Thursday, August 19, 2010

Immigration Bankruptcy: A Novel Solution to a Divisive Issue?

Posted By on Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 5:04 AM

John Lamb is floating a great idea with a terrible name (though the name kind of gets across what he's aiming for, so maybe it's not so terrible). The idea: Design some kind of "immigration bankruptcy" proceedings. In other words, let's create a way for people to get into the system and become legal under court supervision.

They're hashing out details in the comments over there, if you're interested — and I think this is exactly the kind of important immigration discussion we need to have as a community. People are here; they're contributing to society; they have jobs, kids, pay taxes. How do we help them set things right in a way that isn't too disruptive?

Regular bankruptcy allows a person who has screwed up financially to get a fresh start. Is it too much to ask that people who screw up with regards to immigration can't have the same chance? Or that kids who were brought here have a way to stay in the country they've lived in most of their lives?

It's funny, just on a side note, what the concept of "anchor babies" has behind it. In real life, having a baby in the U.S. while you're here illegally provides no benefit. It doesn't make it easier for you to stay, nor more likely that you can become a citizen. But most people think we live in a nation that wouldn't dick over a child that hard. It's easier to believe that having a baby here gives you some "unfair" advantage than it is to face the fact that we separate parents from their children and/or regularly "deport" U.S. citizens just because they're children.

Something like "immigration bankruptcy" isn't actually that radical, when you realize how most Americans think the system works. It just brings our beliefs about the inherent fairness of our country in line with the truth.

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