Goldwater on Immigration Reform
Immigration problems within the United States immigration
system have remained the same for several years. Congress has been unable to
come up with a plan that satisfies the majority, whether headed by Democrats or
Republicans. Immigration problems are an issue that every political candidate
is forced to address. In 1978, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater defied a plan
that would be similar to one that Congress rejected backed by former President George Bush and fellow
Arizona Senator John McCain.
The plan in question was a reform of
the United States immigration policy that would rely on amnesty, or
forgiveness, by granting undocumented illegal immigrants in America a quick path to citizenship. It also imposed stricter sanctions on
employers who knowingly hired illegal immigrants, punishing them with fines and
possible jail time. The hope would be that such actions would cause the number
of jobs open to illegal immigrants to dry up and would slow the number of
illegal immigrants who came to the United States each year.
Goldwater had two major criticisms of the plan. His first criticism was that by
granting amnesty to the millions of illegal immigrants in the United States would
effectively be rewarding someone for illegal behavior. Goldwater also feared
that the amnesty policy would actually increase immigration problems by causing
tension amongst those immigrants who had undertaken the difficult process of
became a naturalized United States citizen. His second criticism of the plan
focused on the employer sanctions. He claimed that sanctions could raise civil
rights violation issues.
Goldwater proposed an alternate solution. He believed that an expansion of the
temporary worker program would allow Mexican immigrants to enter the United
States on a temporary legal basis and address America’s need for seasonal
workers. The extensions would be good for a time period of roughly six months,
although not necessarily consecutive. Goldwater also believed that the United
States immigration system should have worked on its immigration problems of
monitoring the border by updating the technology and inspection process.