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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Proposed immigration bill illustrates initiative for compromise

    Compromise has become a dirty word in politics lately.

    Reaching across the aisle to work in a bipartisan matter has been construed as neglecting and abandoning one’s own party, even when cooperation would likely benefit the American people in the long run. This selfish nature of partisan politics has been especially evident in Congress where progress is minimal, even for the most routine of legislation.

    In June, only 6 percent of voters gave a Congress a positive rating and they are the individuals with the most direct voice of the American people to Washington.

    But despite the anemic showing from Congress in the last few years, things started to get a little better last week. After six months of debate and negotiation, a new immigration bill was finally pushed through the Senate with a 68 to 32 vote that saw every Democrat and 14 Republicans approve the legislation that had been negotiated and debated for the past six months.

    This was a step in the right direction, with both sides seeing the benefits of proposed new immigration laws — the first since 1986.

    The drafted bill saw provisions that favored both parties’ visions on immigration reform and exemplified how compromise to reach a favorable solution is possible.

    Democrats — who support greater amnesty — would see millions of undocumented workers in the country gain citizenship status, but not before a 13 year process that includes learning English and paying various legal fees. Republicans on the other hand support the new security measures at the border that will double the amount of Border Patrol agents while also adding 700 miles worth of new fencing.

    While the new bill isn’t cheap — coming in at around $50 billion according to the Washington Post — it’s necessary given the poor state of our current immigration system.

    The undocumented workers who have been here for years — and call it home — deserve a chance at American citizenship after helping drive our agricultural and service industry while receiving minimal wages. They have paid their dues and deserve an equal chance at becoming American citizens.

    At the same time, our border does need to be secured more effectively, not only to keep people from illegally entering our country but also to prevent more unnecessary deaths for those trying to cross our deserts.

    Perhaps no state in the country is more affected by illegal immigration than Arizona and it seems everyone here has some opinion on the matter. But when all is said and done, most can agree that finding a solution that is both humane and effective is the right way to go.

    Beyond the economic and moral obligations to pass the bill, Republicans also have another added benefit, the potential of more Latino support in elections. Reestablishing support from Latinos is key for Republicans in future elections according to CNN, as Latinos make up 16 percent of the country’s population and are also the fastest-growing minority. Instead of alienating Latinos, Republicans need to relate better to problems that affect them instead of just looking to please the middle-age, white vote.

    The immigration bill is at least a start — even Fox News conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly understands that.

    “It’s not perfect, but it’s the right thing to do. The Republican Party has a lot to lose here. If it doesn’t compromise, many Hispanic voters will reject the GOP entirely, pretty much dooming the party in the future,” O’Reilly said.

    This is a far cry from the Republican-backed concept of self-deportation that was considered as recently as last November.

    The Senate did its job for once last week by passing the bill and moving a very complicated issue closer to a solution, but it is still a long way from becoming law. The House of Representatives may be a bigger mess than the Senate and with a Republican majority, things don’t look great for the bill passing in the House — at least not before drastic amendments are made to it.

    It’s great news we finally reached a compromise, but how much of it was really a sacrifice of political beliefs, or just a way to pander to an important demographic is difficult to determine at this point. Let’s hope for the sake of good politics, it’s the former.

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