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Diary of a Dearborn Democrat -- Act Now on Immigration Reform!

Dearborn Democratic activist Fred Hoffman enters the immigration debate with his own views on how to bring 11 million undocumented residents out of the shadows.

Our country is a special place because it is one of the few countries on earth where people from all corners of the globe come to find opportunity. Ask just about anyone you know to tell you their family's immigration story -- and you'll discover the bottom line is the same : "They came here for a better life." . . . The contexts may have differed; perhaps some sought religious freedom, some wanted to escape war, and some wanted to find meaningful work -- but all wanted opportunity, all wanted to find a plot of land where their children would have lives "better" than their own. That meant access to eduction, access to health care, access to a good job, and access to the freedoms articulated in our Constitution.  - - - SO NOW IS THE TIME TO EXPAND THAT OPPORTUNITY. - - - Now is the time to recognize the reality that there are 11 million people among us living in the shadows because their legal status is undocumented. Clearly, they should not have come the way they did, but just as clearly, they were drawn by the same magnetism that attracted your ancestors and mine. And, the reality is that they are here and they are not going back. . . .They are second and third generation folks who go to work every day, people from all over the world (not just Mexico), and contributors to our communities in every possible way. I know folks in this status (and you do too), and I know it is common sense that we should CREATE A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP for them.  - - - If I were writing the law, I would grant citizenship to everyone under 17 and over 71 living here more than a year. ... I would grant immediate citizenship to those willing to sign up for a two-year hitch in the military, and to those willing to invest $250,000 or more to start a new business. ... I would grant immediate citizenship to those in the immediate family of current Americans, including same sex partners. ...  I would grant citizenship to anyone willing to live  here permanently on the day they earned a master's degree or higher from an American college. ... And I would offer to all others who qualify a citizenship path of service, that is, they would contribute 600 hours of service to governmental or non-profit agencies (roughly 4 hours a week for 3 years) as their way of earning their new American status.  - - - Everyone granted citizenship under the "Hoffman Plan" would have to pass an English language test, demonstrate they plan to live permanently in the U.S., register to vote, be current in all tax obligations and clear criminal background checks.  - - - To some, this may be a radical approach, and of course it needs to be tied to tougher border enforcement so as not to encourage future undocumented visitors, but it is common sense, it is logical and it is very American. To extend the debate longer only keeps these millions of Americans in the shadows and their full economic and cultural contributions unmade. Because it is not only the politically smart thing to do, but the RIGHT THING TO DO, let's pass immigration reform now! 

