Illegal Immigration And The Way Forward

With the latest revelation that a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Jose Antonio Vargas, has come out as an illegal alien and John McCain’s latest stupidity, the issue of illegal immigration has popped back up. More and more states are joining the lead of Arizona and Alabama and are trying to take the immigration issue into their own hands in violation of the Constitution. The immigration issue is not one that is going to go away on its own and fair minded people on all sides need to sit down and come up with a solution.

First of all, most people who are clamoring for new immigration restrictions and harsh measures to deal with illegal immigrants are not racists. Most of them are motivated by genuine concerns about the rule of law and by misinformed concerns about the economy and national security. Demonizing immigration restrictionists will not advance the issue, but instead we should be trying to persuade them (and many can be persuaded once you actually talk to them).

Having said that, while I generally am for as open of a border as possible, I do believe that we do need to have some common sense immigration restrictions. We do need some border controls to keep out criminals, terrorists, and those with infectious diseases. We also need to do deal with the millions of illegal immigrants and their children that are already here. Finally, we need to have a path for those who want to come to America to work to do so legally.

Here’s my modest proposal, most of which has already been proposed.

To help people come here easier:

1) Create a new work visa program that can allow temporary, unskilled workers to come to the US to work on farms and other jobs “Americans won’t do”. Require the employers to pay for the visas and require everyone that chooses to take advantage of the visa opportunity to submit to background checks and health screenings before entering the US. Let them come for a limited time and let them leave if they choose to do so. If they stay, they can be allowed to convert their temporary visa into a green card, if they choose to do so. However, if they overstay their visa, harsh penalties should result.

2) Increase the quotas for legal immigration tenfold. Part of the problem with our immigration system is the long wait times for legal immigration. With wait times as long as 10 years in some categories, no wonder why people immigrate to the US illegally.

Enforcement:

1) I’m opposed to E-verify which is a stealth national ID. I’m also opposed to checking immigration status during traffic stops, however I don’t have a problem with it once someone has been arrested. I’m generally opposed to workplace enforcement and employer crackdowns.

2) Border fences and walls, both physical and electronic, won’t work. The only thing that will stop illegal border crossings are more border patrol agents. I’m not opposed to using the National Guard until the border patrol can be built up.

3) The focus of internal enforcement needs to be those who overstay their visas, like the 9/11 hijackers who overstayed tourism and student visas; not the guys picking onions and working at meat packing plants.

Those who are already here:

1) I have no interest in deporting or even punishing people like Jose Vargas who came here illegally as children. They had no choice in the matter. I’m also opposed to repealing birthright citizenship. Americans do not punish children for the misdeeds of their parents. This group of illegal immigrants need a path to citizenship.

2) Those who have crossed the border illegally as adults and are working and contributing to society and following the law should have a path to legalization. They should have the opportunity to come out in the open for a limited time, pay a fine, and have a limited, temporary visa to work and live in the US. Once that visa has expired, they must leave the US and apply for a new guest worker visa in their home country. I have no problem with this group eventually becoming permanent residents and citizens, but it must be done in an orderly fashion. Also, I’m not opposed with waiving fines and the requirement of leaving country if the illegal immigrant decides to service in the US armed forces with the reward being a green card once they leave the service.

3) Those who violated non-immigration related laws and overstayed visas should be deported immediately once their prison sentences have been served.

4) Obviously, illegal immigrants should be denied all welfare services except for education and emergency medical care. Nor should be eligible for perks such as in state tuition for college.

States who try to enact their own immigration restrictions:

1) Once an immigration reform law has been enacted, the Federal government should deny all law enforcement, homeland security, and transportation funding to states and cities who try to enact their own restrictions or prevent the enforcement of immigration laws. The Constitution gives the Federal government the sole power to enact immigration law, not the states.

This is my modest attempt at getting a conversation going on illegal immigration without the demagogic screaming that usually accompanies this issue on both sides. This is an attempt to solve this issue in a humane way that respects the rule of law.

