This morning on Weekday, Steve Scher (another strangely spelled name; perhaps that's a requirement in radio?) was interviewing guests regarding Hispanic Week in the State Legislature. The speakers were discussing the things that prevent Latinos from voting in Eastern Washington, and among the items in their list were "citizenship requirements". Seriously! I was in shock that anyone could, with a straight face, say that the fact that voters must be citizens is a legitimate problem. How could they possibly question the right to vote as something that comes with being a citizen? However, my next thought was - if people pay taxes, shouldn't they have some say in what the local government does, even if they don't have citizenship? I don't know what the right answer is. Immigration has become such a political hot topic and no one has a complete solution, especially me, but there are a few things I believe in strongly:
(1) All people should be treated with dignity. Someone being an illegal immigrant does not give anyone a right to abuse them.
(2) Other countries should not be allowed to use the US as a dumping ground for their least desireable citizens by legitimizing or encouraging illegal immigration
(3) Any system that allows illegal immigrants to have a path to legal residency or citizenship must include an even easier path to allow legal immigrants that right. I have several friends here on TN visas who have no path to citizenship without getting employers to move them to an H1-B visa, which is fair enough unless folks who don't follow the rules and come here illegally are given that right.
(4) In general, the melting pot is not such a bad idea - immigrants to the US (like myself, I should add) should be those who not only want to come here for financial reasons but should want to adapt to the culture in the US while bringing in the things that make their culture special, not re-create their culture completely here.
(5) There are probably a few more here, but I haven't fully formed them yet.
Just another reason why listening to NPR in the morning is a good way to get your brain flowing.