• George Farag

For Pete’s Sake, Illegal Immigrants Should Not be “Fast Tracked” to Citizenship

Updated: Dec 28, 2019

Mayor Pete Buttigieg said, “When I am president I will make sure that this is a country of laws and of values.” Meanwhile, he wants to fast track illegal alien children to citizenship. He is encouraging people to break the law and punishing immigrants who legally came to America. These are not values I share.

In a previous post, entitled Earth to Democrats, I urged the democrats to include immigration in the Presidential debates. The topic was absent from the October and November debates although it is important to the American people. I also argued that many of the immigration policies they are recommending do not reflect the desires of the majority of the American people.

In the December debate in Los Angeles immigration was finally discussed. But some of the policy announcements were still baffling. Most of the candidates gave their scripted responses on DACA and border separations. But Mayor Pete Buttigieg from Indiana turned up the bizarre in his answers.

Mayor Pete called for a “fast track” to citizenship for the children of almost 5,500 families that entered the U.S. illegally. These kids were separated from their parents at the southern border. Buttigieg said, “they should have a fast-track to citizenship because what the United States did under this president to them was wrong. We have a moral obligation to make right what was broken.”

I understand the sensitive of the family separation issue on the southern border. I know it is a hot-button topic for many people. I want to remove the passion and focus on the policy of the issue. Thousands of parents are illegally crossing the southern border to enter America. They make the dangerous journey with their underage children.

Under U.S. law it is a crime to make an unauthorized crossing of the American border. All adults entering into the U.S. illegally must be criminally prosecuted. They are arrested and held in federal detention centers as they wait to see a federal judge.

Also under U.S. law children cannot stay with their parents in federal detention. This is from a 1997 ruling during the Clinton Administration called the Flores v. Reno Settlement Agreement. The ruling forces immigration authorities to release children from detention without unnecessary delay. The kids can be released to their parents, adult relatives, or licensed programs willing to accept custody in that order.

So the children, through no fault of their own, enter the United States illegally. They are then separated from their families under U.S. law. The separation is horrible for the children but it is not illegal.

Under Mayor Pete’s proposal the parents who crossed the border illegally will be rewarded with “fast-tracked” citizenship for their children.

There are several problems with this proposal. I will focus on two: First, it is not fair to the millions of people who went through the legal immigration process. Second, it sets a precedent that encourages people to continue illegally entering America.

I wonder if Mayor Pete spoke with people who legally immigrated to America about his proposal? According to the Department of Homeland Security there are 13.2 million lawful permanent residents (LPRs) in the United States. LPRs are folks who immigrated through the legal immigration process.

They all paid thousands of dollars in the immigration process. Many of them waited decades before their turn came to move to America. They are now legally living and working in the United States with a “green card.” Of the 13.2 million LPRs, 9 million are eligible to naturalize. This means they are eligible to apply for American citizenship.

The legal road to American citizenship for immigrants is long, costly, and complicated. I should know. My parents and I are naturalized American citizens. We immigrated to America legally and waited for our turn to receive our American nationality.

I decided to ask current LPRs in our community in Jersey City, NJ, how they felt about Buttigieg’s proposal. All the people that I spoke to disapproved of the idea. They don’t understand the rationale that people who came to the U.S. illegally can cut in line before them for naturalization. Mona, a Jordanian who is now an LPR said “I don’t let people cut in line at the supermarket, I definitely won’t let it happen for U.S. citizenship.”

American citizens, who have LPR relatives, were also taken back by the proposal. One man was particularly enraged. Mark is an American citizen but his wife and daughter are LPRs. His daughter was turned down for a job with the federal government because she is not a U.S. citizen. The family is waiting for her turn to be naturalized. The hope she can reapply for the job once she is naturalized.

Mark understands the plight of illegal immigrants. But he does not think it is fair to promise them fast track citizenship. His daughter has done everything legally and needs to wait for years for her citizenship.

Buttigieg’s proposal also set’s a disturbing precedence. It tells foreigners that if you break the law by illegally coming to America you will be rewarded. Your children will be fast-tracked for American citizenship. Million of parents wish for the American citizenship for their children. They would sacrifice everything for this opportunity.

With this policy we will have thousands who would risk their lives and their children’s lives each day to cross into America. The situation on the border would get worst not better.

During the debate Mayor Pete said, “When I am president I will make sure that this is a country of laws and of values.” Meanwhile, he wants to fast track illegal alien children to citizenship. He is encouraging people to break the law and punishing immigrants who legally came to America. These are not values I share.

For Pete’s sake, illegal aliens should not be “fast tracked” to citizenship.

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