I’ve been nudged to present my views on immigration reform in more detail than what I’ve already written about the illegal alien problem and my experiences as an immigrant over sixty years ago. The preamble to this post was ‘Immigration Reform – The Correct Solution’ where I acknowledged that America will not accept the mass deportation of 11M+ illegals, no matter how they got here. Nevertheless, all effective and sustainable solutions to immigration reform must begin with securing our border with Mexico so that the inflow of illegals is reduced to a ‘trickle’.
The following points comprise my ‘correct solution’ as it stands today, and dear reader you may (and I know that you will) consider it as a draft that together we might perhaps shape into a more polished form. As usual, I’ll revert to a structured format that makes subsequent reference to the points presented a bit more convenient.
The current illegal alien problem centers almost entirely on the 11M illegal entrants and their descendants shown as the red square. These people never immigrated. Immigration is a defined process that involves a legal entrant alien wishing to become a citizen and an informed government that welcomes him.
The other half of immigration reform is supposed to address the problems related to the retention of US educated aliens with certain skills critical in our workforce, and the lengthy process currently in place for legal immigrants to become naturalized citizens. But make no mistake, the real problem is with the millions of illegal entrants denoted by the red square. So off we go with the provisions of a ‘correct solution’ to immigration reform.
- Secure US borders so that the number of successful illegal entrants is reduced to a trickle which I define as a little more than 1% of the high historical ingress rate, or no more than about 5,000 per year. This must be accomplished before any of the remaining provisions kick in. And while the border is being secured, the administrative and processing details of the remaining provisions can be set up and tested.
- A period of amnesty from prosecution is set up during which all fugitive illegal entrants (FIEs) can come forward and declare their intentions to either start a path to citizenship or request help in repatriation. No felon FIEs or their dependents will be accepted into the naturalization path. All FIEs get an ID card (preferably biometric).
- The path to citizenship starts with the FIEs first becoming immigrants, and going to the back of the line of existing immigrants waiting to naturalize. In the meantime all such immigrants get their ‘green cards’ to be able to work legally. The FIE immigrants get the same treatment regarding government benefits as do current immigrants.
- Assimilation of our immigrant populations has been the backbone of America’s growth, cohesion, and strength. No one becomes a citizen without demonstrating a working knowledge of English that is sufficient to hold a job and understand the basics of America’s governments, and be able to communicate in writing their understanding of the same. No more dial #2 for Spanish, Korean, Arabic, … . A common language is the lynchpin of cultural cohesion; all American citizens will again speak and read English.
- A guest worker program will be re-introduced to fill episodic labor needs. This program will be separate from the immigration program and will require guest workers to spend TBD time outside the US before their guest worker permits are renewed. These permits will vary as a function of job performed and employers’ needs.
- All permanent residency provisions for aliens not on the path to citizenship will be terminated. No foreign colonists or colonies will be tolerated; either become one of us, or go home/away. Foreigners will receive no special dispensation with regards to their cultural or other social needs that are at variance with America’s norms and customs – Americans will respond to foreign customs at their individual pleasures, and not through any government imposed diktats.
- All FIEs will pay all their outstanding fines, taxes, levies, … that they owe as a condition of achieving legal status. This may require the use of an algorithm to determine amounts when actual records are not available. Until such payments are satisfied, the FIE will be granted non-renewable provisional status for a temporary stay in the US.
- All FIEs currently receiving transfer payments will be granted a non-renewable provisional status for a TBD temporary stay in the US during which they may wean themselves from such government support.
- All law abiding FIEs returning to their home countries, under whatever provision of the immigration law, will be able to reapply for immigration without prejudice
- Relatives of FIEs will receive no special consideration in their immigration status. As they become naturalized citizens, their relatives will be treated equally with the foreign relatives of other US citizens.
- The reformed immigration law will contain provisions to attract immigrants with STEM and other desirable skill sets needed in our workforce. Such immigrants, especially those with waiting jobs, will be fast tracked into ‘green card’ status. All accredited graduates with such critical skills from US schools will be offered the option for immediate ‘green card’ status and an extended stay in the country during which they may decide on their long term status.
- All legal entrants will be identified upon entry, and their stay and status monitored to determine their eventual proper disposition – i.e. toward naturalization, lapsed, or fugitive status (see figure).