Illegal Immigration: A Modest Proposal
After hearing all of the debate about immigration reform, I have come to the conclusion that, I can write legislation just as well as our congressmen.
The bill before Congress has two primary problems: there is a class of immigrants which will be formed by this bill who are not in the shadows, not citizens and not guest workers. These are immigrants who apparently will continue to work in the United States who do not desire a pathway to citizenship. They apparently will receive some form of legal status, although it is quite unclear as to what this status will be. At some later date, we may find a bill pushed through where these former illegal aliens will suddenly be made citizens; even worse, some court might later decide to recognize them as citizens. The second problem with this bill is, there are not enough safeguards against future illegal immigration.
Let me offer a different approach, which I think will find favor among liberals and conservatives:
First of all, there are a couple of premises that I will begin with. I want to be rid of the following illegal aliens: Jose, the drug pusher; Ivan, who traffics in women and children, Marie who uses the emergency room as a doctor’s office, and Mohammed who drives around drunk. I don’t care about tracking down those who are leading essentially legitimate lives, apart from being here illegally. We can deal with them after it is clear that we can deal with the aforementioned problem immigrants. This seems to be the general opinion of most Americans.
Secondly, I don’t want comprehensive immigration reform; it makes me think that I am going to be sold a bill of goods on illegal immigrant control along with some form of mass amnesty. For those of you who remember, Ted Kennedy has promised us on 3 previous occasions that illegal immigration legislation which he supported was going to solve the illegal immigration problem. Obviously, it has not.
It is important to recognize that this is not a border problem alone. About a third of the illegal immigrants came across the border illegally; the rest of our illegals entered legally (I have heard a number of different percentages here). When someone comes into this country legally, we need to gather information on this person prior to their coming here—where will they be staying, how can we get in touch with them while they are here, do they have round-trip tickets—and there should be a certain amount of profiling here as well. If some Philippine mother is coming to visit her daughter in the states, I’m not too worried about that; if a young Muslim with a shady background wants to visit our country, I think we need to say, “No.” When someone does not return when their return ticket says they’re going to return, then ICE need to ferret out these individuals. The airlines know those who use their tickets and those who don’t. When it comes to those who have arrived here legitimately from another country, the airline companies need to share this information with the government.
Next, we have prisons and jails with a significant number of illegal aliens. We need to know who is in our jails and, if they are illegal aliens, then they need to be deported once they have served their time. If we have a large enough population, we may want to consider paying the Mexicans to run a jail on the other side of the border and send our Latin illegal criminals there. There should never be an illegal who gets out of jail after doing time for a felony who just slips back into the general US population.
We need a national data base of illegal immigrants, of social security numbers which are being use illegitimately, and with information about those who enter our country legally. Our government knows which social security numbers are in play, and they know if SSI payments suddenly start coming in for someone who has been dead for 68 years. This national data base is going to include names, aliases, fingerprints, locations; and information which we gather on those who travel to the US. When someone does not make their flight back to their country, this should set up an alert, and their name goes into the system. Most of the data base is going to be made up of those who voluntarily register (more on that later).
Sanctuary cities need to come to an end. Every criminal who is arrested and/or detained needs to have their legal status determined, as well as fingerprints and other forms of ID determined. Every illegal alien who is arrested for drunk driving or any crime greater than this needs jail time and then deportation without any chance for legal immigration, for a guest worker program or for a visa. If he is found in the US again, there should be an automatic 10 year sentence added on to whatever other sentence he ends up serving. If a city is shown to ignore these provisions, then 1 day’s worth of federal funding should be withheld on the first offense; 1 week’s worth of federal funding withheld for the 2nd offense, and 1 month’s worth of federal funding withheld on the 3rd offense. Those local officials involved who intentionally do nothing to determine the status of their criminals should be removed from office. Now, I am not looking to round up all of the working long, hot hours out in the sun; I am looking to examine those who are arrested.
In some areas, gang members are easily identified; and these gang members need to be picked up and brought into the nearest police station, and have their legal status determined. I admit, this may be a tough provision to enforce, but it is worth mentioning.
In addition, hospitals and emergency rooms and federal, state, and local welfare organizations need to collect information on those who use their services. Aliens may take that opportunity to register with the national data base of illegal aliens (be patient; I’m coming to that). Since hospitals ask for such a boatload of information, then gathering just a little more information is legitimate. All federal (state and local) assistance programs also collect a boatload of information; collecting more information related to a person’s legal status should be no big deal. Notice, I am not suggesting that these services be denied nor am I suggesting that these people be immediately deported yet (which approach may not endear me to some conservatives).
Now, notice—I haven’t said anything about employers or about illegal aliens who are legitimately employed. Any idiot can find a company which employs illegal and round them up and fine the company. I simply don’t want to go after illegal aliens here who are hard-working and otherwise legitimate, not until we increase border security.
Obviously, we need to put more men on the border, we need to give them more leniency when it comes to enforcing our borders (our border agents should not be put in jail). Apart from a border patrol agent who assist aliens across the border, the worst consequence a border agent should face is dismissal, or, if he has committed a criminal act, reasonable charges and a reasonable sentence.
