Solutions to the Immigration Crisis
US Immigration Reform
Recently, the US Congress has undertaken new legislation to deal with our growing immigration crisis. They have proposed a "comprehensive" reform as the only solution. I totally disagree with this assertion. Let me educated all of you on this topic. I think a solution does exist and we must insist that our elected officials do their job.
3 Steps to address this issue
"National sovereignty is an obligation as well as an entitlement. A government that will not perform the role of a government forfeits the rights of a government."
- Richard Perle
The immigration problem can be approached in 3 steps.
1. Identify and define the problem. Clearly list the various components.
2. Classify the problem. According to EF Schumacher, there are two types of problems- convergent and divergent.
3. Propose solutions and debate and pick the best one to implement.
Let's all agree that we do have a problem with immigration in our country. Here are a list of problems we must face.
- (A) Security - We have currently approx. 12 million undocumented people working and living in our country. This is referred to as the shadow underclass.
- (B) We have a need for unskilled workers to do various jobs such as fruit and vegitable farm workers, landscaping and restaurants and homecare...
- (C) We have some criminal elements such as drug dealers, smugglers, gangs, identity theft, driving without license or insurance...
- (D) We have a public benefits drain in our hospitals and schools and various welfare agencies.
- (E) Currently, there is no path to citizenship for these people. They are a permanent underclass being exploited.
- (F) Our law enforcement agencies are being over burdened by these catch and release policies that don't work.
- (G) There is no way we can round up and deport 12 million people.
- (H) Some families are being broken up due to our current policies. We need to protect families and be compassionate to those hard working people.
- (I) Our demographics will be changed that may affect our country's makeup and identity. Increase balkanization in some of our cities and communities including for example Spanish as a second language.
Let me state that I believe the current problem has a workable solution. Therefore, it is a convergent problem and not a divergent problem. Despite some politicians try to confuse and confound the rest of us, this problem can be solved and we don't need a "comprehensive" plan. In fact, we have tried it before in 1986 and have failed. We have a history to study and to reflect.
Once we recognize there is a solution, then we can proceed to discuss and debate various options.
We can do this without bringing race, and other distractions into the mix. It is a problem for our nation and our elected officials have a duty to come up with a workable solution or they should be voted out of office.
Option 1 (Open border and Amesty for all)
Let us open our borders to everyone that wants to come here. Let us remove all current laws governing our immigration (They are not being enforced anyway). Everyone here will be given a VISA and get onto the back of the immigration line. They will be given amesty and will eventually become citizens.
This is one option we can consider. Don't be too quick to dismiss it as crazy. It offers a solution to some of the problems. In fact, if you think hard about it, it will solve all of the 9 issues above except 2 (D) and (I). 7 out of 9 is not bad at all.
Option 2 - (maintain Status quo)
This is another option though unappealing. We can choose to do nothing. It will mean thing will either stay the same or very possibly get worse. 0 out of 9 is a bad scorecard.
Option 3 (Incremental approach)
My personal favorite is this incremental approach.
To offer a simple analogy, if a boat is leaking, you plug the hole first before attempting to fix it. This approach makes sense to me.
It consists of 3 sequential parts. One following another in that order.
(3A) First, enforce existing laws on the books and if the law is not viable, repeal that law. We are a nation of laws. If we are allowed to pick and choose which laws to abide by, then we are lost. If necessary, put all the resources necessary, law enforcement, ICE and National Guards, whatever it takes to enforce our borders. Indict and fine Companies that hire illegals to work in their factories and businesses.
Once it is proven that the leak has stopped, we can address the guestworkers issues.
(3B) Second, increase current immigration quotas and revamp INS (a part of Homeland Security) to process new legal immigrants.
(3C) Finally, look into new legislation to create an orderly guest worker program that will identify who is coming here or here already and allow them to work and pay taxes and send their money back home. They will hold a temporary status and are intended to fill shortfall in our labor force. They will not be given access to full benefits as regular citizens.
If all these steps are followed, we can solve all 9 issues over a period of time.
Option 4 (Comprehensive approach) as the Congress is proposing.
This has been tried before and there is no reason to believe it will work any better this time around.
