Sooner more than later the U.S. Congress will have to come to terms with the issue of illegal immigration, specifically: what do we do with millions of illegal immigrants who have taken up residence here? It’s a thorny political issue that, in many states and congressional districts, has become a “third rail” of sorts that, if touched, will electrocute a political career instantly.
By definition, any person who enters the United States without authorization – usually a visa – has engaged in de facto criminal behavior. That aside, most of these illegal immigrants are not here to perpetrate further criminality but rather, are here to make a decent living.
Many of them choose to remain here and establish a homestead while others stay briefly, make as much money as they can and then return home. A small percentage engage in a life of active criminality.
Let’s assume that Congress gets its act together and seals our borders tighter than a drum – eliminating any illegal border crossings completely. There still remains the question of what to do about the roughly 15 million immigrants who are here illegally. To be sure, we can enforce existing immigration laws throughout all 50 states and pass federal legislation prohibiting the establishment of sanctuary cities. These two actions alone would likely impel a significant percentage of the illegals to simply return home, as conditions here would no longer be conducive to remaining for those who have few or no ties at all to this nation.
But what about those who do have ties to the United States? A significant number of them belong to families that have lived here for more than 20 years. In many cases, parents came here with little children who are now young adults with younger siblings who were born here. Oftentimes father and mother have started a small business that now thrives and both are productive members of the community. What is to be done with families such as these?
There are two – and only two – options for dealing with illegal immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for a long period of time: deport them or let them stay. ANY option permitting them to stay here while sparing them from criminal prosecution effectively grants them a pardon from deportation – punishment for the crime of entering the U.S. illegally.
Pay attention now: a pardon for a crime – whether or not a conviction occurs – is, by definition, amnesty. Look it up if you don’t believe me. Unfortunately for the nature of the immigration debate, the word “amnesty” has become an emotionally-charged buzzword that means “the automatic granting of citizenship to illegal immigrants.”
Shall we deport all of them – save for the children born on U.S. soil? That appears to be the thinking of some. It certainly is a simple solution, but one as morally subtle as a brick through a plate glass window – and anyone with a modicum of human compassion ought to reject it. Yes, I’m aware that the law is the law and yes, I understand that we are a nation of laws, not the whims of men. But Americans also accept that justice is tempered by mercy. In the words of Shakespeare,
The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
Simply stated, the human condition does not exist in a purely black-and-white world, but one with countless shades of gray between the two – just as there are countless shades of gray between justice on the one hand and mercy on the other – all of which brings us back to the present question:
How shall we address the matter of illegal immigrants who have established long-term residency in the U.S.?
Bader Qarmout – a Sussex County businessman who seeks the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate – has offered a plan that he believes will ameliorate the problem in a responsible and sensitive manner. I have studied the Qarmout Immigration Reform Plan carefully and discussed it at considerable length with Mr. Qarmout. In the humble opinion of this writer, the Qarmout Plan – while not perfect – is lucid, intelligent and sensible…a plan that surpasses the DREAM Act in both justice and mercy.
Qarmout’s opponent in the primary is NJ State Senator Joe Kyrillos – whose campaign website does not venture a footstep beyond the jejune RINO platitudes conservatives have come to know and loathe. There you will find no mention of abortion, same-sex marriage, the Second Amendment, energy policy – and not a word about immigration. Kyrillos is an Establishment hack who knows the nomination is his for the taking and there is no reason for him to offer the voters his vision or political philosophy beyond bumper sticker bromides.
Nevertheless, as I pointed out here and here, Kyrillos has revealed some of his cards: he believes the matter of long-term illegal immigration must be addressed in a “responsible and sensitive” way and he supports “elements” of the Dream Act. Based on this information, we can reasonably presume that Mr. Kyrillos does NOT advocate the wholesale deportation of long-term illegal residents and therefore supports a plan that facilitates legalizing their residence in the U.S.
But the story doesn’t end there: since March, GOP State Committeeman Rob Eichmann has attacked Bader Qarmout savagely and relentlessly on the pages of the once-credible Conservative New Jersey website in an effort to drive him out of the primary race in order to clear the road for Kyrillos to enjoy an uncontested race. The plan backfired and Qarmout doubled down – determined to see his campaign through to primary day on June 5.
Among the myriad libels and defamatory statements (both personal and political) made by Eichmann is the claim that Qarmout’s immigration plan essentially offers amnesty. However, the sense implied by Eichmann is not the sense that encompasses the Qarmout Plan.
You see, troglodytes like Eichmann have no use for precision and nuance when a cudgel will do and it’s clear from his posts that Eichmann believes in nothing less than the wholesale deportation of every illegal immigrant – a position with which Joe Kyrillos (who Eichmann supports in this race) would disagree. But the contradiction is of no consequence to Eichmann, who doesn’t care that he is perceived as an ignoramus and a pseudo-conservative buffoon: all that matters in his mind is that Bader Qarmout must be destroyed.
Neo-Neanderthals are like that, dontcha know.
In Part 2 we’ll take a close look at the Qarmout Immigration Reform Plan and evaluate its merits and deficiencies.