Politicians will tell you whatever you want to hear. They'll stand in front of a group advocating amnesty and pronounce their support, and then rail against it at another venue. Ultimately, we don't know what they'll do when they reach Washington. Most likely, they'll ignore the issue unless it's shoved in their faces. That's when they'll craft another piece of legislation designed to offend the fewest voters, but not reconcile the issue, much like the 1984 legislation.
To be honest, immigration reform was under my radar most of that time. I have focused on jobs and the economy. It seemed clear to me that it was the primary issue, the one that all other issues rest upon.
Does it really matter if we have the mightiest military in the world if we can't afford to deploy it?
Does it really matter how deeply we feel the want of those who suffer if we don't have the means to provide them help?
Does it really matter where our borders lie if we don't have the resources to secure them?
However, when my feet were put to the fire, I had to look beyond jobs and the economy. Accepting an invitation to speak before a coalition focused on immigration and its reform, put me into that fire, up to my armpits. Unlike my opponents, I didn't have the political sense to duck it.
To prepare myself, I consulted experts.
America is planted thick with laws. Its very existence is founded in its citizens voluntarily submitting to the rule of law. Unfortunately, some laws conflict with one another because they were poorly or politically crafted. Other times, it's because they are poorly or politically interpreted.
For example, the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution included a provision to provide the blessings of citizenship to the slaves who were freed following the Civil War. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon your point of view, this right was extended to all children born in the United States regardless of the status of their parents. Thus, these children have every legal right to remain in the United States while their parents are subject to deportation.
Who can defend this situation?
Clearly it has to be reconciled.
On the face of it, we appear to have two choices: Grant a path for citizenship to the parents or strip it from the children.
Is anything ever that black and white? Of course not. There are many shadings of gray in between. That is why we have to choose our representatives carefully and send to Washington those who will deliberate wisely and justly.
Yes, I know that there are those who believe that they already know the correct solution. However, I'm not sure that they've even asked all the questions. As someone who has been faced with many tough choices, choices that could cost men's lives, I know that solutions cannot precede a full awareness of all aspects of a problem.
To be honest, there are many aspects of immigration reform beyond the issue of granting citizenship to children born in the United States and then separating them from their families.
What are we to do with the millions who have entered the United States illegally and then established roots in their communities while the nation slept on its rights to evict them? Wouldn't it now be prejudicial to the aliens to deport them after waiting so long?
On the other hand, didn't those who entered the country illegally accept this risk?
There aren't any easy answers, but there are plenty of hard questions.
Are we certain that we know them all?