I welcome your comments and suggestions below.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.
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  • http://harleykrishna.com Brian

    Wow Kevin, You just want to give the hole country away. Come on over to my neiborhood in N Hollywood CA which used to be the the apitomy of middle class USA with great jobs and first class schools. Now its a third world craphole with mostly peasents from south of the border who don’t want to assimilate which has destroyed our once great culture. They depress our eccomomy by doing jobs for $8:00 pr hr that used to pay an american citzen $20 per hr plus. We need Educated Immigrants. The only people these immigrants serve are the wealthy corporations who dreamed up NAFTA which has destroyed every country it has touched. Yea, I know you think I’m a rassist -I am not I’m Hawaiian, Chinese, Portoguese, German and English.
    Brian Kalauawa Stewart and I’m and American

  • jim

    You have made great suggestions. I agree completely with you.

  • AZ Granny

    Jobs Americans won’t do is a false perception. Look at the Pulitizer Prize winning journalist. He had a job a legal US Citizen could have held. There was a college professor that was an illegal alien. Is that such a low grade job that an American wouldn’t want it? Many illegal aliens come to the US and take jobs in construction away from US Citizens. They don’t all mow lawns, clean toilets and pick onions and it disgusts me when they’re stereotyped in this manner.

    I do feel bad for the children when their parents bring them into our country illegally. However, we can’t ignore the problem and we can’t open the doors to millions of immigrants. We have a limited amount of resources here and so far, we’re lacking large quantities of jobs for our citizens. We shouldn’t bring in more people to compete for the limited number of jobs available. Our country is nearly broke. We can’t afford to place more immigrants in our welfare system, Medicaid system, Social Security system, Medicare system and Education system.

    If you haven’t lived where illegal aliens are a problem, then you really can’t understand the full scope of the problem. I live 45 minutes from one of those big signs the Federal Government plastered in the AZ desert, warning US Citizens NOT to travel in that part of AZ due to the illegal aliens, human and drug smugglers. My niece had her vehicle stolen by coyotes smuggling illegals. Many other citizens aren’t as lucky. Their homes have been burglarized and some have been killed by illegals. The Mexican drug cartel beheaded an illegal alien man in Chandler, AZ. The drug cartel has established sites in the desert (again, some of where we’re prohibited from traveling) and they have killed US citizens.

    Illegal aliens are victimized by coyotes who kidnap them and hold them for ransom in a drop house. There have been reports of 100 illegals squeezed into one house. Often they are tortured. In the desert the illegal women are often raped and their lingerie left behind hanging in what they call the “rape tree”, as a warning to others.

    We need to secure the borders before even considering any type of amnesty program. Until the borders are secure, terrorists will continue to sneak into our country. One highly publicized entry was a terrorist caught in San Diego. Firemen saw him hiding in the trunk of a car and reported him. Although he was apprehended, many go free.

    As for what John McCain said about illegal aliens starting wildfires in AZ, that has been documented by others in the past. Illegal aliens set fires to keep the Border Patrol and others busy while they take another route into the US.

    All illegal aliens are criminals – they have broken the law by entering the US illegally.

    If we don’t enforce our laws, then why do we have prisons full of criminals? I bet the bank robber would tell you he just needed money to feed his family. I bet the car thief would tell you he just needed a ride to the doctor.

    We need to secure our borders, we need to deport the criminals and we need a President and administration that will enforce federal law. Until then, individual states are left with no choice but to enforce laws the federal govt refuses to enforce.

  • mike martin

    This guy should be arrested now that he confessed that he broke the law. they should go to his house and put him in jail.. Get these people out of our country and make an example of this idiot. who does he think he is…

  • http://fpffressminds.blogspot.com/ Stephen Littau

    Sonora’s comment was deleted for violating our comment policy.

