A few weeks back you at The Nation offered an Open Letter to Barack Obama (link) , listing some of the things he must stay true to in order to fulfill the progressive agenda. While much in the Letter is worthy of discussion and debate, I'd specifically like to know more about this desideratum:
An immigration system that treats humanely those attempting to enter the country and provides a path to citizenship for those already here.
Regarding the first part, I'm going to assume you mean "enter" in the broadest terms possible. Let's look at all the ways various groups can "enter" the U.S.:
1. Various people crossing the borders or flying or sailing in legally. I've heard about a few issues in this regard, such as a journalist being denied a visa or a dropoff in visitors. However, millions seem to do OK and the most I've heard about is some rude treatment, nothing that could be considered non-"humane". Do you have specific issues or proposals?
2. Legal immigrants. It's hard to be non-"humane" to those who are located in other countries, and the most I've heard about is some rude behavior. Again, any specific issues or proposals?
3. Students, visiting workers, etc. Ditto.
4. Mexicans and others crossing the borders illegally. Try as they might, the left has only been able to come up with a few isolated instances of abuse of detainees, and there's no pattern of widespread non-"humane" treatment. Unless, of course, one assumes that detaining people in the first place rather than just letting them enter the country at will is non-"humane" in your eyes. If so, please be honest enough to admit that you want open borders.
5. Longer-term illegal aliens, whether visa overstays or those who entered illegally over a border. I know how you think, and that's why I'm trying to define "enter" as broadly as possible. Try as Bob Menendez and others want, they can't show a widespread pattern of non-"humane" treatment of those caught up in immigration raids, fugitives captured by ICE, and so forth. About the only thing that might be slightly questionable is the practice of moving detainees to detention centers in other states. If you object to that, change the law. Since most of those detainees will end up being deported and since almost anyone who put themselves in that situation knew the consequences, there isn't anything fundamentally non-"humane" about that process. Unless, of course, you don't believe in enforcing our immigration laws, in which case you should be honest enough to admit that.
Regarding the rest, here's a discussion of some of the downsides of amnesty. There are more here, here, and here. If those aren't downsides to you, please present your argument for supporting them. If you don't think those are issues, please explain why. If you agree they're important downsides, explain exactly what you intend to do to mitigate your concerns.
The Editorial Board of 24Ahead.com
 Famous signatories include such intellectual heavyweights as Mike Stark (shown here advocating digging up personal dirt on Ron Fournier of the AP: dailykos.com/story/2008/8/23/202557/371/831/573792), Phil Donahue, Robert Greenwald, Jane Hamsher, Tom Hayden, Katrina van den Heuvel, Gore Vidal, Howard Zinn, Bob Scheer, and many more.
Immigration2008a · Mon, 08/25/2008 - 08:20 · Importance: 1