By Sarah E Blackwell, Jan 12 2019 11:19PM
Last night, I phoned my best friend. I have known her for almost 40 years. Not long into the conversation, she says to me, "There's something I don't understand. Why aren't Democrats using their leverage to demand a path to citizenship for Dreamers?"
"Hah!" I said. "Good question. But why stop at Dreamers? Why not give a path to citizenship to all undocumented? After alll, 80% of them have been here for more than 10 years, and we can't deport them all without trashing the U.S. economy. Just look at the state of the immigration courts! There are about 800,000 cases pending. I can't get a trial date fo r a client in less than 3 years, and ofthen those dates get cancelled. I've got a couple who have already been waiting six years and their trial date just got cancelled. I'll be lucky if I get a new trial date before 2022. It's insane. And all at taxpayere expense. Do you no how much a path to citizenshp would cost taxpayers?"
"Nothing!! USCIS is funded completely with filing fees. And probably 80% of cases pending in the immigration court would get dismissed. Then, finally, the immigration courts would once again be efficient."
Then I told that I had written a letter in late November 2018 to every member of the Appropriations Committees for both the House and the Senate and to every member of the Immigration SubCommittees of both the House and the Senate suggesting just that, i.e. a path to citizenship for the 10 million people in the US who are undocumented. I said that the path should have a penalty of $5,000 and that the amount was not unreasonable because all my clients who are eligible for a green card under current laws are paying more than that. Plus, the fine could be paid off over a period of time, perhaps 5 years.
"How much money do you think that would generate?" I said. Then I answered the question for her : "$50 billion. Now, put that money into a trust fund and use it to pay for The Walll as well as other things like foreign aid to Central America and programs to help immigrants integrate into American society, e.g. English classes, scholarships, start-up funds for businesses, etc. All without using taxpayer dollars."
"Did you hear back from anyone?" she says.
"Senator Baldwin. She said she didn't agree with using taxpayer dollars to fund The Wall."
"So she completely missed your point."
"If you and I can talk like this, why can't Congress?"
"Who knows? But it's really disheartening."