Pearce’s Dream­ers bill of­fers in­terim so­lu­tion

Albuquerque Journal - - OPINION -

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce of Hobbs, who’s seek­ing the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion for gover­nor in 2018, has filed a bill that would al­low “Dream­ers” — chil­dren whose par­ents came to the U.S. il­le­gally, but who are pro­tected from de­por­ta­tion by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals, or DACA — an op­por­tu­nity to stay in the coun­try for a decade or more.

It’s a rea­son­able al­ter­na­tive to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s man­date that DACA ex­pire on March 6, leav­ing some 800,000 Dream­ers na­tion­wide — and be­tween 7,000 and 8,000 in New Mex­ico — liv­ing with the specter of even­tual de­por­ta­tion.

Pearce’s bill — HR 4488 — would cre­ate a “con­di­tional pro­tected sta­tus” for cur­rent DACA re­cip­i­ents. The le­gal sta­tus would be ac­tive for 10 years, with the op­tion of re­newal. The bill would also al­low ap­pli­cants to seek per­ma­nent le­gal sta­tus through ex­ist­ing im­mi­gra­tion pro­ce­dures. His leg­is­la­tion would not re­quire any work, ed­u­ca­tion or mil­i­tary ser­vice to qual­ify.

Al­though the pro­posal falls short of Pearce’s ear­lier in­sis­tence that any im­mi­gra­tion re­form of­fer a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to our ail­ing im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem, his pro­posal takes the pres­sure off those im­mi­grants fac­ing Trump’s March 6 dead­line.

It also gives Congress time to craft so­lu­tions to the na­tion’s un­man­age­able im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem, which in­cludes chain mi­gra­tion and the Diversity Visa Lottery.

Chain mi­gra­tion refers to the “chains” of for­eign na­tion­als who are al­lowed to im­mi­grate to the United States be­cause cit­i­zens and law­ful per­ma­nent res­i­dents are al­lowed to spon­sor fam­ily mem­bers for im­mi­gra­tion to the U.S. An­ti­im­mi­gra­tion groups say bas­ing the process solely on fam­ily con­nec­tions al­lows far too many un­skilled im­mi­grants into the coun­try. Im­mi­gra­tion pro­po­nents say fam­ily-based im­mi­gra­tion helps new­com­ers as­sim­i­late bet­ter be­cause they have more so­cial and eco­nomic sup­port.

The Diversity Visa Lottery, also known as the Green Card Lottery, was de­signed to en­sure a di­verse pop­u­la­tion of im­mi­grants. But it is in dire need of re­form or elim­i­na­tion.

There’s also the con­tin­ued need for im­proved bor­der se­cu­rity — and not just through Trump’s ex­pen­sive bor­der wall .

As an in­terim so­lu­tion to the nu­mer­ous and vex­ing prob­lems of im­mi­gra­tion, Pearce’s bill has merit. But the real work lies ahead.

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