It was refreshing to read the reasonable and insightful ideas on immigration policy put forward by the new GOP national committeeman from Nebraska.
David Kramer, an Omaha attorney, told the Journal Star that, “The way to fix illegal immigration is to fix legal immigration.”
“Protecting the border is fundamental,” Kramer said. “But if you expand the ability of people to come in legally, you may go a long way toward solving the problem.”
Practical and enlightened policies on immigration have been championed in years past by Republican leaders, including former Sen. Chuck Hagel and President George W. Bush.
They were clouted down by their party’s majority, however, and some conservative spokesmen have gone out of their way to demonize illegal immigrants.
The results were predictable. In 2004, George W. Bush received 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. In 2012 Mitt Romney received 27 percent.
Finally, Republicans have begun to realize that demographics are not on their side, and some congressional leaders have said they plan to revive a bipartisan plan for comprehensive immigration reform. House speaker John Boehner said he is confident that Republicans can find common ground on the issue.
Kramer, who ran for the Republican Senate nomination in 2006, was ahead of the curve.
The plan he proposed then would have allowed illegal immigrants who had been in the United States for more than five years a chance to gain legal status if they could meet a strict set of requirements.
Kramer, the son of an immigrant mother from Panama, said he does not want to allow or provide amnesty.
Instead, he suggested, if a person has been here more than five years, never been arrested or convicted of a felony, paid taxes and is a good, hard-working, contributing member of society, might be offered a pathway to legal status if he or she pays a fine and "gets in line behind others who are following the rules for citizenship."
One of the fundamental problems with American policy on immigration is that the pathway to legal status is so complicated and filled with roadblocks that it seems like virtually no pathway at all.
That clogged legal pathway, combined with the willingness of employers in the United States to hire illegal workers, has created the current situation in which an estimated 11 million immigrants are in the country illegally.
Meanwhile, Congress has been obsessed with closing the border that the country now spends more on immigration enforcement than all other federal law enforcement combined, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
That’s why, when Kramer says the way to fix the problem of illegal immigration is to fix legal immigration, he has facts and logic on his side.