Response to recent conversation

Last Thursday’s Atlanta Forward blog asked whether illegal immigrants should be granted a path to citizenship. Here are some reader comments on the issue.

GTT: Admit it: "Real reform" means harassing the millions of undocumented people out of the country who were encouraged to enter by business and government including, at the time, conservative Republicans.

Centrist: There will not be an added pathway for citizenship for illegal immigrants. Maybe a pathway for legal full-time residency with a green card. Sorry, Democrats.

Whirled Pass: Most of the illegal aliens are from Central America, which is highly Catholic. Archbishop Wilton Gregory is not promoting some high-minded morality. He is trying to feather his own nest and fill his own pews. I am Catholic. I am also very much against legalizing those who have broken our laws. We do not need "comprehensive" immigration reform. We need comprehensive enforcement of existing borders and immigration laws.

Shamehia: The notion that impoverished peasants who live hand-to-mouth are going to pay fines and back taxes is absurd. When millions of them can't pay, what then? Will they be deported? Not a chance. We need a solution to the illegal immigration issue, but insulting our intelligence with the "pay their debt" thing is not helpful.

Agent: The U.S. already has a path to citizenship. The government just needs to enforce it.

GCPS: Our public education system is a disaster, and illegal immigration and over-immigration is a big factor. We need to stop taking in every country's poor and under-educated. We will never be able to compete with China on education because our public schools are forced to educate a host of different languages and cultures. China and most other highly industrialized counties are moving far above the U.S. because they don't have the illegal immigration burden we have. The U.S. is going to continue to suffer if we don't stop illegal immigration, put limits and strict guidelines on legal immigration, and find a way to make illegals who are here pay for the years they have taken from the U.S. Our immigration system is destroying our country. It will be a lifelong burden for the children of U.S. citizens, and those children will be burdened as adults to financially carry the burden.

SAWB: Those who ignore the legal process create a variety of problems for citizens and actual legal aliens, but forcing these people to remain in an illegal status does nothing to solve these problems. People who are here illegally should be granted guest worker status and allowed to stay without any major financial penalty. However, guest worker status should not automatically lead to citizenship. Citizenship may be granted for immigrant children, those who serve in the military or possibly other very narrow categories. However, for the most part, those who broke the law to enter should remain in guest worker status.