In contrast to the gloom and hatred generated by Donald Trump's headline-grabbing anti-immigrant rants, supported by Ann Coulter's dark warnings about "third-world" immigrants turning America into a "hellhole" inhabited by Latino "child rapists" and Mexicans who are allegedly more dangerous to this country than ISIS fighters, not to mention Patrick Buchanan, the one time advocate for accused Nazi concentration camp guards now turned defender of "Western" (i.e. white) "culture" against Hispanics in our midst; a ray of sunshine and voice of reason, compassion and reality has appeared in the person of former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, now a Democratic presidential candidate.

On July 14, Governor O'Malley released a series of immigration reform proposals with the statement that:

"The enduring symbol of our nation is the Statue of Liberty, not a barbed wire fence."

See The Hill: O'Malley pledges to create a more welcoming immigration system

http://thehill.com/campaign-issues/i...gration-system

The Hill also quotes O'Malley as follows:

"We are, and always have been, a nation of immigrants and our immigration laws must reflect our values. That is why we need to reform a system that is callous, irrational, inhumane and unjust by providing immediate relief to millions of New Americans and fighting for immigration reform to bring our neighbors out of the shadows."

The following is a list of Governor O'Malley's proposals, consisting of eight pages. They can be read in full by clicking on the link new proposal in the above The Hill article. These proposals are examples of both courage and common sense. They are a beacon of hope in our immigration landscape, now clouded over by the specters of bigotry and prejudice.

Here they are:

1. Extend deferred action to as many unauthorized immigrants ("New Americans") as possible who are productive, contributing members of society,

2. Expand the scope of waivers of the 3 and 10 year bars to admissibility. (My take on this is that the 3 and 10 year "unlawful presence" bars were a product of the "backlash" atmosphere of anti-immigrant bigotry that led to the passage of IIRIRA in 1996. The 3 and 10 year bars should be repealed in toto.),

4. Expand access to naturalization for New Americans,

5. Expand access to health care for New Americans,

6. Place narrow limits on the use of detention, so that it will be used only as a last resort,

7. Restore due process and basic fairness in immigration enforcement,

8. Disentangle local law enforcement from immigration enforcement,

9. Respect individual rights while protecting the border,

10. Enact comprehensive immigration reform,

11. Overhaul (and protect) the legal immigration system.


Given the assaults on legal immigration by powerful senators such as Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) with the support of many other Republicans and at least a few Congressional Democrats, as well as the attacks against legal skilled worker immigration by governor and presidential candidate Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin), Governor O'Malley's proposals to protect our legal immigration system and make it more equitable are of particular importance.

I will discuss them further in upcoming posts.

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Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School who has been helping primarily skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards for more than 30 years. His email address is algaselex@gmail.com