While these provisions are taking effect, all aliens in the United States will be required to register at an illegal alien register’s office (also, to be placed in hospital emergency rooms and at all offices which dispense any sort of welfare). Their aliases, their addresses, their work addresses, their fake social security numbers will all be recorded, and these people will be fingerprinted. This must be done by everyone in every family. They will not be deported, but any pathway to citizenship or to entering into a guest worker program will be dependent upon this voluntary registration. They must depend upon the good intentions of our country by signing up on this database. They will be given a tamper proof registration card/picture ID (including a thumb print and/or an eye identification scan, along with encoded information) which will not confer any legal rights or any legal status, but will be required in certain transactions (any interaction with emergency care or any governmental agency will require this card; if a state gives out driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, then they must present this registration ID in order to get a license or to renew a driver’s license—another good place where illegals can be registered). The fact that they have a license will be entered into the national data base, along with the information from the license. This is obviously a great expense, and adult illegals who register will be charged $1000/each and those under 18 will be charged $500/each to entered into this illegal alien data base. They will be able to register at emergency rooms, motor vehicle departments, government benefit agencies and at certain libraries. To obtain non-emergency care, a driver’s license, or any welfare benefits, this tamper-proof card will be required. Each alien will be assigned a national ID number, which might later become their social security number (an 8-digit ID number would allow for the number of illegals here at the present time, and, with the addition of one digit, later become their social security number). Some companies will also voluntarily bring federal alien registration workers onto company grounds to register their workers. If they want these workers to stay, then they have a stake in their workers being registered. Some companies might even pay all or a portion of the $500-$1000 charge that their workers face.
I realize that this creates a huge bureaucracy, and, as a conservative, I generally oppose such bureaucracies. However, no matter what bill is passed, such a bureaucracy will be formed. Maybe we could go to a flat tax and dissolve the IRS to make up for this? Okay, that is big dream, but I need to at least put it out there.
Note, so far, there are no provisions yet for citizenship or a guest worker program. Nor am I calling for ICE to arrest those illegal aliens who are working legitimate jobs. Border enforcement, illegal aliens who are criminals and sanctuary cities need to be dealt with first. No triggers. No legalization. No pathway to citizenship. No guest worker program. First, we need to slow the flow of illegal immigrants (obviously, it will never be stopped); those in our criminal system need to be removed from our country altogether); and, finally, we need to register the illegals who are here. Obviously, employers are going to be key to registering many of the illegals who are here.
Later on, down the road, maybe 3–5 years from now, we begin working on a pathway to citizenship, a guest worker program, and some form of legitimization. There are illegal aliens who have been in this country for a decade, who, apart from being illegal aliens, have not broken any other laws. There should be no legislation dealing with these issues until it is clear that no city acts as a sanctuary for illegal aliens, that illegals coming into this country has slowed, and that we have a systematic way of dealing with illegal alien criminals and a systematic way of dealing with those who overstay their Visa’s. Once these problems have been dealt with, then it is time to work with those people who are here and working, as well as their families.
At this point, only those aliens who are registered may apply for citizenship or for a guest worker program. I do not want a 3rd class of aliens, who are, essentially, legalized illegal aliens. Those who have not registered by this time will face being deported, even if they are otherwise law-abiding citizens. It must be made clear to the illegal population that remaining in the country is going to depend upon this voluntary registration, and they will be given anywhere from 3–5 years to register and to register everyone in their family. At this point, we deal with these working aliens and their families. We make them legal or we make them guest workers. Once that has been done, then we look at removing aliens who have not registered and we look at businesses who are employing illegal aliens who have not registered.
To sum up:
1. First, we slow down illegal immigration, we deal with those who overstay their Visa’s and illegal aliens who are criminals and we eliminate sanctuary cities.
2. Aliens who are here must register into a national database; in order to get a driver’s license, in order to use any social services, in order to go to an emergency room, they must register themselves. Employers will also want to make certain that their workers have been registered. This registration will be voluntary and aliens will have to pay to be registered. Aliens who do not register will have no pathway to citizenship or to becoming guest workers.
3. Finally, once all of this is in place, we pass separate legislation to legalize, in one form or another, those who are here, who have legitimate jobs and who have voluntarily registered. Also, at this point in time, we begin to deal with those who have not registered, which will include penalties for companies who are hiring illegals who have not registered.
After writing this, and sending it out to several people, I received several comments. Although I agreed, at least, in spirit, with many of the comments, I found them to be unrealistic in many ways. Therefore, let me make a few additional points:
1) the Democrats will NEVER send these people home, no matter what; and if the Dems have a 40% or better control of either house, that settles that.
2) When illegals make up 4.9% of the labor force and we have 4.4% unemployment, then it would make little sense to send them all packing.
3) It's going to be pretty difficult to send 12 million illegals back to Mexico and elsewhere, no matter what the circumstances.
You just can't deal with what is the ideal, perfect world, because that does not exist. I presented a solution which emphasizes border security first, but takes into consideration what happens here in the real world. If there was a button underneath the president's desk which allowed both closed the borders and sent the illegals home, that would be one thing; but there isn't.
My thinking here was to provide a realistic alternative to the bill that Congress is dealing with now, which will, for all intents and purposes, legalize 12 million immigrants almost overnight (and one court decision could change them into citizens 1 month down the road). That, in the real world, would produce 12 million citizens who will vote Democratic, for the most part.