Rep. Raul Labrador is bringing common sense to the table in deliberations over immigration reform. His 15 years as an immigration attorney comes into play as Congress delves into this critical and emotional issue.
Not all Idahoans, or his fellow Republicans, are on board with Labrador's approach to this issue and he acknowledges that opinions expressed to him are "all over the map." Viewpoints range from wanting to see 11 million illegal immigrants deported immediately to disputing his calls for stricter enforcement.
On the first point, Labrador correctly believes that this nation does not have the ability, or political will, to deport 11 million people who are here illegally. On the second point, there has to be some teeth in a new law and resistance for offering an easy road to citizenship for illegals. His efforts are focused on fixing an immigration system that is broken and creating policies that will serve this country through this century. Radical solutions are not the answer.
Realistically, Congress needs to act this year. Immigration reform, a favorite campaign football throughout the nation, probably wont occur in a congressional election year.
The good news is this is one issue in which Republicans and Democrats in Congress are coming to the table, which gives some basis for optimism. But the two sides are a long way off on some issues.
There is agreement on 70 percent of the issues, said Labrador. Thats a good start. But one major sticking point is over a guest-worker program, which perhaps is the most crucial element. There cannot be meaningful immigration reform without a workable guest-worker program, he said.
Labrador has some constructive ideas on that subject. We must create a robust guest-worker program to match willing workers with employers according to flexible free-market forces and increase the number of visas and green cards available for high-skilled workers, he wrote.
To those who are here illegally, Labrador calls for a program to normalize their status. That means undergoing background checks, paying taxes and remaining employed.
His approach is too soft for some hardliners and too harsh for others. But calmer voices need to prevail and Labrador, at least, offers steps in the right direction.
Labradors goal is to create a policy that prevents a new exploding wave of illegal immigration in this country which is a noble goal and daunting challenge for Congress. Labrador provides a welcome voice for Idaho on this issue.
Our View is the editorial position of the Idaho Statesman. It is an unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesmans editorial board. To comment on an editorial or suggest a topic, email email@example.com.
"Our View" is the editorial position of the Idaho Statesman. It is an unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesman's editorial board. To comment on an editorial or suggest a topic, email firstname.lastname@example.org.