Isaac Hasson, Northwestern '14, Aspiring something
Governor Barbour, thank you for your spirited and consistent support of comprehensive immigration reform. What do you think is the most significant impact immigrants had on your state during your term as Governor and whose immigration ideas are you impressed with among the 2016 GOP candidates?
My interest in and focus on immigration reform resulted from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Large numbers of Spanish-speakers poured into the worst hit area of South Mississippi and the Gulf Coast and worked tirelessly, often living under terrible conditions. I can’t imagine how much less progress would have been achieved were it not for these immigrants.
Mississippi does not have as large an immigrant population as some other states, but our immigrants are productive. From Indian-American physicians to Mexican workers in our boiler industry to Vietnamese fishermen, immigrants work hard, take care of their families and contribute to our economy.
But we need a better legal immigration system as well as far better enforcement of our immigration laws, including border security and visa enforcement. People here illegally need a system to admit their guilt, pay a fine and court costs and, if they pass a background check and have paid their taxes, they should be put on probation for a significant period of years. They would be legally in the United States as long as they did not violate probation, could work in the United States and leave and return to the United States if they care to. They would get no special path to citizenship but after successful completion of probation could apply for a green card and get in line for that and subsequently citizenship like any other immigrant.
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