For the past several years there has been a wide-ranging, national debate over what policies are needed to rein in illegal immigration. It is an impassioned discussion that has unleashed a lot of emotion. Unfortunately, the intensity of the issue is having some unintended consequences. Legal immigrants are getting entangled in a net of new laws as officials rush to assuage their constituents' fears about illegal immigration.
There are strong opinions on both sides of the immigration argument. However, all parties should agree that restricting legal immigrants from living and working in the United States was never supposed to be a solution for curbing illegal immigration. Impeding lawful immigration will undermine the nation's rich, diverse culture and will be detrimental to its ability to compete in a global economy.
This unfortunate scenario recently played out in Michigan. Last December, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox issued an opinion that barred illegal aliens from receiving a state driver's license or identification card. The intent was to deny illegal aliens the same privileges as legal residents. However the opinion, which carried the weight of suite statute, also affected many who are here lawfully. It had a negative impact on highly skilled workers and students that are deeply integrated in the state's economy and culture.
Over 400,000 immigrants who legally reside in Michigan were at risk of losing or being denied a driver's license or identification card. There are approximately 15,000 foreign national students at Wayne State University, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, not to mention the...