This country faces many challenges at this time in our history. Whether it be healthcare, Social Security, the War on Terror, or the tax system, there are several areas where our nation must be improved. But there is one hot-button issue that stands out in the minds of many Americans: immigration.
It’s a complicated dilemma. Millions of people have crossed our borders with the hope of pursuing freedom and a chance to better themselves and the lives of their children. What could be a more noble cause than that? Immigrants are typically hard workers that want to earn money for their families. Is there anything wrong with that? Of course not. I wish more Americans held such strong ideals. Some Americans are simply content with living off the government and not working, and thus not contributing to society and our economy.
But on the other side, these immigrants have entered our country illegally with no intention of leaving. They do not pay taxes and many have not chosen to learn English. As a result, they have placed a significant burden on the rest of our country.
How can these deep concerns be remedied?
There has to be an answer to this problem. Granting amnesty to illegal aliens demonstrates a immense disrespect for the rule of law. Therefore, we cannot afford to overlook the face that these immigrants violated our rules and regulations of our country. At the same time, it is simply not feasible to deport all of them to their home countries.
The immigration legislation that failed twice in the U.S. Congress is a prime example of the fact that Americans are unhappy with the way our government wants to handle this problem. I know that personally, even as a Republican and someone voted for President Bush, I was extremely dissatisfied with his support of that legislation.
As an alternative, I’d like to point out some basic aspects that a realistic and reasonable immigration bill would need:
First, a debt must be paid. Our laws have been broken and we’ve essentially been robbed the lack of revenue that should have come from the taxes paid by immigrants. Assessing fines and back-taxes is not only fair, it is necessary.
Second, the complete rights and privileges of American citizenship should not be granted until they actually become citizens. That may sound draconian, but on the contrary, I think it gives these potential citizens a goal to progress toward. I believe that you if make them earn the rights of citizenship, they will appreciate their rights much more as well.
Third, employment of the immigrants must be taken into consideration. What I mean is that the immigrants who are currently working should be allowed to continue working. However, they should only be allowed to continue working for their current employer if they acknowledge that their status as an illegal immigrant and express the intention of becoming a legal citizen.
Fourth, immigrants must be required to learn English. Everyone knows that English is the most widely used language in this country. In order to function at an optimal level in society, it would be in their best interest to be proficient in the English language. While it would be very profitable for Americans to learn Spanish, we should not be forced to do so since we already have an established language.
Fifth, the border must be secured. The best technology available must be used for surveillance. A border wall (it sounds better than a fence) should be erected as well.
I would suggest a system where illegal immigrants must turn themselves in to a government agency expressing the intention of becoming a legal and naturalized citizen. They must register with a government database and obtain an identification number and ID card. If they are currently employed, they must inform the government with their employer information, and the government would in turn notify the employer of the immigrant’s status. The immigrant must check in with a government agency every month in order to notify the U.S. of their whereabouts, employment status, etc. They also must take nightly classes to learn English and American culture.
If the employers of illegal immigrants fail to comply or they continue to hire workers that fail to comply with this program, they will be punished severely. A temporary worker program can also be established for those who wish to return to their country of origin from time to time.
This may sound a lot like the failed immigration bill. And frankly, the bill had some good aspects to it that I would integrate. But there are some things I would do differently.
I’d make the “Z Visa” completely temporary. The bill does claim to give the immigrant “temporary status,” with the Z visa. But that’s operating under the impression that they will complete the steps necessary to continue the process. I would put a specific expiration date of 5 years or less on the Z visa in order to insure that they do not plan to remain in the U.S. indefinitely. The Visa could be renewed, but only if significant progress towards citizenship is demonstrated.
Instead of making them leave the U.S. to complete their application for citizenship, why not let them stay here? I know that sounds unusual coming from a conservative, but they are already here and they’ve been here. Why not let them stay to complete the application?
I would also suggest severer punishment for failing to initiate the process of legal immigration. For instance, I would deport all those that did not comply with this program.
The bill is right in making sure that the current backlog of legal immigrants is cleared before these new and formerly illegal immigrants were allowed to enter. I would strongly advise that measure as well.
As I said before, I would not award these immigrants the full rights and privileges of American citizenship until they complete the process. This means they would not have the right to vote, hold office, own a firearm, qualify for Social Security, etc. While I’m sure that seems harsh, we must remember that these people have entered our country under illegal circumstances and as a result, there are consequences.
No matter what is done to solve immigration in this country, I know that it will not be a completely fair solution. It is not fair to the many Americans who have entered this country legally for us to allow illegal immigrants to receive citizenship through a simpler method.
You can also be sure that no matter what kind of solution is reached, many of these illegal aliens will not be satisfied. We know that even before the previous immigration bill failed, many illegal immigrants objected to the concept of paying the fines that it entailed. I think that is terribly ironic considering the fact that we’re graciously trying to give them a legal way to enter our country. It also angers me that they have had large rallies, flying flags of their home countries, demanding that we grant them amnesty in this country. If they are so proud of their countries of origin, why don’t they just go back?
I know for a fact that if I were to enter nearly any country in the world, I’d have to go through a long series of paperwork and a great deal of trouble in order to obtain citizenship. I expect that. And I appreciate that because each country has its own culture, its own government, it’s own way of life that they cherish and wish to protect. I respect their ability and right to do that. I wouldn’t go to some foreign country and demand that since I work there I should be given citizenship. That’s not fair to the citizens of that country. That’s not fair to the people who have worked hard to enter that country and obtain citizenship legally.
I’m sure many who read this will find large gaping holes in my ideas for a solution. That’s fine. Enlighten me. What are some ways we could fix this problem? What are some ways we can allow immigrants to enter this country legally and make it as fair as possible for all parties involved? Because you and I both know that this is a very troubling situation that our nation faces and it must be remedied.