  • Arrchie Bunker

    THE BOTTOM LINE: Undocumented immigrants are an important component of the U.S. economy. They meet the labor demand in sectors in which they do not directly compete with U.S.-born workers. The great majority of migrant workers are taxpaying, hardworking, and law-abiding people who are integrating into U.S. society.

    THE UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS ARE PAYING MORE TAXES THAN YOU THINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    IMMIGRANTS AND TAXES:
    Q: “Is it true that illegal immigrants don’t pay taxes and drain our economy?”
    A: As Ben Franklin said, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Like the rest of us, unauthorized immigrants pay taxes on their property and anything they buy. More than half of them have taxes taken out of their paychecks, but because our immigration system is dysfunctional, these taxes are paid under false Social Security numbers. We need a new regimen in which we know who is paying taxes and can ensure that no one is getting a free ride. The only way to do that is to pull unauthorized immigrants out of the shadows and get them on the right side of the law.
    Three state-level studies have found that unauthorized immigrants pay more in taxes than they use in benefits. In Iowa, unauthorized immigrants pay an estimated $40 to $62 million in state taxes, while they and their employers contribute an additional $50 million to $77.8 million in federal, Social Security, and Medicare taxes from which they will never benefit. In Oregon, unauthorized immigrants—who are not eligible for any state benefits—pay between $134 million and $187 million in taxes each year. Finally, in Texas, the State Comptroller found that, without unauthorized residents, the gross state product in 2005 would have been $17.7 billion less.

    THE BOTTOM LINE: Undocumented immigrants are an important component of the U.S. economy. They meet the labor demand in sectors in which they do not directly compete with U.S.-born workers. The great majority of migrant workers are taxpaying, hardworking, and law-abiding people who are integrating into U.S. society.

    The economics of immigration, Stephen C. Goss, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration and someone who enjoys bipartisan support for his straightforwardness, said that by 2007, the Social Security trust fund had received a net benefit of somewhere between $120 billion and $240 billion from unauthorized immigrants.
    That represented an astounding 5.4 percent to 10.7 percent of the trust fund’s total assets of $2.24 trillion that year. The cumulative contribution is surely higher now. Unauthorized immigrants paid a net contribution of $12 billion in 2007 alone, Goss said.

    Previous estimates circulating publicly and in Congress had placed the annual contributions at roughly half of Goss’s 2007 figure and listed the cumulative benefit on the order of $50 billion.

    The Social Security trust fund faces a solvency crisis that would be even more pressing were it not for these payments.
    Adding to the Social Security irony is that the restrictionists are mostly OLDER AND RETIRED WHITES from longtime American families. The very people, in other words, who benefit most from the Social Security payments by unauthorized immigrants.

    Comprehensive Immigration Reform Would Boost the Economy & Help ALL American Workers: As opposed to the mass deportation, enforcement-only approach, addressing and fixing the immigration system in a wholesale manner will be a boon to the U.S. economy and all U.S. workers. That is why both the AFL-CIO and Change to Win created The Labor Movement’s Joint Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Dr. Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda conducted a 2010 report for the Center for American Progress and the Immigration Policy Center that found that “Unlike the current enforcement-only strategy, comprehensive reform would raise the ‘wage floor’ for the entire U.S. economy—to the benefit of both immigrant and native-born workers.” According to the study, granting legal status to undocumented immigrants and creating flexible legal limits on future immigration flows would generate enough consumer-spending to support 750,000-900,000 jobs. The report also found that the mass deportation approach would reduce GDP by 1.46 percent annually, amounting to a loss of $2.6 trillion over 10 years.

    MYTH: Immigrants take jobs from Americans.
    FACT: Immigrants create new jobs, and complement the skills of theU.S. native workforce.

    MYTH: Immigrants drive down the wages of American workers.
    FACT: Immigrants increase overall economic productivity and have no significant effect on overall wages for American workers.

