California Republican Party National
Committeeman Shawn Steel published the following article, "How
About Amnesty for Legal Immigrants?" in the latest edition
of Human Events, which addressed Washington D.C.'s push for
immigration reform this year. Like many fair-minded reformers, who recognize
the importance of immigration as well as the rule of law, Steel reminds his
readers that there is another "undocumented" group of immigrants,
i.e. those individuals who have sought naturalization status legally by
submitting the proper reforms, passing all the necessary tests, paying the
required fees, and completing all mandate interviews to achieve American
citizenship, as opposed to demanding it as an entitlement. These people are
still waiting for their finalized naturalization status, yet have not broken
the law as they reside in the United States on provisional visas.
In reality, they are the only individuals one can justly call undocumented, for they are waiting patiently (all too long, in my opinion) to achieve full legal status in their adopted country. In his Human Events piece, Steel relates the long struggle of his wife Michelle, born in Korea but raised and thriving in America, who followed all the steps to become a legal American citizen.
Michelle's story, along with millions of other legal residents earning American citizenship, are the stories that Americans need to be learning about. In addition to Ms. Steel’s rewarding pathway to prosperity as a legal resident, I have read about another Korean-American born deaf, who had to learn English and American Sign Language, who became a successful baker. I know an state assembly candidate whose wife emigrated from Costa Rica and waited ten years to become a US citizen.
Another friend of mine, born in the French protectorate of Tunisia, shared the frustrations which she had faced in order to receive her citizenship papers. But she did it legally. She also lamented that the students in her French class did not understand the struggles which legal residents willingly endured, and how a massive amnesty is a slap in the face to those naturalized American citizens. Another older gentleman whom I met in Torrance, from Eritrea, shared with me the outrageous stalling he had to put up with from the federal bureaucracy to receive his citizenship papers. But he was waiting, and he was present in this country on a legal visa while waiting.
Putting aside these personal accounts, however, consider the following statistics on legal immigration. 4.4 million people are waiting legally to enter. Those individuals are wondering why they are not receiving their own version of amnesty, since they played by the rules. And the usual wait time for legal immigrants, with all the rules and loopholes? An average of six to twenty years!
This country does need immigration reform, but for those who sought legal status. . .legally!
US Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) chided his colleagues two years ago for lapsing on one sure-fire maneuver for legal immigration reform: the STEM Jobs Act, which would permit graduate students with training in Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to receive a green card.
To this day, the STEM Jobs Act has not taken root, so to speak.
All of the current political wrangling and interest group pandering which is taking up space in Congress has ignored the legal immigrants and their stories, including Ms. Steel. They deserve respect and recognition for all that they have accomplished for this country, and that they sought to join legally.
Furthermore, I have delineated time and again (and again and once more this week) that free immigration to work is welcome, but not to welfare, and with the grandiose expansion of the welfare state under President Obama (including advertisements for American food stamps in Mexico) along with the failed rollout of Obamacare, the last thing that this country needs is a failed immigration reform which rewards thirty million people who broke the law, who can easily abuse, defraud, and certainly overwhelm the bloated and bankrupt American welfare state.
I am grateful for Mr. Steel's ironclad argument on behalf of the legal immigrants in our country, including the truly undocumented individuals who reside in this country legally, yet are still waiting an unjust length of time to receive their naturalization status.