The editorial board of the New York Times took a cautiously favorable view of Hillary Clinton's promise to take President Obama's executive actions on immigration further than his administration believes is within the law. The editorial and Clinton's comments define the immigration debate as strictly a question of what to do with the 11 million people in the U.S. illegally. The board writes:
A shot at citizenship is the only proper goal of sensible immigration reform. But even under the most generous and ambitious proposals, immigrants won't be able to reach that goal for years, if ever. Creating a citizenship path requires Congress to pass a bill, and there's no sign when that will happen. 'If Congress refuses to act,' Mrs. Clinton vowed, 'as president I will do everything possible under the law to go even further. There are more people -- like many parents of Dreamers and others with deep ties and contributions to our communities -- who deserve a chance to stay. I’ll fight for them, too.'
Looking at the 344 comments on the editorial, it is clear that readers of the Times, while caring about legalization and citizenship, have much broader interests regarding U.S. immigration policy and the proper goals of immigration reform.
Here are the top six comments recommended comments recommended by other readers:
Jane Alexandria, VA
So sad. I'm a liberal democrat and a school teacher, and this is the one aspect of my political world view where I apparently do not agree with Democrats. I've seen first hand what uncontrolled immigration has done to our schools and the opportunities it diminishes for our legal resident and citizen students.
It's mind blowing that some schools in Fairfax County are now in danger of losing their accreditation, a school system that just a couple of years ago was one of best in the country. And I can tell you, the teachers aren't any different, the student population is. They are a high needs population, where in some schools, the majority of new students are poor, transient and utterly without parental oversight at home. And the high schoolers are becoming parents themselves. We are creating a dumbed-down permanently poor and growing underclass of Americans with our current policy.
I think it's such an important issue for our country that we stop this madness, that at this point, there's no way I'll vote for a Democrat who intends to take executive action to make it easier for thousands more illiterate and uninterested students to arrive in our schools from the border.
Looks like I'll be voting for Rand Paul. I really can't believe it.
Democrats really need to decide if they want unlimited, no-borders immigration or if they want the social safety net. You really can't have both and expect to remain solvent for long.
Making millions of illegal immigrants legal and thereby eligible for Medicare, when they haven't paid a cent in the Medicare system, will only put further stresses on Medicare and make it more likely that no one has it in 20 years. Many of our public schools are overcrowded as it is, with immigrant students living in rentals that contribute very minimal property taxes to the system and at the same time demanding significant resources in English-learning and integration.
We have 315 million people in this country. California is already running low on water and our metro areas severely congested with traffic and existing development. At what point will we say enough? When we are as populous as China or India? What would our living standards be like then? Is this really what we want for our country? It seems politicians like Clinton don't really want this discussion, they just want cheap and easy votes for their party. It's shameful, really.
Todd Stuart Key West, Fl
We make legal immigrants wait years or decades to get into this country. Giving citizenship to people who cheated, cut the line, broke the law, pick your catch phrase, is a slap in the face to the legal immigrants doing it the right way.
Well so much for Clinton standing up for the middle class. That didn't last long. Legalizing the millions of illegal immigrants without enforcing further illegal immigration will just further crush the low skilled labor market in this country. With so many people in Baltimore and Muskogee, Oklahoma unemployed and living in poverty, do we really need millions more from predominantly Latin America? Go to any emergency department waiting room in the country and you'll wonder exactly who is paying for all this.
I'm tired of voting for another free trade (TPP) and no borders Democrat. The Democrats has played a very large hand in the last 40 years of middle class stagnation despite its rhetoric.
Justice Holmes Charleston, SC
Unfortunately because Americans refuse to have a rational conversation about immigration and illegal immigration in particular this will always be a divisive issue. Immigrants can be great for a country when they want to to be a part of the country, learn the language and assimilate but if they come only to recreate the culture they allegedly are running from how is that helpful?
When words like bigot, racist and other explosive terms are used to demonize anyone who doesn't say of course we'll take everyone, it ends discussion and hardens positions.
No country has an obligation to deatroy itself to help others. As in everthing in life immigration must be looked at rationally and must be allowed pursuant to a plan that is in the best interests of it the host country and its citizens.
