As many of you know, I am a legal immigrant. I came to this amazing country in 1989 with my parents and younger brother. The process to get our green cards was not easy, and it took a number of years for everything to fall into place. But it did; and today I am a proud American citizen, an adopted son of the greatest country on the planet.
Which brings us to the immigration debate of today.
Bottom line is; the system is broken. One, current laws are not enforced. Two, it is practically impossible for anyone other than highly skilled, specialized, or highly financed immigrants to immigrate legally.
Allow me to explain.
I have an ex-sister-in-law who would love to come to America. She would work hard, and be an asset to our nation. However, she does not have a college degree, is not a brain surgeon and is not a minister. Therefore, she cannot get into the country via the different “work” categories of visas. She is also not an immediate family member of an American citizen; therefore she cannot get in via the “family-member” visa. She also does not have the money to purchase an American business thus excluding her from the “investment” category of immigration. All that is left is the “green-card lottery”.
Unfortunately, my ex-sister-in-law is English. You see, the green card lottery is available to anyone, unless the number of immigrants from your country in the other visa categories over the past five years exceeds a certain amount. England always exceeds that amount. Therefore, she can never use the green card lottery.
All that is left is to immigrate illegally; however, because she is law-abiding she won’t do it. The very type of person we want to immigrate, hard-working, law-abiding, cannot get into the country. The system is broken.
So now we move to the proposed fixes.
First, amnesty. Otherwise known as rewarding people for breaking the law.
Sorry folks; it’s not going to fly. You don’t reward illegal immigrants with citizenship. American citizenship should be treated as a precious commodity, and not handed out freely to those that spit on our country and rally in our streets under another nation’s flag. Also, when you grant amnesty and citizenship to one illegal immigrant, now all his family members in Mexico can now immigrate here under the family-member visa. So for any single illegal who is given citizenship, you now have his brothers, sisters, children and parents not far behind. Can we say, an overwhelming flood of immigrants. Also the track record on amnesty is not good. In 1986 we took care of illegal immigration with amnesty? Could have fooled me.
Second, a guest worker program.
Sounds great on the surface. We get a handle on the unskilled workers, allow them to get jobs here, and then after 6 years they will head on home because their visas are over. These are the same people who came here illegally in the first place, and now we expect them to head home six years from now? Does this sound preposterous to anyone else?
Third, a border enforcement policy.
This would work. It may not take care of the issue of illegal immigrants in the country, and employers taking advantage of them with excessively low wages and bad working conditions, but it would stem the tide. Not sure if we will see that happen as I keep hearing various high-powered politicos wanting a borderless North America, with superhighways, ports of entry in Kansas City and other USA destroying ideas. The North American Union I think they keep calling it. Where it looks like we still have our country, but we give up our sovereignty. But that’s another subject, for another day.
Fourth, an active deportation policy.
This is what the law says should happen, but it seems the feds are not enforcing it unless goaded and forced to by local and state law enforcement.
Most proposals contain some or all of the elements above. However the U.S. House, ever conscious of what the public actually thinks, will never embrace amnesty. The U.S. Senate on the other hand, demands amnesty. Thus the impasse.
On one side you have McCain and the other democrats (yes, I know he claims to be Republican) wanting to open up the already-open borders and give all these poor law-abiding ILLEGALS citizenship. On the other you have Tom Tancredo leading a SWAT team and driving buses of illegals to the border himself.
So along comes compromise. And the most interesting compromise I have seen thus far is one presented by Congressman Mike Pence from Indiana. Now there are massive holes in his bill which means I cannot support it currently. It does not address the problem of people overstaying their guest worker visas. It does not address the use of “anchor-babies”. It does not place numerical limits on the number of guest-workers in the first few years. And it assumes that within a matter of days full background checks could be completed by an efficient private-run system. Unfortunately, this private run system would still rely on a quick response from the US Government, and something tells me that the US Government does not give quick responses. Working with the Social Security Disability Insurance program for only a few months now I can clearly see that a quick response in the world of government is an eternity for the rest of us.
I’ve also read that Pence’s plan allows guest-workers to apply for green cards, however I cannot find that in the legislation, so unless they qualify under one of the existing green card qualifications (family, skilled employment, investment, refugee, adoption etc) they would not automatically be able to apply for a green card under Pence’s plan. And like those from England, citizens of Mexico are ineligible for the green card lottery also.
But Pence’s plan took some thought to come up with and deserves a closer look. Its enforcement first requirements are good. Yes, I know that I now have various friends mad at me for even considering this, but I know the system, and the immigration system is broken, both by bad design, and by non-enforcement. Pence’s bill encompasses a guest-worker program, and does not give away citizenship. In actuality, those on the guest-worker program could never become citizens unless they married an American. Every other legal route that currently exists in closed to them, with the exception of having a baby in the US, who is then a US citizen, and thus you get to stay. This is the anchor baby problem I mentioned previously.
But I am convinced of this. No legislation has any chance of passing unless the American people become convinced that the enforcement parts will be enforced. They look today and see nothing of enforcement. They see porous borders, token deportations and an invasion of non-English speaking people in their schools and communities. Until the American people are convinced that all the immigration laws will be enforced, including deportation, nothing is going to fly. And elected officials are wasting their time.
That’s my contemplations. This is a huge issue for many people. But don’t let the politicos simply use this to get re-elected, or add to their margins of victory. Let’s figure out a solution that works, that does not reward law-breaking, that allows people to come to this country and work hard and be an asset to our communities. It used to be that you came to America as an immigrant and became American. Today, that seems to have been lost. But it can be found again. I’m convinced of it.