Our View: Bipartisan immigration deal needed

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 4:22 PM

Editorial Board

We note with approval the rumblings of bipartisanship that are emerging over immigration issues. It’s way past time for bipartisan immigration legislation that deals with issues such as the DREAM ACT and procedures where law-abiding illegals with roots in this nation find a path to either citizenship or legal residence.

Recently, prominent senators from both parties, Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York, endorsed the need for unity and compromise on immigration. The two are talking on potential compromises on the issue, according to Schumer.

Everyone agrees that we need secure borders. That should be an immediate starting point for negotiations. At that point, it’s also time to make sure that long-term illegal residents of this nation have a way to work here legally, without fear of being arrested and separated from their families and other loved ones. It’s very simple — illegals who have worked here for years and otherwise obeyed the law should receive a legal residence status. They should also be allowed here — so long as they are obeying the law — while they apply for citizenship, a procedure that may take 10 years or more.

Also, illegals who were brought to the U.S. as children and have grown up in this nation should have a speedier opportunity for citizenship. This is, for all intents, their nation. This is what the DREAM ACT calls for. Citizenship should be granted for good behavior. Criminal acts or gang affiliations should disqualify those from the DREAM ACT.

Finally, another area of compromise should be to create a guest-worker program for illegal aliens who come to the U.S. to work in specific fields of labor, such as agricultural or meat processing. It makes far more sense to grant temporary, or longer, work permits for jobs that need immigrant labor rather than have illegals come here, work in the shadows, and occasionally be arrested and deported.

These are common-sense solutions that would easily pass in a non-dysfunctional political world. They combine compassion and order. Let’s hope Congress and the administration can overcome dysfunction and pass these measures.

Sign up for e-mail news updates.