The clear path to citizenship
I read with concern that many Republicans want illegal immigrants to be offered legalized status with no clear path to citizenship [“Deal on migrants faces big obstacle,” front page, Feb. 1]. We have lived with a status quo of an invisible class of people who, to paraphrase John McCain, harvest our food, clean our homes and mow our lawns. They also own businesses, employ workers and pay taxes. But they are unable to participate fully in our society despite being an important part of it.
Now some want to put these people in a newly created legal class — in, but not of, this country. The United States’ promise of unlimited opportunity for anyone willing to work hard is founded in large part on being a classless society in which “all men are created equal.”
Do we really want to become a land of two classes, separate and unequal?
Robinwyn Lewis, Rockville
Both the president’s immigration plan and the bipartisan Senate blueprint proposals have in common legalization with a road map to citizenship. The process will not be automatic, and, in fact, will be very rigorous, including background checks and fines. While the details differ and have yet to be hammered out, the fact that both proposals coincide in this area is tremendously significant and acknowledges where the American public stands on the issue.
There will surely be loud detractors, many of whom still subscribe to the fantasy of self-deportation. But the majority of Americans want to see immigrants get right with the law, pledge allegiance to this country and help build its future. There are enough members of Congress who understand the moral, economic and political imperatives of getting this done.
Latino voters generated the game-changing moment in the immigration debate in November, opening the opportunity for us to finally reach the solution our country longs for. An average of 878,000 Latino U.S. citizens will turn 18 every year now and until 2028. They are engaged, they are watching and they will not forget.
Janet Murguía, Washington
The writer is president and chief executive of National Council of La Raza.