Saturday, March 23, 2013

Thoughts on Immigration Reform: What should happen?

In responding to Congress's inability to get things done (and if so, to get things done right) on immigration reform, it's important to remember A) that stopping illegal border crossings is necessary, and B) trying to get 12 million illegals deported is not going to work. Further a distinction needs to be made between citizenship and legal residency.

That being said, what should be done? First of all, the borders need to be secured. Second, provisions need to be made for those who are here illegally to either be allowed to remain on a legal basis, or to be awarded citizenship in some way. Disregarding the huge impact on elections that awarding citizenship would bring, one must first ask the question: is it right to allow those who came here illegally a path to citizenship that differs from the path others have taken to acquire citizenship? My response is that no, it isn't right. Those who came here illegally should not be rewarded for doing so by giving them least, not until they have gotten in line and filed the appropriate paperwork.

On the other hand, those who think to send all of them back to their countries of origin make a grave mistake. First of all, breaking up families isn't right. Secondly, harm to our already fragile economy will soon follow such steps. Third, it can never realistically be done without a huge amount of expenditure and policing.

So, what should be done? Secure the borders, then create a way for those who are here to retain legal status, but not citizenship. They can work here, with some kind of credentials, but they cannot vote here unless they go through the traditional steps to acquire citizenship. Perhaps some kind of fine should be levied for illegal entry in order for them to gain such legal status. Perhaps some kind of military service could take the place of such a fine. All these things can and should be worked out.

All criminals should be sent back, no questions asked.

The bottom line is, no illegal activity should be rewarded with citizenship. That just encourages further illegal activity.


Chiu ChunLing said...

I agree that those currently in the U.S. illegally should be allowed to utilize the process for gaining citizenship. That process begins with them filing a visa application from the nation where they currently hold citizenship. Incidentally, the process for them to be legally resident begins the same way.

I do not categorically agree that it is wrong to break up families. A great deal depends on the family in question. If, for example, one of the parents is a violent felon, I would regard it as a moral imperative to break up the family. In any case, there is no need for a family to be broken up if the parents are willing to take care of their own children. They can do that in their country of origin.

For persons that cannot return to their countries of origin because they are under threat of persecution, the law already provides an expedited path to legal residency and citizenship. This covers absolutely every case where returning to their country of origin for a short period of time to apply for the necessary visa to enter the U.S. legally would really be an undue hardship.

Secure the borders against illegal trespass, refuse to grant exemptions from legal requirements based on lack of legal status (or eliminate such requirements for those with legal status), refuse to provide social services to persons without legal status. Let illegal immigrants use the available mechanisms for legal immigration.

Legal immigration does need an overhaul, it needs to focus on providing opportunities for persons who indicate an understanding of the value of freedom and a willingness to contribute to a free society. It does not need to make any special accommodations for persons who have entered the country illegally.

Shane Roe said...

ChunLing, that is a great explanation and comment. I agree that it isn't categorically wrong to break up families and would follow the model you suggest. I also like the idea of refusing to provide social services to illegals. Let them obtain legal status first, then apply for aid if necessary. I'd also add that anyone who has defrauded social security by using other people's numbers should be permanently banned.