We also must consider compassion for those who are not at fault--children below the age of reason. Just as with any other crime, however, there must be restitution or some kind of punishment. Parents of children are guilty not only of breaking the law, but of causing an innocent to break the law. This is a double whammy. It is simply un-American to cause someone else to go astray.
And practicality is practicality is practicality. It should be simple enough to set some ground rules. As long as the authorities have thousands upon thousands of records already in hand, they should have no problem adding to it. First, WE SHOULD JUST ASK THOSE WHO ARE HERE ILLEGALLY TO REPORT TO THE NEAREST IMMIGRATION OFFICE. This should not be a problem since they know they won't be deported.
Second, and I know opponents will call this a bounty, we can think of other words to describe the reward to be given to those who may be willing to report someone who is breaking the law.
Third, Everyone, including employers, should make the government whole by paying any back taxes or FICA for any of these individuals who have been gainfully employed. There might be no jail time or punitive fines, but if the agreement has been worked out "under the table" again, all taxes and FICA shall be paid.
Fourth, The registration might be likened to probation; they have, after all, broken a very basic law. A time period such as 10 years during which classes must be taken to earn Naturalized Citizenship. Even though a Citizenship test has been taken and an illegal immigrant has successfully passed all requirements for citizenship and is now considered a bona fide citizen, he or she must "report in" once a year for the remainder of the 10 year period.
Fifth, One of the education requirements shall be English classes until such time as they can pass the equivalent of 10th grade levels.
Sixth, There must be reporting requirements such as twice a year during the period of probation. We need to keep track of these people.
Seventh, For those who have served or are serving in the military, upon Honorable Discharge and the passing of a basic test, Citizenship will be bestowed immediately.
Eighth, certainly there will arise unique situations which deserve separate action. These very few may be acted upon by a voluntary recommendation of the individual's local Congressman or Senator to the full body of Congress for exception and action.
This should satisfy pretty much every level of liberal or conservative citizens. If some still call it amnesty, they must come up with a plan that is cost effective and detailed enough that others may make intelligent judgment. Two specific questions? How much will it cost - and this includes record keeping, feeding, housing, and guarding after arrest? And how long will it take?
Don't fofget the injustices suffered by those who have entered this country through legitimate means. And please don't consider those up to 35 years old as was the case in the Dream Act.
Good luck and God bless...