One thing has gotten a little lost in the hubbub over whether President Trump’s travel ban is tremendously legal and necessary or yuuugely illegal and immoral: What about all the undocumented immigrants hiding in plain sight across the country?
Now that Trump is in the Oval Office, we can expect their fate to become a hot topic. In our latest poll at HeraldNet.com, we asked which approach is best.
Thirty percent said undocumented immigrants should have a path to citizenship. We were headed that direction under a bipartisan plan the U.S. Senate approved in 2013. Many of those who were already here could have become taxpaying citizens, and some of that tax money would have paid for tighter border security. But then Congress heard the word “bipartisan” and broke out in hives, and the bill died.
Just 5 percent said the immigrants should be allowed to become permanent residents, not citizens. Giving people second-class status hasn’t worked very well historically, yet there are always those who are willing to give it another try.
Twenty-five percent said to deport all of them. That would be 11 million people, about one in every 30 individuals in America. Families would be separated, crops would go unpicked, and the Statue of Liberty’s “give me your tired, your poor” inscription could only be read in your best Dennis Miller-style sarcastic voice.
And 40 percent said to deport criminals, those suspected of crimes, and those on public assistance — essentially Trump’s policy. It sounds reasonable on the surface, but it’s problematic if you dig deeper. Criminal suspects include everyone who entered the country without a valid visa; public assistance includes lunches for schoolchildren. In all, the Los Angeles Times reported that up to 8 million people could be priorities for deportation under that standard.
Millions could be forced underground, dodging the feds. And the rest of us might wish we had just let them keep hiding in plain sight.