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baltimoresun.com

Getting at the roots of our immigration problem

2:30 PM EDT, August 12, 2011

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The recent lawsuit to thwart Marylanders' right to petition the immigrant tuition bill seems inconsistent. On one hand, proponents of the suit argue their position adheres to the law. On the other, they condone violating the law by illegal immigrants.

The motivation to help children of illegal immigrants is commendable, but why not get at the root problem? A few years ago, clergy in Houston, Texas, worked up a proposal acceptable to a broad base of representatives from the African-American, Hispanic and Anglo communities. The plan consisted of three objectives.

First, make the immigration process work efficiently. As anyone who's dealt with green cards knows, getting a clear, quick response from the INS bureaucracy is nearly impossible. The present system incentivizes illegal immigration to get urgent work done on time. It needs to be fixed.

Second, the borders must be adequately protected. Either we have immigration law, or we don't. If our grandparents immigrated legally, then anyone else can, too.

Third, there must be a process for citizenship for those who have immigrated illegally prior to a cut-off date. This process promotes compliance to existing law; it is not simple amnesty.

Charles Clough, Bel Air