Saturday, July 5, 2014

Legalizing undocumented immigrants should be our first immigration priority, and Americans support a full pathway to citizenship

More than half of all Americans in a CNN/ORC International poll argued that the first priority on immigration should be providing a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants living in the country, while only 41 percent believed that stopping unauthorized immigration should be the top priority. These results stand in sharp relief to similar polling done in 2011 and before, when a majority of Americans believed that stopping unauthorized immigration should come before allowing undocumented immigrants access to legal status. As CNN Polling Director Keating Holland argued, “The Republicans’ insistence that border security be the primary focus of U.S. immigration policy may have been a popular stand in 2011, but not necessarily in 2014.”
Overall, 8 out of 10 Americans believed that undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for years and are employed, speak English, and would pay back taxes should be allowed to become citizens, while nearly two-thirds of those polled stated that they would oppose a bill that only granted legal status but no way to achieve citizenship. Both of these results were more or less consistent regardless of whether the respondent was a Democrat, a Republican, or an independent. It is clear from the poll that the American public supports a full pathway to citizenship, not merely the granting of second-class legal status. This poll in no way implies that security at our borders does not also remain a seriousl problem that must be dealt with simultaneously.   
The Boston Irish Group has steadfastly and unwaveringly stood in support of the concept that the very first step toward meaningful and lasting U.S. immigration reform must be a permanent resolution of the plight of undocumented people currently living, working, and raising their families here in the U.S. Many came here fleeing oppression in their native countries. In some cases, the oppression was political, in others it was economic. We are convinced if they thought that the United States of America offered them, through hard work, the opportunity to make a good and decent life for themselves and their families, they should be given the opportunity to prove themselves. On this 238th birthday of the United States of America, let us pledge to continue our proud heritage as a nation who has always granted opportunity to people from other lands and has benefitted greatly from our generosity and our vision for the future. 
Also it should be noted that unlike other immigrant service providers, the Boston Irish Group which is comprised of American citizens, green card holders, and undocumented Irish nationals have never asked for or accepted a single penny for the services that they provide to the undocumented community that they serve. 
Jack Meehan, National President Emeritus 
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Boston Irish Group