Compromise or Second-Class Status? ‘Legalization’ vs. ‘Citizenship’

Carrie Dann, NBC News, July 12, 2013

As the Senate and the GOP-led House remain at loggerheads over immigration reform, some Republicans have floated the idea of allowing most undocumented immigrants to gain legal status but not full American citizenship.

The logic goes like this: Many Republicans say that citizenship is a bridge too far and would inappropriately reward lawbreakers; some openly claim that undocumented immigrants, if given the right to vote, would overwhelmingly support Democrats. Supporters of the reform effort want a humane and pragmatic way to allow undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States to contribute to the economy and keep their families together. Almost everyone professes to want those in the country illegally “out of the shadows.”

OK, so what might a middle ground between legalization and citizenship look like? What does “legalization” even mean? And would it be constitutional or fair? Or politically feasible?

On that last count, very probably not.  Democrats are united in saying “citizenship or bust,” saying that they’ll scuttle any bill without a full path to citizenship rights–including voting rights and eligibility to run for public office.

Asked about the idea of legalization without citizenship after a meeting with House Democrats, key Senate leader Chuck Schumer bluntly called such an idea “not American” and said flatly “it will not happen.”

Still, some House Republicans have indicated this week that passing some type of “legalization” might be the only feasible option in the lower chamber.

{snip}

For the more conservative members of Congress, legalization could mean some kind of a renewable legal status that would free individuals from the threat of deportation but would include a blanket ban on any formerly undocumented immigrants becoming eligible for citizenship, ever. (Sen. Ted Cruz proposed an amendment to the Senate bill that would have created such a ban; it was defeated in committee negotiations by a 5-13 vote.)

Or, like the Senate-passed legislation, Congress could mandate tough rules for undocumented immigrants that eventually lead to a green card, a stepping stone for those who want to become citizens eventually.

{snip}

A Pew Research Center poll earlier this year found that 43 percent of Americans believe that undocumented immigrants should eventually be eligible for citizenship, while 27 percent say they should not be allowed to stay in the country legally at all. But less than a quarter–just 24 percent–say that undocumented immigrants should be permitted to remain in the country permanently but should not be able to become American citizens.

{snip}

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  • If any such bill becomes law, Democrats and racial front groups will within hours file a 14A Federal lawsuit.

    • A Freespeechzone

      You’re absolutely correct, this ‘compromise’ is merely a ploy to placate some who are ‘on the fence’ with ‘immigration reform’, figuring they are stupid.

      We need to stop ‘amnesty’ in it’s tracks, cut taxpayer-funded programs that enable these criminals, go after ANYONE who employs them–and seal the border tighter than a puckered….to make those here ‘self deport’.

      Otherwise, make NO mistake, amnesty illegals will get preference over citizens–it’s coming if amnesty is approved.

  • Spartacus

    Pass a law that any illegal found by authorities gets a summary execution, then mine the border. There, problem solved.

    • The__Bobster

      I’d be more humane and give them 24 hours to leave.

      • IstvanIN

        Announce that illegals will be executed when found. It would take more than 24 hours to round them all up. Good head start.

        • Bossman

          Much better solution is to integrate North America, then any illegal will be Chinese or East Indian or people from outside of North America.

    • Bossman

      No such laws are ever going to pass so why are you wasting your time with such delusional dreams? Are you not a Romanian? Your country joined the European Union so that you could move freely across Europe so why do you want to deny North Americans the opportunity to do the same?

      • Spartacus

        Firstly,we can move freely across Europe LEGALLY. The mexicans who jump the fence into America are actually breaking the law. Secondly, no one ever asked us if we want to join the EU. There was no referendum, nothing.

        • Bossman

          When North America becomes integrated—-and it surely will—-the Mexicans and Central Americans will have no need to do that.

          • Spartacus

            Are you sure you’re on the right site ?

  • kjh64

    How about enforce our laws so these people go home? Why oh why does congress insist on keeping these people here. We don’t need or want them here. They take jobs, use welfare at obscene rates and they or their offspring cause crime at higher rates.

    • And depress wages. Every job that is not skilled in Chicago is a minimum wage job in a sanctuary city.

  • The__Bobster

    Supporters of the reform effort want a humane and pragmatic way to allow undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States to contribute to the economy and keep their families together.
    _______

    It would be more “humane” to both the Mestizos and the American citizens to deport all the invaders. I hear Mexico is doing quite well right now.

  • The__Bobster

    Almost everyone professes to want those in the country illegally “out of the shadows.”
    ________

    They’re not IN the freakin’ shadows! I’m sure the NSA knows where each and every one of the ugly brown squat monster invaders is.

  • MikeofAges

    Maybe legalization has to lead to an eventual opportunity for citizenship, but citizenship, except for young people, perhaps is not such an important issue to the illegals who intend to remain here permanently. If the object is to “bring people out of the shadows” legalization accomplishes that much. I am not certain how many older people would give much priority becoming American citizens anyway. Perhaps many would not even want to give up their existing nationality. If congress and the people are finally showing that they understand the difference between legalization and citizenship then they have at last shown signs of acquiring a shred of lucidity in the face of a propaganda blizzard.

    I can only imagine that for someone who is 55 years old and crossed the border 35 years ago, not having to worry about deportation, being able to collect earned social security and being able leave the country and return are more important issues than whether or not they become U.S. citizens.

    • IstvanIN

      The US allows dual citizenship.

      • MikeofAges

        Does that mean that some large number of people are going to pursue the issue? Not to mention, does U.S. law allow dual citizenship, or is dual citizenship simply something recognized by other countries even when their nationals become U.S. citizens? I am not personally sure about this, and it would be better if someone with real expertise would explain the matter. My impression is, U.S. law has never recognized dual citizenship. If that is the case, then a U.S. citizen who accepted citizenship rights from another country would lose their U.S. citizenship. But I am sure this happens only very rarely, and not to “little” people who might vote in a foreign election or travel outside the United States on another country’s passport.

        Just wait for a definitive answer to the question, please.

        • mobilebay

          I have an acquaintance who has dual citizenship – American and Egyptian. I read also that Elizabeth Taylor was a citizen of both this country and the UK, since she was born there. I’ve often wondered, if confronted with a conflict beween the two, which side would the dual citizen take?Mexicans who might receive citizenship would never consider themselves Americans. In fact, I’ve never heard illegals demand citizenship. Plenty of other things, but I think it’s our elected leaders who dreamed up that ploy for the “cheap labor and votes” travesty.

          • MikeofAges

            Again, dual citizenship is something which other countries recognize. We cannot tell another country what to do. But I do not think our law recognizes it. If someone wants to say they have dual citizenship, who is to stop them from doing so? Or stop them from utilizing the rights another country grants them once they are outside the United States?

      • Sick of it

        Which was a godawful mistake when you really think about it.

      • Bossman

        Even if the US didn’t allow dual citizenship, if the other country to which the person came from allows it, then the US rules would become unenforceable.

        • MikeofAges

          That was my point entirely as well, see below. If another country recognizes dual citizenship, the U.S. government can do little about it. In the person exercises certain right as the citizen of another country, they can lost their U.S. citizenship. But that is enforced rarely to never.

          The issue I am concerned about is that people who can claim dual citizenship sometimes seem to be treated as superior beings.This goes to the issue of “Third Culture” which I have discussed elsewhere in this form.

  • borogirl54

    What is the point? Mexicans are least likely to become US citizens. All they want is a green card so that they can cross the border legally.

    • Bossman

      So then, why should that be such a big problem?

  • mobilebay

    Legalization? Amnesty? Citizenship? How about Deportation? Sounds much better to me.