Sunday, December 02, 2007
The Immigration Tussle.My fence is bigger. Out is there is getting worse for the Latino Community. Unfortunately nobody seems to protect them. Seems that there it is no any political party or candidate by their side.
Presidential candidates in both major parties are pandering to the worst elements on illegal immigration, instead of offering real, workable solutions.
Meanwhile, the inadequate law we have now isn't working for worthy immigrant families such as the Servanos of Selinsgrove, Pa., who face deportation over a mistake on their visa applications nearly 25 years ago.
Little was gained from the dustup among Democrats a month ago when Hillary Rodham Clinton waffled when questioned about allowing illegal immigrants to apply for driver's licenses.
But things got worse during Wednesday night's Republican debate when Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani engaged in a dispiriting tit-for-tat over which one of them is tougher against illegal immigrants.
Romney accused the former New York City mayor of running a "sanctuary city," where illegals were welcomed and protected.
Giuliani lowered the bar of discourse even further, claiming that Romney ran a "sanctuary mansion" for illegals because he once employed landscapers at his Belmont, Mass., home who turned out to be in the country illegally.
Romney said it "would not be American" to check the papers of workers at his home simply because they spoke with a "funny accent."
All of this uninformative discord was music to the ears of Rep. Tom Tancredo (R., Colo.), an extremist on immigration. He pronounced the petty exchange between Romney and Giuliani "wonderful" and boasted that his rivals were trying to "out-Tancredo Tancredo."
That about said it all.
This "debate" over immigration had little to do with crafting a sensible national policy.
It had everything to do with playing up to the Republican primary base on a hot-button issue just a few weeks before the first votes are cast. It looked like a race to see who hates illegal immigrants the most.
If anyone "won" this unenlightening debate, it was Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), who tried to bring his rivals back to reality.
"We must recognize these (illegal immigrants) are God's children as well," McCain said. "They need our love and compassion, and I want to ensure that I will enforce the borders first. But we won't demagogue it."
The debate highlighted the counterproductive atmosphere nationally in which real families like the Servanos of Selinsgrove must try to get a fair hearing.
Filipino natives Pedro and Salvacion Servano have four U.S.-born children, ages 13 to 24. He's a doctor; she runs a market in central Pennsylvania.
Pedro and Salvacion were single when they applied for visas to enter the United States in 1978. Before their applications were granted, they got married. But they didn't know they needed to update their paperwork when the applications were granted. She entered the United States in 1982, he in 1984.
An immigration hearing examiner discovered the discrepancy in 1990, after the couple applied to become naturalized citizens. The government has been trying to deport them ever since, although that action has been stalled by legal appeals.
Now it appears their only hope to stay in the United States is to get their congressman or senators to sponsor a rarely used "private bill" to grant them permanent legal status.
Sens. Robert Casey (D., Pa.) and Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) should take this unusual step on their behalf. This family is deserving of it.
The bigger immigration picture is no less of a long shot. Congress needs to get back to work on an answer for the 12 million or so illegal immigrants in this country.
The solution is to find a way to sanction illegal residents while providing a path for their citizenship.
In the absence of national policy, the vacuum is being filled by candidates who seek to exploit the issue politically rather than show some leadership.