Americans will remember this. That the Democratic Party sold this country out for the votes of people who had deliberately broken our immigration laws. Don't talk to me about the 1% or the evil Republicans. By not enforcing our existing immigration laws, the Democrats have completely devastated our labor market in the lower end and placed a terrible burden on our social safety net. There's a reason why so many school districts are in trouble and overcrowded, and we have so many children with free lunch. There's a reason why our safety net hospitals are completely overwhelmed. There's a reason why the vast majority of our heroin comes from our Southern border.
I will not vote for another Democrat who isn't serious about defending this nation's borders. We are a country with borders and the rule of law.
Here are the six comments recommended by the New York Times moderators:
Randy Tucker Ventura
I have been very skeptical of HRC. But I am encouraged by her willing to take this position in a loud and clear manner early in the process. (Maybe Bernie Sanders has put the fear of the liberal base in her.) In any case, if she really cares about the support of liberals such as myself she should continue proclaiming liberal positions on these issues which matter to us.
Dave Holzman Lexington MA
Had Hillary tied her support of amnesty to support for a mandatory, national E-Verify, and end to chain migration, anchor babies, and a reduction in immigration from the current 1 million annually to a few hundred thousand, I could still support her. But what with 18 million Americans out of work and looking, and another 40 million working age Americans unemployed, and given up looking, I can't vote for her now. And I'm a lifelong Democratic voter (since McGovern).
Wan Birmingham, Alabama
As one who was raised an FDR Democrat, and who has never voted for a Republican presidential candidate, i am sad to say that I will be unable to vote for Ms. Clinton, or any other Democratic candidate who does not recognize that our current immigration policy is leading our country to disaster. Many of those commenting here recognize this. They understand that our population growth is attributable to immigration-legal and illegal- and the social, and especially environmental implications of this are huge. I also think that the present Republican party is pathetic, and so will write in some candidate, as I have done before. The disappointing thing to me is that so many "liberals" refuse to see opposition to an "open borders" policy as anything other than racist. One cannot be a serious environmentalist and not recognize that the paving of America proceeds apace, that congestion, and pollution, and the loss of many species who inhabit our country are inevitable results of our population growth, which is attributable to immigration.
Garraty Cambridge MA
We need a foolproof nation ID. We need a connected database showing who has the right to work or the right to government services. And we need laws that strongly punish everybody who violates these laws, including those ultimately responsible for hiring them. In other words, we must stop encouraging people to immigrate illegally.
We also have to deal with the 11 million illegals already here. Having second class residents hurts all of us. We should open a relatively easy route to full citizenship for some and send the rest of them home now, immediately.
The twenty year old who was brought here shortly after birth and knows no other other country and the woman who raised him while working hard for less than what a citizen would demand deserve citizenship. They responded reasonably to the incentives we offered and have been here long enough to deserve acceptance. The laborer who has been here for three years should be deported. Somewhere between these examples we should draw the line and enforce a fair law.
Clinton also takes the lead in duplicity. We really need to change the law that says anyone born in the US automatically becomes a citizen. It should be that at least one parent must be a US citizen. The present law is outdated and illegal immigrants are taking advantage of this ridiculous law. Additionally, we should not be rewarding those who enter our country illegally by giving them a path to citizenship. That only encourages more illegals. We are supposed to be a country with borders. It is plain old, "not fair" or "right" in any way to allow illegals to become citizens. How do you satisfactorily explain that logic to all those who went through legal channels and those of us who are already citizens by law or birth? If you do not want to deport them they can stay until they die, but should never be allowed to become a US citizen.
Anna Gaw Jefferson City, MO
This is not about letting in immigrants. This is about the people who are here now, already working, already raising their families and sending their kids to our schools. Doing nothing, as Republicans propose, will not help this situation, it will just ignore it. Future immigration, legal or otherwise, will depend on global economics and climate change. NAFTA was a driver of the last illegal wave that came here from south of the border. Now congress is about ready to pass the TPP, mostly unseen. It may be just as bad or worse as NAFTA at driving inequality and destroying local economies. Stop blaming the victims of disaster capitalism. Undocumented people's are paying taxes here without representation and I think they have right to citizenship.
JEREMY BECK is the Director of the Media Standards Project for NumbersUSA
Updated: Fri, May 22nd 2015 @ 2:20pm EDT