Illegal immigration has become a major topic in the current Presidential campaigns. Unfortunately, the candidates who pontificate on stopping illegal immigration are misleading the public on the issues.
Typical campaign rhetoric proclaims the needs to secure our borders for National Security purposes.
Of course, “borders” refers only the the US - Mexican border and not the US Canadian border ( a much larger and more porous border).
Border security is a legitimate issue, not only to control immigration, but for protection from drug trafficking and national security concerns.
The problem occurs when candidates refer to the 14 million undocumented immigrants as criminals and law violators.
The truth is that most of these 14 million undocumented persons qualify legally to be residents of the United States. They remain undocumented, not of their own volition, but as a result of a law that provides that any person who enters illegally or who overstays their visa by a year or more, and leaves the United States, is thereafter barred from re-entry for ten years.
This law does not take into account whether the foreign national knew they were out of status or what the circumstance were that resulted in the loss of visa status.
The law also provides that most categories of immigrants must either be in-status to receive their permanent residence here in the United States, or depart the country and receive their residence at the US Consulate in their home country.
But if they leave, they will be barred from re-entry for 10 years!
Millions of foreign nationals would depart the US to complete their legal processing, but for this 10 year bar to re-admission.
Millions of the foreign nationals have married US citizens and have US citizen children, but cannot finalize their status because of this out-dated provision of law. The ten-year bar law literally forces foreign nationals to remain in the US, often against their will.
By repealing this law, Congress could allow deserving foreign nationals to complete their cases and return to the US in legal status.
By repealing this law, Congress could save billions of dollars trying to deport the qualified relatives of US citizens.
By repealing this law Congress could allow the USCIS and Customs & Border Patrol to focus on illegal immigrants that may be a threat to our communities.
By addressing this problem with knowledge and integrity, the Presidential candidates could begin a meaningful dialog that could lead to realistic solutions to our immigration challenges.
By addressing this problem with knowledge and integrity, the Presidential candidates could avoid mis-characterizing millions of worthy immigrants who are currently bound by a legal technicality.
It is time to return to realizing this country's full potential by updating our immigration laws to reflect our nation's values and priorities.