Alberto Gonzales: On Immigration, Better To Be Political Opportunist Than Stubborn Fool

Author:Mr Alberto Gonzales
Profession:Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis

Republican lawmakers have recently introduced bills to provide permanent resident legal status to qualified immigrant children brought here illegally by their parents, and to increase the number of visas for foreign-born graduates with advanced high-tech degrees. Coming just weeks after the poor showing by Republicans among Hispanic voters in the November 2012 elections, critics have characterized these efforts as nothing more than a desperate attempt at political survival. This may indeed be true.

However, better to be known as a political opportunist rather than as a stubborn fool who ignores the reality of a growing demographic political tidal wave in America.

Some Republicans continue to fight reform under the belief that if immigrants become citizens many will support the Democratic Party - Alberto Gonzales, Former U.S. Attorney General

As a starting point, I support providing some form of legal status to qualified children of immigrants who go to college or serve in the military. The proposed legislation, however, provides only permanent resident status, with no pathway to citizenship. The current posture of our government favors that lawful permanent residents seek citizenship once eligible. The reason given to deny these immigrant children the same opportunity is so their parents are not rewarded for their unlawful actions. I defer to Congress on this policy.

However, the children who qualify for this program will be persons who are college educated or have served in the military. These are precisely the type of individuals we should all want as fellow citizens. If we do not provide a pathway to citizenship now, we will likely be revisiting the question of their citizenship in the near future.

If Congress is concerned about fairness to the children of parents who followed the law, then legislators could still provide a pathway to citizenship to the children of parents who did not, but require an extended wait and a higher fee for eligibility if they later wish to become citizens.

Additionally, Congress could prohibit these lawful permanent residents from filing a petition for legal status for any family member, other than a subsequently acquired spouse and minor children. This would address concerns that by providing legal status to these immigrant children, we do not provide a pathway to legal status for the parents who came into this country unlawfully.

I also support increasing the number of high-tech visas in order to encourage...

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