Here’s an amazing young man, caught in a trap manufactured by his parents, and now sprung by the U.S. government.
Clive Thompson Jr. is 22 and managed to do something I couldn’t — get accepted by Columbia University. (OK, honestly, I didn’t apply.)
His problem now is coming up with the $75,000 a year the school costs, while hoping not to be deported, as his parents “enjoy” sanctuary in a Germantown church.
All this requires explanation.
His parents fled to the U.S. in 2004 from their native Jamaica, after their farm was burned by gangs and they were threatened with death, according to a story in the Philadelphia Inquirer that does not explain why they were targeted by gangs.
The family applied for asylum status, but were denied by the government, yet they were allowed to stay here, “to hold jobs, pay taxes, buy a home, and raise seven children” in Cumberland County in South Jersey, the Inquirer reported.
The college-bound son is protected, for now, by DACA, which makes him a Dreamer — children brought here by their parents. The children are not responsible for the bad deeds of their parents, and should be allowed to stay.
In this case, the parents should also be allowed to stay, under a policy I wrote about a year ago, in August 2019, reviving an idea I had floated earlier — a statute of limitations on deportation of illegal immigrants. Let’s say a five-year statute. If the government can’t find and expel you in five years, your status becomes “allowed to reside.”
If crimes such as assault and even rape have time limitations on prosecution, “so can this one, but I am not talking about amnesty. The illegals would have to come forward, pay any required fines and taxes, formally apologize, learn English and avoid run-ins with law enforcement,” I wrote. Deportation would be off the table as long as they were law-abiding. Citizenship would be off the table, too.
Those requirements are almost the same as later proposed by President Barack Obama as a solution of what to do with the undocumented. The goal is to be firm, but fair.
My idea is they would get legal status, but not citizenship, because there has to be a price for illegal behavior. This satisfies U.S. law, is compassionate to the law-breakers and gets them back to work. They can resume their lives and breathe easy.
Currently, Thompson’s mother, father and siblings are in sanctuary in the First United Methodist Church. They are fighting deportation.
As a Dreamer, the son doesn’t qualify for federal aid for his scholarship tuition, and as a noncitizen there’s no reason why he should. The Inquirer reported Columbia was asked why it couldn’t provide scholarship aid to the deserving young man, and got a lot of Ivy League HR doubletalk in response.
Maybe if this story gets more attention, Columbia might be embarrassed into extending a hand to the student.
And maybe Congress might write a statute of limitations into immgration law.
The government created this mess by allowing the family to settle here and sink roots. They should be allowed to stay.