New Castle News

February 12, 2013

Our Opinion: Immigration proposal shows what Washington can do

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — It may be a special circumstance, but news about bipartisanship in Washington is worth celebrating.

We refer to the recent announcement by a group of Republican and Democratic senators regarding a compromise proposal on immigration reform.

This is hardly the final word on the issue. There are still politicians in Washington on the left and right, as well as special-interest groups around the country, showing no inclination to cut a deal.

But this bipartisan immigration plan reflects the notion that elected officials ought to work together to solve problems, not simply take unalterable stands that appeal to narrow interests but do nothing to achieve a resolution.

In America, illegal immigration is a problem, for a variety of reasons. And the reality is that there is no simple way to address it. There is also no way to deal with the assorted concerns surrounding the issue that will make everyone happy.

A compromise doesn’t strive to do that. Instead, a compromise seeks to tackle the most significant concerns of the involved parties and hammer out certain agreements. The final product won’t be perfect, and it may not address every aspect of the problem.

But it may allow the nation to focus its attention elsewhere.

It is estimated there are about 11 million people living in the United States illegally. The vast majority are here looking for work or they are children of adults seeking jobs. And while their presence is against the law, it is beyond the power of the government to round them up and deport them in any meaningful fashion.

Part of the proposed compromise would grant undocumented workers the opportunity to become legal residents, assuming they have no criminal records and are willing to pay taxes and abide by assorted rules.

That will draw complaints from people who object to relaxed immigration and the notion of granting legitimacy to people who have broken the law by being here. But the status quo is getting the nation nowhere.

Meanwhile, the bipartisan plan in the Senate seeks to toughen border restrictions to make it more difficult to enter the country illegally. That’s mainly an extension of an ongoing effort that has succeeded in reducing the number of illegals entering the country.

Although it may be wishful thinking on our part, we would like to think a positive reception to this bipartisan plan will encourage similar efforts in other areas. Wouldn’t it be good to hammer out a fiscal agreement that doesn’t have the nation lurching from deadline to deadline on budget and tax matters?