This week both Congress and the President have proposed differing legislation to solve the immigration problem. I have issues with both, but of the two I am more in line with the Senate's bill. I figured it could lead to good discussion, so I figured I would get the ball rolling. For disclosure, I am a center-right conservative, not a right-wing extremist or a libertarian. On this issue I support comprehensive immigration reform that looks like the following:
1. Border security is non-negotiable. We have a right to expect the government to enforce the laws regarding those who cross the border. Border security is about national sovereignty, security, and the government fulfilling its responsibility to enforce the law. This does not mean closing the borders or installing continuous fences. But the borders must be controlled and we need to know who comes in, who goes out, and who they are. An unsecured border poses a direct threat to our national security. Unsecured borders give terrorists and deported illegal immigrants who wish to harm relative ease of entry into the country. A failure to control our borders only makes our nation more vulnerable to future attacks. The simple enactment of laws on border enforcement will not suffice.
2. A commitment by the federal government to enforce the laws within the country, including cracking down on businesses that employ workers illegally. The government is quite capable of enforcing laws that it wishes to enforce and is culpable for not having the will to dedicate sufficient resources to enforce the laws at the borders and within the states. This must change. One means of cracking down on illegal workers has been the use of the electronic verification system - the E-Verify background check program. This program should be reauthorized and made a mandatory part of the hiring process. Employers found in breach of hiring only those legally living in the U.S. should face stiff fines.
3. A program with multiple paths to legal status for illegal immigrants, including citizenship, a temporary worker program, and a permanent or temporary legal residency program. Those who are here illegally must be placed behind those who have already applied for permanent legal status. But, most illegal immigrants have been hard-working, law-abiding residents since their arrival. Therefore, for those who are here illegally, they would have a one-time opportunity of one year to come forward and apply for legal status. If such immigrants could demonstrate they have been employed, and have not broken the law since or before their illegal entry, they could apply for legal status to remain here.
4. Require all illegal immigrants to pay a fine, agree to pay back taxes, learn to read, write, and speak English, carry an ID card, follow a rigorous process for legal status: getting in line behind those who have legally migrated here in order to apply for permanent residence after a probationary period of years, and acknowledge and pledge allegiance to America's governmental structure, the duties of citizenship, and our core values as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Financial penalties must be just and should seek restitution not retribution. Those who fail background checks or who refuse to comply with this opportunity to earn legal status should be deported immediately.
5. A cut-off date for application for legal status. Employers would be given a defined window (one year) to come forward, pay a fine, and come clean for past offenses. At the end of that period, the government would tell illegal immigrants and their employers that if they haven't come forward and availed themselves of this offer, the government will find them and if here illegally, deport them, and if they are a business, fine them significantly and prosecute them criminally.
6. We must avoid chain migration: the process of bringing extended members of one's family to the country once a family member is settled here. Limiting chain migration to immediate family members (spouses and natural/adopted children) would be an appropriate solution to this problem. Hardship exceptions may be appropriate if a person's elderly parents have no means of support in their home country. These limitations would allow us to maintain our commitment to bringing in additional immigrants.
7. Establish an expanded guest-worker program for people not currently in the country, but who would like to come here to work with a ceiling of 350,000 people a year who could come to fill jobs that have been advertised in the U.S. by employers for an adequate length of time and for which they have not been able to find employees domestically. These new guest workers would also have to agree to a criminal background check and to learn English. Under such a program, they could apply for permanent resident status at the end of four years, a shorter period than illegal immigrants would face for such status. Those here illegally would go to the back of the line behind those who have tried, and are trying to come here legally.
8. As a minister this is a personal point for me: the plan must be sensitive to the calling faith communities feel to engage in human needs ministry. The impact on human needs is an area of immigration reform that uniquely affects the faith community as they strive to care for those in need and to be good Samaritans obligated to reach out to those in need of assistance. The government should not criminalize private citizens who give a cup of cold water, a hot meal, a warm bed or medical assistance to those who are here illegally. Previously there was no such exemption for charitable and faith based activity toward all people, regardless of their residency status. I do not support the practice of providing sanctuary to those who are here illegally, but I do support the practice of meeting the basic human needs of people who are here.
oops...hit the wrong button...where was i...oh, yeah...
THAT does not fit that bill...good luck with that.
and...just for the record...none...zero...zilch...nada of any of the terroristic activities that have caused harm to our country in recent years/decades/longer have had any of thier participants come from that ghastly unprotected border...a long, open border, with both mexico and canada, that has been exactly like it is...since before their was even a good ol' USA....
and from there, that idea went downhill....had, in fact, had more spin on it than my entire last game of ping pong...
As much as I am against it, amnesty/reform for those here illegally in the US is inevitable. Here are 4 simple questions I think should be answered before we get serious about any move towards amnesty or reform.
Why don’t we commit to enforcement first and reform second? Take effective enforcement measures to secure the border first, to prevent more coming in illegally, then work on giving those here illegally a legal status.
How do we prevent any new reform from being a repeat of the 1986 reform, and how can we guarantee all measures agree to will be followed through? The last reform was simply amnesty plane and simple. The amnesty half of the reform was granted, but the enforcement half of the reform was blocked!
If new reform is passed without securing the boarder between the US and Mexico, we will still have to contend with more and more people continually sneaking into the country illegally... so what about them? Won’t the same old arguments be made for more reform, more amnesty, over and over again?
For any new amnesty or reform, what preventative measures will be put in place to prevent them from being a burden on our society?
Falmouth of the Mighty BlueGrass State and Commonwealth of Kentucky
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Re: Immigration Reform
We're headed toward a national data based national ID down the road, and this I'm thinkin' will be the biggest excuse, uhhh, reason, yeah 'reason' is what I meant..uh huh.
I firmly believe that, with finger/thumb/butt/whatever prints, and biowhatever info, and the folks that howl at the moon about howlin' at the moon, that and big gub'mint in our bidness and stuff, they will be the most happy...word.
(Bush II & friends already put the works in motion, allotting some fairly big bucks to a handful of states to experiment, especially with the fingerprint aspect if I remember correctly, The Mighty BlueGrass was one of 'em, but I think they musta blew the dough on pie &/or bourbon 'cause they ain't been askin' for prints, at least not here, not yet)
actually, with all due respect, G...the key words are....this is business as usual...the same as it's been since time immemorial
no wall will keep out the people who flee a worse life for a better one...there aren't enough guards...we can't build a big enough wall...the same laws are still there, enforced to the best of our budgetary abilities...
and no govt, R or D, has had, nor will have, any real effect...