Suggestions for a Compassionate and Just Immigration

Speaking of compassionate immigration should be more than a rhetorical stiletto to carve one’s opinion into law by portraying opponents as being uncompassionate if they do not support amnesty, weak borders, or fast-tracking illegals.[1] Compassionate immigration needs to be just and just immigration needs to be compassionate.

By immigration being compassionate and just, I do not mean for any one particular group over another, but rather, it must be so for everyone. If it does not include justice and compassion for everyone involved, it is merely biasedly just and compassionate which is really not compassionate or just at all. Therefore, legal immigration is the only compassionate and just method for becoming citizens. I would suggest the following in order to achieve compassionate and just immigration:

First, in order to compassionately and justly solve our present self-created immigration predicament, the plan must include all principal parties. This means that all five relevant groups must be included in the plan. The groups are illegals who are currently in America, potential future illegals, all native-born Americans, all immigrants who came into America legally, and immigrants who are currently entering America through the legal process of immigration. Plans that fail to include all five groups seem to fail to measure up to being just and compassionate.

Additionally, any argument for permanent legal status in lieu of citizenship seems to be a tactic that will provide a surer path to granting citizenship since the argument for granting full citizenship to those with permanent legal status is much more compelling than granting citizenship to illegal immigrants. It seems to me once permanent legal status is granted, we will immediately see arguments for full citizenship become even more widespread and cogent. This is because the argument from illegal to citizenship is naturally more difficult to accept than the argument from granting full constitutional protection to a group of people who are permanently in the U.S. legally. I oppose permanent legal status in order to resolve our illegal immigration disarray. It only gives the appearance of solving our dilemma while actually perpetuating illegal immigration.

Second, there must be a commitment plan in operation that eliminates all illegal immigration so that we can finally stop this unjust and uncompassionate cycle of illegal immigration and bypassing the legal immigration process—amnesty. It is not thoroughly compassionate to continue the system that is the genesis of our recurring and present illegal immigrant dilemma. According to NumbersUSA, Congress has passed amnesty legislation seven times since 1986, which has amnestied six million illegal immigrants.[2]

Although amnesty proponents always promise to secure the border once the illegals are amnestied, the self-evident truth is these promises are repeatedly broken and our borders are not secured. This is undeniable. To legalize illegal immigrants on the basis of a promise to secure the borders has proven itself to be a perpetuator of illegal immigration rather than a resolvent for the problem. We see emotive political rhetoric at its worst when politicians present the requirement to secure the borders before legalizing any illegal immigrants as requiring a ransom or bribery.

Consequently, consideration of legalizing any illegal immigrant without prior or concomitantly enacted legislation that secures all avenues into the U.S. appears to be nothing more than another ploy by those who support illegal immigration and porous borders. I do not wish to participate in another theatrical charade of who has the most compassion when such is anything but just and compassionate.

Legalizing illegals is unjust and uncompassionate toward native-born Americans who live here legally because it illegally and dictatorially imposes an illegal population upon legal citizens; such will eventually make America similar to the countries the illegals fled. Arguing that it is compassionate to legalize illegals while bypassing the normal and legal immigration process encourages future illegals coming into the country, and continues the status quo of porous borders. This will inevitably lead to a repeat of our present Sisyphean predicament; that is what is most uncompassionate.

History is quite clear about this prediction. History tells us that legalizing illegals without securing the borders degrades contemporary arguments of compassionate legalization into being quite hollow. Sometimes, a temporary fix is compassionate for certain problems, but it is not so when the temporary fix is divorced from the long-term comprehensive solution, which would actually protect all five groups mentioned. Serial amnesty is an insult to every citizen who came into the U.S. through the arduous process of legal immigration. Admittedly, regardless of our efforts, we still often fail to consistently apply compassion and justice in every circumstance; however, this failure does not seem to justify a Christian actively promoting unjust and comprehensively uncompassionate illegalities and their offspring.