Let me address some common myths that have been suggested:
- They are doing work Americans won't do. That is only true at the current pay scale. If the hourly wages are increased to a decent level, Americans will take those jobs. A proof is the current sanitation engineers. We have plenty of people willing to pick up our garbage every week. It is a hard and dirty work and yet plenty of people sign up to do it. The reason is they make a pretty good salary.
- There are too many people (12 million) here to be deported. That is not necessarily true. We don't need to round up all 12 million and bus them home. We can start by enforcing our laws and that will dry up the jobs incentive. When there are no jobs here, the people will realize that we mean business and they will return home and apply through the normal channels.
- They contribute more to our economy than they use in term of social services. That is also not true. It has been estimated that every illegal immigrant cost the American taxpayer $19,000 per year net.
- People who are against illegal immigration are bigots and xenophobes. Again that is false. I for one don't blame the illegals for wanting to come here. If I was in their shoes, I probably will do the same thing. I blame our government and their bad policies. They have allowed this problem to get out of hand and now they tell us it is too big to solve. No problem is too big if we put our mind and resources to fixing it.
Best summary of the new immigration bill proposal
Conclusion - The Tipping Point
In 2002, Malcolm Gladwell wrote a best selling book called "The Tipping point..." and I think in 2007, we have reached that point with the immigration issue. Some people believe that we are experiencing the same wave of immigration as in previous generations. They don't see anything different or alarming. I for one disagree. Here are a few reasons that I believe we've reached that tipping point.
- The 9/11 terrorist attack on our homeland makes it clear that we are vulnerable being an open and free society. We need to know who is here and what they are doing.
- My first hand experience serving on a NY grand jury demonstrated for me that our legal system is broken and cannot deal with this growing problem. The link below points to my blog where I go into this experience in great detail. My letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security was answered with a generic non-response.
- The scene last year of the hundreds of thousand illegal immigrants demonstrating boldly in our cities across the nation flying their native flags and demanding their legal status.
- My visit to a local Moneygram store in Peekskill, NY where I was told Spanish only. No service to English speaking customers. The clerk behind the counter only speaks Spanish and all their customers are Spanish speaking people. I felt like a foreigner in my own country.
- I heard our own President accusing the Minutemen of being a "vigilante" organization who are only trying to defend our own borders where our government refuses to do. They carry no arms and do not engage physically with the illegals crossing our southern borders. They merely act as spotters and report any illegal crossing to our border security guards.
Does this sound like the America you grew up with?
Time for Action
What can an individual citizen do?
- Educate your self on this important issue.
- Contact you Senators and Representatives and tell them your opinion.
- Join a group and organize against the current legislation.
- Monitor your elected officials and watch how they vote. Don't just rely on what they say. Talk is cheap. Action speaks louder than words.
- Come next election cycle, vote out the politicians that support this legislation. Hit them where it hurts. Voting is the democratic way to settle issues.
My new idea on Government Accountability
It seems to me that politicians and legislators have lost touch with the voting public. In this specific issue, I think we need some extra guarentees from our elected officials. If this new legislation passes both houses of Congress and the President sign it into bill, I would propose everyone of the legislators (House and Senate) who voted for the bill to also sign a legally binding pledge. The pledge would be to enforce the laws that they have passed to the T. If 5 or 10 years from now, and the proposed reform did not work, they should pay a heavy penalty both financial and if possible lose their seats and if they are out of office, they should loose their pension. This is not a punitive pledge. It is imposed so that each legislator must weight the policy proposals carefully. The effects of this bill will have a very long term impact on all of us. If they really believe this is the "right" solution, they must be held accountable. It is the only way I see that will take the politics out of this equation. A legislator will only sign on to this bill if he or she truly believes in this solution and will do their best to enforce them.
Some related links...
- EF Schumacher Society
Wisdom of a great thinker.
- Senate approves new legislation
A misguided legislation.
- La Raza national organization
A hispanic activist organization.
- 2006 fence bill not really...
A failed attempt to calm the masses.
- ICE home page
Inmigration and Custom Enforcement.
- FOX news report on sanctuary cities
How the problem is being ignored by our large cities.
- My letter to our elected officials
From a posting on my blog - after my service on a grand jury in Sept. 2006.
- NumbersUSA, a group to counter illegal immigration
Join the group.
- The New York Times site on this topic
A good breakdown on the Presidential candidates and their position on this important issue.
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© 2014 Jack Lee