Thursday, December 5, 2013

Immigration reform doesn't have to be about citizenship

Of all political issues right now, I think relaxing our immigration laws may be the most important. But it seems weird that this is often presented as a question of whether to grant citizenship to current illegal immigrants. IMO the important part of immigration reform is simply allowing more freedom in where people live and work, regardless of whether they can also become U.S. citizens. And the other day the NYT had this article suggesting that illegal immigrants largely view it the same way.

So why does citizenship sometimes seem to be the focal point in Washington? I wonder if it's a sign of pure politics. The GOP claims to be in favor of individual freedom and not "Big Government", but they largely are opposing immigration reform even though that seems to fit perfectly with that philosophy. Could part of it be that, if citizenship is part of the deal, then they are just worried that most newly immigrated citizens would vote Democrat? And for the same reason, is that why Democrats seem so focused on making citizenship be a main part of immigration reform?