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Yesterday we wrote about Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), who apparently believes that it’s a good idea to support immigration reform that legalizes immigrants—but never gives them the opportunity to apply for citizenship. As arguments yesterday made clear, withholding citizenship in immigration reform is bad for the economy, unfair, and un-American. Here are a few more arguments:
Greg Sargent at the Washington Post on how citizenship is nothing other than the mainstream position in the debate:
The House GOP position, which Republicans like to portray as the middle ground position, is supported by 10 percent of Americans. It’s supported by only 13 percent of Latinos (because an overwhelming 70 percent of them support citizenship). And it’s supported by only 11 percent of Republicans — indeed, far more Republicans, 40 percent, back citizenship. On the other side, a whopping 46 percent of Republicans support deportation. The second class status position is a tiny island. It pleases nobody. It’s at odds with the big chunk of the GOP base that Republicans are wary of alienating in the first place by embracing any kind of legal status at all, and it doesn’t win over many Latinos or independents (only 11 percent of whom support it) or Americans in general.
The simple fact is that when you offer Americans a full range of policy options that includes second class status, a comfortable majority — including a majority of independents — supports the path to citizenship. It’s the mainstream position. It’s understandable that Republicans need to move slowly and cautiously on immigration, but it’s hard to see how they will succeed in meaningfully moderating the party’s image on the issue — or begin to repair relations with Latinos — if they can’t find a way to embrace genuine reform. Almost nobody wants this problem resolved with the creation of a massive and permanent sub-citizenship class of Americans.
John Amato at Crooks and Liars agrees:
Do Republicans really believe that after supporting Sensenbrenner’s insane bill that basically turned illegals into felons that not supporting eventual full citizenship is going to appease the entire Latino population of America? This is going to make for some interesting television as this drags on. Karl Rove didn’t mind helping the teabagger revolution until they started to go after moderate Republicans in safe districts.
Even Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), a Republican and fellow member of the House Judiciary Committee, said he favors the goal of citizenship:
For those who we decide should be allowed to stay, we shouldn’t limit them to some secondary status that prohibits them from becoming citizens.
Agreed Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL):
I think it would be wrong for us to create a permanent underclass of people who live in this country who never can reach American citizenship. I want them to have all the responsibilities and obligations that come along with American citizenship.