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Linda Scharf Brazier January 30, 2013 at 08:36 AM
love Immigrants welcome them all ....but not Illegals.........they are not only draining our economy and system .....they are also slapping the face of every legal Immigrant who did the right thing ......its people like you who suck the people dry with so many socialist and agenda promises ...wake up ......and stop stealing from our family ......my husband and I work very hard to take care of our family ..its not our job to take care of deadbeats........we donate and give to charities when we can ..we do not need to be forced by the Left democrats and liberals to take care of the world this is not the 50's its 2013 and when is the last time you have paid attention to the Debt in this country .....DUH --Obama is the president with a Welfare card on his back for all .....and we are paying for this and so will my son's and my Grandkids ........You Liberals and Democrats need to learn to budget and stop printing money we do no have ..China owns us and its making me sick what you Liberals and democrats have done in the last 4 ysr now wake up you fool
Linda Scharf Brazier January 30, 2013 at 08:37 AM
Oh and Illegals are Breaking our laws daily for just being here Illegally.....get it to you know what Illegal means ? look it up ..we are nation of laws .....follow them do not Steal from us ......DUH
laplateau January 30, 2013 at 01:11 PM
Fred…oh Fred! More liberal drivel and ignoring the facts and painting them over with talking Democrat points. Hitler had talking points too, and he felt, as you do apparently, that the more you repeat them, the more people will believe. Yes, people come here for a better life, no doubt. I’m not sure about your ancestors, but mine came here and did it legally and followed the steps to citizenship. The main problem with illegal immigration has its genesis from our southern borders…Mexican, and those from countries further south. You say they come seeking “access to education, access to health care, access to a good job, and access to the freedoms articulated in our Constitution”. I couldn’t agree with you more, but who do you think is supporting those freedoms financially? It sure isn’t those here illegally, it is US!...the citizens of the United States. They put a drain on our resources without any personal contributions. They soak the local governments by overcrowding our schools, and state and county resources are gobbled up by the plateful. Food programs, Bridge Cards, free or subsidized housing, etc.
laplateau January 30, 2013 at 01:27 PM
Fred..you say they are “contributors to our communities in every possible way”. Please Fred, give me examples. Among the key finding of a California reports are that the state’s already struggling K-12 education system spends approximately $7.7 billion a year to school the children of illegal aliens who now constitute 15 percent of the student body. Another $1.4 billion of the taxpayers' money goes toward providing health care to illegal aliens and their families, the same amount that is spent incarcerating illegal alien criminals. Combine this $10.5 billion with the costs that the other contiguous 47 states are saddled with regarding problems of illegal immigration and you are starting to talk about real money here…with NO contributions from the illegals.
laplateau January 30, 2013 at 01:28 PM
Fred...you say you “would grant citizenship to everyone under 17 and over 71 living here more than a year… I would grant immediate citizenship to those willing to sign up for a two-year hitch in the military…. I would grant immediate citizenship to those in the immediate family of current Americans, including same sex partners.” Wow Fred…right out of the liberal, far left wing think tanks. Just what we need…people that have broken the law in our military ranks...those that have shown a complete disregard for our laws. You say “ I would grant citizenship to anyone willing to live here permanently on the day they earned a master's degree or higher from an American college.” Yep, and we are the ones paying for it through grants and educational subsidies. Tell me Fred, where are their contributions?
Chicago Way January 30, 2013 at 01:59 PM
Look at what other English speaking countries require for just permanent resident status as citizenship is almost out of the question. Australia doesn't want anyone over age 50 or those under age 50 without AUS$500,000 to place on deposit. Singapore doesn't age restrict, but wants US$650,000 to be placed on deposit per applicant. Canada - either have in-country employment and/or purchase real estate for part-time status. The UK - not up for discussion. The days of "bring us your unwashed and downtrodden" are out of a 1930's black and white movie.
Pam February 01, 2013 at 03:09 PM
The illegals wouldn't be here if there wasn't a market for their services. It would help if we assessed those employing them what the true cost of the immigrants' presence is-free medical care, free schools and social services. The employers have it made-service at a slave wage (you don't work on my terms you are reported to INS) with no tax liability to cover the workers' costs. I don't know what the answer is. I don't want to pay for the enormous police action required to deport 11 million people.
laplateau February 01, 2013 at 06:38 PM
Pam, you are absolutely correct. However, I think the cost you refer to regarding deporting illegals would be easily be made up by the reduction of costs you refer to that illegals are now costing us in schooling, welfare, etc. I agree that employers have to be severely penalized if they are found to be using them...say $10,000 per head and maybe even jail time. The illegal could be incarcerated in a southern border prison camp for a minimum of 1 year, during which time they would be required to build that high tech fence along the very places they have originally crossed. The prison camp could the type which Sheriff Arpaiyo has established and is able to feed his inmates on pennies a day. Once the illegal had served his time he could be escorted back across the border, and once employers know of the penalties they face and the illegals realize there will be a years prison time at hard labor in a no nonsense prison camp, I think we might see a line of illegals trying to get back where they came from.
Pam February 01, 2013 at 08:03 PM
I think Dearborn Public Schools' cost for educating a child for a year is above $10,000. Plus that is chicken feed to these employers and they would consider it reasonable - a cost of doing business this way if you will - vis-a-vis the cost of a legal worker. I think at least ten times that for a fine per illegal worker is more in line. And I don't see how you can incarcerate 11 million people, or anywhere near that number.
laplateau February 01, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Of course Pam, you would never incarcerate 11 million at one time...you would never be able to find them all at once, obviously. But, once a program similar to what I wrote, and as I said before, both illegals and employers would start the process of drastically reducing the numbers here because they wouldn't want to bear the consequences. The only real way of solving the problem is to be establish penalties and then enforcing them....strictly.

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