Republicans must fix immigration system, but do so with compassion

Dave Scherbenco/The Citizens’ Voice Attendees hold the American flag as they sing “God Bless America” on Public Square at a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) rally in Wilkes Barre, Pa., on Sept. 3.

Many liberals don’t believe conservatives care for the most vulnerable in society, the underrepresented, or the left behind.

 

But this is just not true.

Admittedly, the Republican Party does not do much to alleviate the concerns liberals hurl toward them. With the election of President Trump, and his policies that seem to target especially vulnerable groups such as the sick, the elderly, the poor and ethnic/racial/religious minorities, this perception has gotten worse.

If conservatives don’t take a stand in opposition to some of these points, their death tolls will certainly ring during upcoming elections – which is disheartening because all great republics need a conservative voice and party to balance more progressive citizens, who are also needed in a well-regulated republic.

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Recently, President Trump released a statement rescinding an Obama-era policy known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Essentially, this directive by the Obama administration allowed child immigrants who illegally entered the U.S., under the care of their parents, not to be held accountable, hence deported, for an action they had no part in making. Obama’s decision was to not punish children who entered this country illegally for a decision that was ultimately made by their parents.

President Trump has put a six-month stay on any action being taken concerning DACA’s appeal, forcing Congress to take ownership of the situation. Although many Republicans have come out against the Trump administration’s decision, where does Millennial Conservatism stand on these issues?

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Let us remember, Millennial Conservatism is a political philosophy of limited government and conservative morality and virtues. It is guided toward expanding the appeal of conservatism to the largest voting bloc of Americans, the Millennial generation.

Regardless of one’s political persuasion, it seems most individuals are against rescinding DACA and deporting those who were protected by it. Millennial Conservativism argues that the latest act of President Trump could have terrible consequences in upcoming elections, would potentially deport 800,000 immigrants that actually are adding quite a lot to our culture, politics and, importantly, our economy, and would just reify the idea that Republicans don’t care for the vulnerable in society.

But conservativism in general is about protecting and loving the vulnerable. Thus, those who want to see conservativism thrive in the future must be prudent, empathetic and smart about how to approach immigration policy, and every act must be done with love in mind, as well as what is best for the country.

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So what should be done?

DACA should, of course, be reinstated – or its rescission should be lifted. Those individuals who came to the U.S. illegally through no fault of their own should be given the chance to become legal citizens who will then undoubtedly contribute to our country.

However, it should also be recognized that our immigration system is in shambles. It must be completely reorganized so that those individuals wanting to come to the U.S., and who can demonstrate they will contribute to society, should have a fast-track to becoming citizens. The same is true for those who are already here.

Yes, up to 11 million individuals have entered the U.S. illegally. But the U.S. is not an authoritarian country and cannot afford the public relations crisis that deporting millions of hard-working, moral individuals would send to the rest of the world. A fast-tracked policy to give those already here citizenship, with a fine and financial punishment for entering illegally, should be implemented.

Amnesty should also be granted for these individuals. Although this policy would be implemented lovingly, more measures to stop illegal immigration must be mandated as well.

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First, there should be a tremendous buildup of border security measures. Regardless of whether there is a physical wall, what we currently have in place is not keeping our borders protected. Some sort of measures, including a virtual wall – think, massive drones, sensors, actual walls/fences where appropriate, and thousands more of Border Patrol Agents – should be implemented.

Second, our immigration policy should be made much simpler for those seeking political/economic amnesty, and for those who have skill sets the U.S. needs.

This is smart, and critical for Republicans to understand that those who are conservative in nature – and many immigrants from highly religious societies are by nature conservative – would be less hesitant to vote for Republicans if they saw they are welcomed and wanted by the political right.

Lastly, Congress should take up DACA and make it a permanent law so it has congressional, rather than just executive, legitimacy. This should be done through a comprehensive immigration bill, implementing what is discussed above, as well as much more.

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I give President Trump the benefit of the doubt here. The move appeals to his base, which means strong support for him and those associated with him during the 2018 mid-term election, but it also allows Congress to own immigration, and to create permanent, lasting solutions that will protect conservative values, U.S. interests, and the interests of the world’s vulnerable populations.

Everyone should enter the U.S. legally; but let us not forget their humanity, and our own future eternal judgment, when unbelievable situations force families to risk terrifying conditions to enter the U.S. improperly.

Let us fix the immigration pitfalls moving forward for good, without destroying the lives of those already here, regardless of how they entered.

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The writer is associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Augusta University. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook: @DrCraigDAlbert.

 

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