JUNE 26, 2007
In order to overcome the present standstill in Congress between Republicans and Democrats, concerning the proposed Immigration Bill, it should be a good exercise to look for help both at the teachings of the Founding Fathers and at modern legal theories.
In the Federalist No. 51, James Madison wrote as follows: "... In the compound republic of America, the power surrendered by the people is first divided between two distinct governments, and then the portionallotted to each subdivided among distinct and separate departments. Hence a double security arises to the rights of the people. The different governments will control each other; at the same time that each will be controlled by itself".
John Rawls, the renowned author of the essay "Justice as Fairness", made the following statement: "... inequalities are arbitrary unless it is reasonable to expect that they will work out for everyone's advantage, and provided the positions and offices to which they attach, or from which they may be gained, are open to all. These principles express justice as a complex of three ideas: liberty, equality, and reward for services contributing to the common good".
Since the proposed Bill mentions a maximum of eight years for additional (and probation) periods to be granted to illegal immigrants currently living in the USA, if fairness is indeed sought, it should contemplate the rights of both the mentioned immigrants and of the local communities, where they live and might be registered.
The latter should be granted the power to recommend to their respective State Governments, on a case by case basis, which length of probation (additional) time should be granted to each individual (maximum eight years), depending on how he or she should be rewarded for services contributing to the common good, among other fair and acceptable criteria.
Each State, given information provided by each county, should also be in a position to recommend to the Union who should be eligible to aspire to US citizenship (after the eight years period), and who should not. Those ascribed a short probation period (let's say three years only) should be allowed to require extension or extensions, based on their merits and/or their impeccable civil behavior.
It is worth keeping in mind that a massive deportation of illegal immigrants would probably result in a widespread lack of manpower and high inflation rates in the USA, for months (or years) in a row. Also, sending illegals back to their countries of origin would enormously impair the already low capacity of those countries to cope with problems connected to huge miserable populations.
The "touch base" clause should be dropped down, as it would bring about a bureaucratic nightmare and unbearable/unnecessary costs.
Antonio Bueno (El Americanista)
© Antonio José Telles Bueno. All rights reserved. Full quoting always permitted if the name of the author is mentioned.
1) The "Essential Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers"
Hackett Publishing Company (2003)
2) "Justice as Fairness", John Rawls, in "Contemporary Political Philosophy"
Blackwell Publishing (2006 - second edition)