the situation will be. I f they are given legal status, then how is it serfdom or indentured servitude unless of course EVERY person here legally on a work visa is also a serf or indentured servant.

I would point out that according to your source, the issue is waiting for the green card up to 10 years which
a) Not the assumtion made in my post. The assumption is that amnesty takes effect immediately.
b) Does not change the current condition of the illegal immigrant except that they eventually get legal status vs. possibility of deportation.

Everyone who lives and works in this country should be considered a citizen, that’s why. Why the hell should we be able to tell random Americans they can’t vote simply because they were born elsewhere?

Borders should be opened, not “tightened”. The problem with illegal immigrants is that it is possible to be in this country illegally. We should fix that. Everyone should be allowed into our country and, upon request, granted citizenship.

These are people we’re talking about. Not an invasive species or radioactive waste. There is simply no excuse for telling people that they can’t be Americans if that’s what they desire to be.

I agree with the OP. I would grant amnesty, but not citizenship. If you came here illegally, you have the choice - a permanent work visa, but unable to ever apply for citizenship, or you can return to your country and wait at the end of the line (and I would add a penalty equal to the length of their illegal residence - stayed here ten years, wait an extra ten years. If only ten months, then just another ten months. Seems fair to me, but I am open to amendments.)

I am in favor of open immigration, yet many guest workers are just that - guests who intend to return to their country of origin. A fair number of foreign students are the same. They should be granted due process and civil rights, but not all the privileges of American citizenship. And by your logic, American guest workers would become citizens of their host countries, whether they wished to or not.

But open immigration cannot mean unlimited immigration. States must have the right to determine access. The history of refugee movements and the burdens they place on host governments should not be disregarded. Denial should be the exception, not the norm, but I doubt any country could handle a sudden influx of several million of new residents. We can barely adapt to our own birth rates, and the millions of new graduates each spring.

I do think there is room for greater privileges for permanent residents. I find the EU’s voting rights policy interesting. It would be interesting to see how that played out in New York and Chicago.

On a side note, does anyone have first hand knowledge regarding Luxembourg, where over 80% are not nationals? I believe Andorra has a majority of non-nationals also. That has to make for some weird democratic decisions.

No proposal for immigration reform that I have ever seen includes automatic citizenship to people with no lawful immigration status. They all start out with a protracted path to temporary and/ or permanent residence, not citizenship. Citizenship is contemplated separately, if at all, with the usual waiting period after becoming a permanent resident (5 years in most cases). If anyone has seen otherwise, please provide links.

Eva Luna, Immigration Paralegal

Not those European countries, but I live as a [del]guest worker[/del] indentured servant* in the Cayman Islands which has an expat majority workforce.

Simple solution here is that expats don’t get to vote.

  • Wow! The things I learn here on the Dope. I had no idea I was a serf/indentured servant. :rolleyes:

While I sympathize with your argument, I’ve always considered the idea of American exceptionalism at best arrogant and at worst xenophobic.

I don’t see how American exceptionalism relates to DrCube’s argument.


DrCube is arguing that America become the only country in the world with no immigration control isn’t an argument in favor of American Exceptionalism?

I’m certainly glad the US isn’t as racist as Israel, Japan, Germany, and Spain when it comes to immigration and naturalization, but that doesn’t mean that I think that Canada is a bigoted country for having immigration control.

However, were I to follow DrCube’s logic I’d have to argue that.

No, it is an argument against immigration control. I see nothing in it that would not apply with equal force to any country.

Are you terrified of being sent back to your native country? No? Then you’re not an indentured servant. It’s all a matter of leverage.

I’m sorry, but this comment is ridiculous.

Did you actually read DrCube’s comments?

Can you name me any country on Earth which has no immigration control which allows any person that wants to be able to claim citizenship?

If you know any please tell me.

Incidentally, do you think Canada, Australia, Spain, Israel, and Germany are racist for having immigration and naturalization policies?

Thanks in advance for your presumably thoughtful answers.

I wanted to bring that up in the other thread but decided that debate was going too intelligently for me to ruin it.:slight_smile:

But it is odd. I’m not saying BrainGlutton is wrong, immigration controls are often about race, but it’s one of the few areas where racism is still generally held to be acceptable. And it’s universal, all countries have rules governing who can enter a country and who cannot.

Furthermore, pretty much everyone is racist then, because very few people support unlimited immigration.

I’ll disagree about all countries there.

Yes, there are plenty of countries such as Israel, Germany, Spain and Japan that are blatantly racist when it comes to immigration, but that’s not the case with say, the US and Canada.

I agree, I was just observing that if immigration control is racist, then we’re all racists.

Well I do. Immigration control is a form of protectionism at best, and a drag on the economy. At worst it’s racist and xenophobic.

And it’s morally wrong to brand someone as a criminal simply for moving.

So yes, for all people who currently live and work in the US “illegally”, who plan on and desire to stay here, I think we should stop calling them criminals and start calling them Americans.

And why should it matter what other countries do? Yes, I support worldwide freedom of migration. But I’d like my country to set an example for others to follow, not blindly stick with the status quo.

I figure most of us who support open borders are on internet chat boards.:slight_smile:

If I was picking my ideal immigration system, it would be just let anyone come here so long as they aren’t criminals, don’t have an infectious disease, and won’t burden the welfare system. But that won’t happen anytime soon and it’s not just because of racism. It’s also, as you point out, because of labor protectionism.

That’s a good point, but it never hurts to show that the US is actually already occupying the moral high ground here. very few if any countries allow as many immigrants as we do. So we’re already setting a pretty good example.

So then, to be clear, you think that he Canadian, Norwegian, British, Australian, and Swedish governments are all racists?

Similarly, you think it was outrageous that the US regulations on immigration in the 20s allowed African-Americans to pour into the North and think that the US shouldn’t have imposed immigration quotas and kept African-Ameriancs trapped in the Jim Crow South?

If you disagree with those statements, please explain because to anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of American history that’s what you should support.

The consequence of this is that you end up with a permanent underclass of people, who can never be quite equal. It’s not entirely unlike what Germany did with Turkish immigrants. That didn’t work well, it just fostered resentment and I believe they’ve had to amend that policy since (although I don’t know the full details).