The South Carolina Immigration Coalition, a partner of the Lowcountry Immigration Coalition, recently met with the staff of Sen. Lindsey Graham to urge him to continue to support comprehensive immigration reform.
President Barack Obama has supported immigration reform in word and deed early in his presidency and subsequently in his recent inaugural address and in his State of the Union address. Republicans, including the recently anointed "Republican Savior," Sen. Marco Rubio, have now learned from the beating they took among Hispanic voters in the last election that they must finally consider reform legislation.
If Congress truly means to rectify this broken system, which is based on racial profiling and the destruction of families, they should not worry about decrying the president's position. There is general agreement among most of the pending proposals to support a roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who aspire to be Americans, with the immediate granting of provisional legal status to allow individuals to live and work in the U.S. while awaiting citizenship.
We understand that legislation is likely to include a fine or other penalty for crossing the border, and applicants will need to wait a reasonable period of time to become citizens. However, all such actions should proceed concurrently with any additional border security efforts. (The border immigration rate is already zero or a negative outflow.)
National statistics continue to show that the country favors the move to comprehensive reform. Let's get it done -- now.
George Kanuck, co-chairman
Lowcountry Immigration Coalition