    MYTH: Immigrants will cause massive, unnecessary population growth
    in the United States.
    FACT: As the baby boomer generation begins to retire and the U.S.fertility rate declines, it will be necessary to replace our aging workforce with immigrants to maintain economic growth.

    MYTH: Undocumented immigrants do not pay taxes.
    FACT: Undocumented immigrants pay billions of dollars in taxes each year, often for services they will never receive.

    MYTH: Immigrants come to the United States for welfare benefits.
    FACT: The law forbids immigrants from using welfare services.

    MYTH: The Government should just enforce the law to solve our
    immigration problems.
    FACT: Enforcement alone will not solve our immigration problems. The cost would be prohibitive, it would have a detrimental effect on
    the U.S. economy, and it would simply push certain immigrantsfurther into the underground economy.

    MYTH: Immigrants are not assimilating.
    FACT: Immigrants are assimilating at much the same rate as pastwaves of immigrants.

    MYTH: Immigrants are more likely to commit crimes than
    U.S. natives.
    FACT: Immigrants have a much lower incarceration rate than U.S. natives.

    MYTH: Workers that come to the United States as temporary workers
    will stay in the country once their visas expire.
    FACT: Historically, migrants from Mexico worked in the United States for a few months or years, but then returned home. Border enforcement has made that pattern much more difficult.

  • Arrchie Bunker

    I AM NOT SAYING DONT CLOSE THE BORDERS. I AM SAYING STOP THE IGNORANCE & HATE.

    Read whos to blame for our economy, its NOT the POOR MIGRANTS.

    300 BILLION$$ are not paid in taxes by USA CITIZENS, WHO CHEAT ON THEIR TAXES THAT’s A TRILLION$$$$$ EVERY 3.3YEARS.
    DONT BLAME THE POOR, STOP CHEATING AND OUR NATION IS OK. :):)
    What the hell happened??? Lets BLAME THE FOOD PICKING, , DISH WASHING, LAWN MOWING UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS. YEAHH

    Before you Scream and show Ignorance and Hate at least read the Immigration Law regarding Undocumented Immigrants.

    UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS ARE NOT CRIMINALS. Its a Civil Matter.

    The whole thing is perplexing to people who don’t understand that being an illegal immigrant in and of itself is not a crime. The most pervasive comments made in news stories about Secure Communities go a little like this: “Illegal immigrants are what they’re called — they’re considered criminals by mere definition. Illegals who broke a bunch of laws to enter and live here should be subjected to immediate arrest and deportation — that’s fair for everyone.”

    That’s not accurate, but a lot of people have that same misunderstanding — even law enforcement professionals.

    During a teleconference last month on the troubles that Secure Communities is bringing to local law enforcement agencies, a few sheriffs on the call commiserated about their misunderstanding of immigration violations.

    “I was always told it was a felony federal violation of law and was always under the impression that turning over any illegal immigrants (to ICE) was mandated by federal law — and so did my employees,” said Sheriff Ed Prieto of Yolo County, Calif. “But after we met with the Mexican consulate in Sacramento we learned it’s not. Then I started looking into how many of our people are being deported before trial and I became very uncomfortable contacting ICE for nonviolent offenders.”

    Kane County, Ill., Sheriff Patrick Perez said that “90 percent of law enforcement officers believe (just being an illegal immigrant) is a crime, but I learned after talking to an immigration judge that it is just a civil offense.”

    Sara Dill, a member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration and a member of the ABA’s Criminal Justice Council, explained it to me this way: “States are seeking to criminalize what is only a civil violation in federal law.” Dill said that failing to get a permit for home construction is one example of a civil, not criminal, violation. “Putting illegal immigrants in a criminal context confuses merely being present in the United States without authorization with crimes such as falsely claiming citizenship or identity theft, which are crimes under federal law.”

    Everyone knows that of the universe of illegal immigrants, some have committed nonviolent and violent crimes — and everyone believes these should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    But believers of following “the letter of the law” cannot continue equating all illegal immigrants living in this country with criminals, who have plenty of civil rights of their own. That’s not the American way.

