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Immigration overhaul due for rocky debate

President Joe Biden said, after being sworn in, that one of his priorities would be immigration reform that would offer a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people living in the United States illegally. On Thursday, Biden and congressional Democrats proposed a plan to do that.

The plan gives green cards to farm workers, immigrants with temporary protected status and the “Dreamers,” young people brought illegally into the country as children. It would give them a five-year plan to reach temporary legal status, then pursue citizenship after three years if they pass background checks, pay taxes and prove themselves good citizen material.

This is not going to be an easy bill to pass. The bill doesn’t do anything for enhanced border security, and without that it will be seen as “throwing open the borders.”

Donald Trump rode to the presidency by promising to “build the wall,” and deport anyone who was here without permission. Their pathway to citizenship would be to go back across the border and apply for the right to come it.

There should be a middle patch for immigration reform, somewhere between open borders and tossing all the illegals out. That middle road would include allowing the “Dreamers” to stay; making a better effort to identify the truly “bad actors” who should be deported and providing ways for immigrants to come and work in industries where they are needed, such as agriculture and food processing. And yes, our borders should be secure, with a reasonable process for those who come here seeking asylum.

It is up to Congress to come up with a way to accomplish that. We wish them luck.

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