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ImmigrationInternationalNational SecurityOpinionPolitics

Bringing Balance to the Illegal Immigration Solution

by General Jerry Ralph Curry (Ret.)
Clash Guest Contributor

Our country has stopped breathing. The United States needs leaders in the White House and in Congress who aren’t afraid to pick up the nation by its heels, give it a good hard smack on its bottom and get it breathing again – get us working together again. Today, the President and Congress have stopped cooperating and working together. For the good of the country and, as a first order of business, they need to bring sensible compromise and reasonable balance back to our federal government.

Each political party has a list of policy issues on which they believe it would be a sin to compromise. They equate compromising on these issues the same as surrendering the nation’s most sacred principles and beliefs; which obviously is not the case. It is just that each political party has allowed its issues to have become so hardened that they block off all possibility of compromise and agreement. One of these issues is the illegal immigration problem.

To solve this problem, we must first gain control of our southern border. That is not nearly so difficult to do as is imagined. It takes will power, determination and persistence. The President need only turn to the Secretary of Defense and say something like, “This is a matter of national defense. I want our southern border secured within ninety days.” Sometime in the next ninety days the Secretary will report back to the President and say, “The border is now secured. Do you have other actions or orders pertaining to the border at this time?”

For the military, gaining control of our southern border in a few weeks is certainly doable. Overnight the East Germans and Russians erected a ninety-six mile long concertina barbed-wire barrier between East and West Germany. When the citizens of Berlin went to bed that night in the summer or 1961 there was no barrier; when they woke up the next morning West Berlin had been sealed off from East Berlin and there were armed guards controlling the border crossing check points.

The political road block to bringing the immigration flow across our southern border to a halt is not the Congress; it is the President. In myriad speeches he has said, “I don’t bluff,” which is to say that he doesn’t change his mind, which is to say that he refuses to compromise. Even though he says that he is wide open to compromise and is willing to listen to new ideas, at the same time he proudly proclaims that, “There is one thing I will not do …” Then he proceeds to cut the feet out from under all possibility of compromise.

If there is one lesson that Obama’s actions as President over the past four years should have taught us it is that every issue or problem must be settled President Obama’s way, or it is the highway. There is no reasonable concept of compromise in the man, no middle ground.

The illegal immigration issue is not a question of citizenship; rather, it is a question of obeying the law. Do illegal immigrants from south of the border want to become U.S. citizens or do they simply want to legally live and work in the U.S. and enjoy America’s benefits?

Once you separate the freedom to work issue from the citizenship issue, the problem almost resolves itself. In the non-hostile environment that such action fathers, the flames of dissention and hatred quickly die down and the badly needed fine policy details of immigration can be honestly, decently, and quickly worked out.

Immigrants illegally born in this country, or those who have been illegally brought to this country when they were little children and have lived here ever since, could be issued some type card permitting them to legally live and work in this country indefinitely – but they should not be offered citizenship. To be eligible for citizenship they should have to apply following all of the current laws and legalities.

Those who, as adults, crossed the border illegally could be issued another color card authorizing them to legally live and work in the U.S. — say for four years. At the end of that time, those who have not qualified for citizenship in some way should be deported.

For the good of the country and the immigrants, the nation’s illegal immigration problem needs to be solved quickly, and we need to quit using it as a voter’s bribe or some kind of political football. Solving the problem is doable. It simply takes a willingness to firmly engage in realistic negotiation and compromise.

Unfortunately, the temptation is to continue kicking the illegal immigration can down the road where it continues to be sidetracked; or to let it slide off the rails completely and into the government’s judicial and bureaucratic abyss, which will be a net loss for the country.

General Jerry Ralph Curry (Ret.)is a decorated combat veteran, Army Aviator, Paratrooper, Ranger and retired Army Major General. For nearly forty years he has served his country both in the military and as a Presidential political appointee, including for the Carter, Reagan & Bush 41 administrations.

Image: Illegal Immigrant rights protest in the US/Mexico border in Tijuana; Cesarbojorquez at en.wikipedia; Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license.