Immigration reform without citizenship: A hole for immigrants vs. a path of opportunity

Mostly lost in the media coverage of the immigration-reform bill is what life would look like for undocumented immigrants if America doesn’t offer them a path to citizenship.

Republicans like Rep. Cory Gardner of Ft. Collins, who oppose giving undocumented immigrants tangible hope of becoming U.S. citizens, should be asked to explain how their version of immigration-reform comports with the basic American image of itself as a place of opportunity for hard-working people who’ve powered our country from the get-go.

Gardner told The Denver Post’s Allison Sherry Tuesday:

“We have to focus on border security first and enforcement of the law, and then we can move onto questions about citizenship. There is no bill right now, so let’s start with the border and then go from there.”

So Gardner wants to create a hole in our country, as opposed to a path, that would hold millions in fear of deportation or, at best, like indentured servants of yesteryear.

Is this what American opportunity looks like for Gardner? Sit tight in your hole; maybe we’ll get back to you?

What does he have to say to President Obama, who told Telemundo Denver last week that immigration reform without an opportunity for citizenship would create a country of “full citizens and people who are assigned to a lower status.” This isn’t “who we are as Americans,” he said.

Journalists who are writing about people like Gardner should flip their perspective and also report that, de facto, GOP opponents of immigration reform favor the creation of an underclass of American workers.

We all know that Gardner’s quest for air-tight border security could be endless.

If so, what is the GOP vision of America with a class of people who are fundamentally unequal to the rest of us–and lack the opportunity that’s at the foundation of our country.  Let’s hear more from reporters about that.

A version of this op-ed was distributed by the Other Words syndicate.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.