Comment Last Three
October 11, 2009
Immigration Reform is needed in the United States. Yes, we need comprehensive immigration reform, but we do not start with amnesty for virtually everyone unlawfully in the United States. We stop all illegal human trafficking, restructure our MOUs and treaties with Mexico and other countries, stop all government services for illegals, arrest company managers who hire illegals, and have a coordinated effort by local, city, state, and federal police forces. The government must shut off jobs for illegals.
America's immigration and border security problems, can't be solved without first dealing with the estimated 12 to 20 million illegally living here.
Most liberals and Democrats believe that there is no practical or compassionate alternative to just giving them all amnesty, often called legalization, and putting them on the road to citizenship. This kind of thinking is just flat wrong.
The first problem with the case for an "amnesty first" approach is that it doesn't work. In 1986, President Reagan supported similar reforms. At the time, the unlawful population was about 3 million and now it is 12-20 million. That really worked!!
Amnesty fails for two reasons. First, this approach undermines the rule of law. Allowing individuals to sidestep immigration laws just encourages more illegal border crossing.
The second problem with "amnesty first" is that once the measure is passed, proponents of open borders lose all interest in compromise and kill further efforts to enforce immigration and workplace laws.
The even bigger problem with "amnesty first" is that the American people will never let the law get passed. Immigration reform is not a partisan issue. It does not break down cleanly between liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats. Attitudes on immigration are very much affected by regional, class and ethnic biases. Americans are not of one mind on this issue.
Rather than starting with amnesty, Congress could begin with systemic reforms that would actually address the challenge of managing migration (rather than just emptying the illegal pool, only to watch it fill again). The government could start by creating temporary worker programs that would actually work, that would get employers the employees they need when they need them so that they grow their businesses and the American economy. The argument that temporary workers displace the work force is false. Jobs grow more jobs. It's that simple.
The government will have to demonstrate that it can enforce the law and control America's borders. This is the flip side to creating effective temporary worker programs. Not only does the U.S. have to offer a legitimate alternative to unlawful employment, it has to make the alternative of ignoring the law a less appealing option.
We need to divide the illegal population and develop specific strategies for each group. For example, several million of the illegal immigrants are single and not interested in U.S. citizenship. They would willingly self-deport back to their home countries if they at least had the hope of returning through a legitimate temporary worker program. Probably 1 million to 2 million are criminals who have committed felonies and probably shouldn't have been offered amnesty in the first place. They need to be the focus of deportation procedures by the Department of Homeland Security.
If we stop all employment of illegals, except for those that register, we will shrink the illegal population to a more manageable level and much less of a burden to our communities, our sovereignty and our civil society. We have to get control of our borders and stop Mexico from directing our foreign policy.
Playing politics with immigration rather than adopting an honest, sensible piecemeal reform program makes no sense. As long as comprehensive-reform Democrats continue their crusade, senseless policymaking will be the order of the day. It's time to end "amnesty first" and start enforcing the law and protecting American citizens.