Third, all who are here illegally must be considered to be here illegally. They do not have legal rights to function as a citizen or legal resident while operating illegally. We can do this with both compassion and justness; we should always strive to justly and compassionately interact with people who break the law. Additionally, deportation is not ipso facto uncompassionate. I believe those who need to be deported can be deported in a just and compassionate way. It requires evaluating the various components that need to be entailed in the program. But to castigate deportation as being uncompassionate is at least parochial and most probably merely a political tactic by some.

I consider Dreamers a subset of illegal immigrants since they are immigrants who are here illegally. If they are going to be treated as a distinct group within illegal immigrants because of their unique status of being in the U.S. by virtue of the choice of others, the process must be compassionate and just to all groups previously mentioned. Therefore, they must not be granted an alternate pathway to citizenship. Rather they must come through the same legal process as all other legal immigrants; this benefits everyone including Dreamers as future citizens.

The following seems to provide a compassionate and just avenue for this unique group. The dreamers make their status known, and thereby, become eligible for citizenship by going through the legal immigration process. They must take their place behind those who chose to enter the U.S. legally and are already in process to become a citizen. Dreamers can be given renewable temporary passes which would permit them to remain in the country legally until they can complete the legal process.

Given our present impasse, this seems to provide the same opportunity to Dreamers as afforded all who come through the legal system to be educated about America and vetted before becoming citizens. The length of time of their temporary passes can be based upon the projected amount of time needed for them to complete the legal process. This does provide a compassionate path for this unique group without unduly trampling upon any of the other groups or the legal process. Even this accommodation must be seen as unique.

I am willing to consider this unique arrangement as possibly meeting the just and compassionate criteria solely because we as a country are uncompassionately complicitous in their status due to our failure to secure our borders; securing the borders and limiting future immigration to the normal legal process is the only way to avoid such future complicity.

Fourth, we also must include eliminating every aspect of our present structure that incentivizes illegal immigration. This will include such things as eliminating easily penetrable borders and laws, programs like catch and release, and the freedom for employers to capitalize on hiring illegal immigrants.[3] If some businesses cannot survive without illegal employees, then the nature of capitalism is that they do not survive.

Although this is not the place to fully explore the argument that Americans will not do the work that illegals are willing to do, let me say, having owned and operated my own business in the past, I have dealt with this problem first-hand. I am convinced that either the major reason or one of the major reasons that able-bodied people will not work for low wages or work in less than optimal jobs is that the government welfare system supports them for doing nothing. Often they make more by staying at home than the jobs for which their skill level is suitable will pay.

I have actually had able-bodied adults come and apply for a job, only to turn the job down because I could not compete with their welfare income and perks. If we end the free ride for able-bodied Americans, we will see that they, as their predecessors prior to the welfare state, will work.

Fifth, while the legal process for immigration may need to be updated, it should not be bypassed by some because the U.S. still grants one-million applicants permanent citizenship per year.[4] If it is broken, fix it. It stands little chance of being repaired as long as our attention is devoted to transforming illegal immigrants into legal citizens while bypassing the rigors of the legal immigration process and ignoring those who are entering the U.S. legally. To think it will be updated while focusing on creative illegal immigration is sheer reverie.

Entering illegally as a path to legal citizenship is a tawdry, unjust, and uncompassionate replacement for using the legal process even though it is in need of updating. This is because any illegal pathway is broken both as a concept and mechanism, whereas, legal immigration is conceptually sound even if the mechanism is dated.

Restricting immigration to the legal process is the only way to channel the necessary energy and resources to correct the inadequacies of the legal process and end illegal immigration. Promoting or nurturing illegal immigration based upon actual, or even worse exaggerated, inadequacies of the legal immigration process promotes political laziness and perpetuation of illegal immigration. Normalization of illegal immigration as a pathway to citizenship undermines every aspect of legal immigration; this is both unjust and uncompassionate.

[1] Amnesty is used in reference to any process that bypasses the legal process for immigrants becoming citizens, thereby, lacking due consideration of all five groups.
[2] “The Seven Amnesties Passed by Congress” 8/26/09, retrieved from
[3] Catch and release permits catching illegal immigrants and then freeing them while they await a hearing on their illegal status.
[4] “How Many Immigration Applications Are Filed Each Year?” retrieved from