IMMIGRATION RESET.

IMMIGRATION RESET. Like Ezra, my thinking so far is that the Senate-White House compromise on immigration reform is better than nothing, especially for the 12 million undocumented people already living, working, and paying taxes in the United States who can now become legitimate, open members of society. The strengthening of border security wasn't a surprise. And it's great news that the deal encompasses the DREAM Act, which would give children brought to the U.S. illegally a path toward citizenship and access to financial aid for college.

The bad news, though, is that there will still be a large population of undocumented workers in this country. The combination of amnesty for undocumented immigrants already here and the creation of a guest worker program is akin to hitting a "reset" button -- really only a temporary fix. Does anybody realistically think many of the proposed 400,000-600,000 "guests" won't stay on in the U.S. as undocumented laborers, recreating an underclass that brings down wages?

I also need to learn more about the process of turning the 4-year "Z visa" into a Green card and then citizenship. This morning's papers say the head of household must return to her or his country of origin to apply for citizenship. But for how long? Initial reports yesterday said a full year. That seems like an unfair burden on families that will dissuade many from attaining citizenship and thus deplete the number of immigrants on the voter rolls. And we know which party benefits from that.

--Dana Goldstein

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