  • Arrchie Bunker

    I AM NOT SAYING DONT CLOSE THE BORDERS. I AM SAYING STOP THE IGNORANCE & HATE.

    Read whos to blame for our economy, its NOT the POOR MIGRANTS.

    300 BILLION$$ are not paid in taxes by USA CITIZENS, WHO CHEAT ON THEIR TAXES THAT’s A TRILLION$$$$$ EVERY 3.3YEARS.
    DONT BLAME THE POOR, STOP CHEATING AND OUR NATION IS OK. :):)
    What the hell happened??? Lets BLAME THE FOOD PICKING, , DISH WASHING, LAWN MOWING UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS. YEAHH

    Before you Scream and show Ignorance and Hate at least read the Immigration Law regarding Undocumented Immigrants.

    TO ALL YOU LAZYY FREE LOADERS WHO SIT AND WAIT FOR THE GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS AND LIVE ON OUR TAXES, YES THE SOUTHERN STATES, GET OFF YOUR LAZY BACKSIDES, GET TO WORK AND BUILD YOUR OWN LIFE INSTEAD OF BLAMING OTHERS FOR YOUR OWN FAILURES.
    IDEA: GO TO THE MIRROR AND SLAPPPP HARD THE PERSON YOU SEE BECAUSE YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE IN CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE. WHAT WILL IT BE??

    IF YOU WANT TO $UCC$EED, GET DR NAPOLEON HILLS BOOK, THINK & GROW RICH AND $$$UCC$EED.

    If you are an American citizen, don’t let anyone tell you that you are downtrodden.

    We still live in the greatest country in the world. The United States is the great experiment in positive thinking; our entire system of government is based upon faith in the inherent goodness of the individual. It was a revolutionary idea more than 200 years ago when the Declaration of Independence was first signed. Borrowing from the greatest thinkers in history, our founding fathers established a form of government of the people that is today the model most imitated around the world. Economic and political conditions ebb and flow, but as long as we have a democratic society that celebrates the individual, we can achieve anything in life we desire. All you require to be successful in the United States is the desire to achieve success and the determination to stick with it until you reach your goals.

  • sean

    Those who consume alchol in bars contribute to the economy.Those who drive their legally registered cars with a legal drivers license whilst drunk are contributing to the economy through their purchases.
    Statistics can show that only one in a thousand drunken trips behind the wheel of an auto causes an accident.
    Surely only those who commit the serious crime of being a drunken driver and injuring another road user should be charged with a crime.

    Measures taken to detect,apprehend and charge those drivers intoxicated before they cause an accident is therefore prejudicial,racist.

    Those regularly arrested for DWI are Black,White,Hispanic,Irish,Mexican American,Lesbian,Gay,Republican,Democrat,Atheist,Muslim,Protestant,Jewish,Catholic.

    The arguments in support of illegal immigrants are preposterous as above if applied to any other law.

  • http://numbersusa.com FreeTexan

    If your parents are rich, you get better opportunities. If your parents are poor, not so much. If parents are criminals, the child suffers. Parents always affect their childrens lives. No parent I know would dream of raising children illegally in another country.

    The kids are under 18? Send ‘em back with their parents & no whining about leaving friends or having to learn another language. Our military kids do it all the time.

    The kids are over 18? They are adults & breaking the law like their parents. Send ‘em back. Every other country would.

    The problem is that we keep putting this off. We wouldn’t have this situation, if we’d have sent them back right away.

    Every year that you’ve been here should make the punishment worse. Here illegally? No citizenship or visa ever. Working here illegally? Fine the employer, too. Make it difficult to live here and you’ll have enforcement by attrition. They can pay their own way back home.

    The American Dream is for Americans. Legal Ones!

  • http://knappster.blogspot.com Thomas L. Knapp

    “The Constitution gives the Federal government the sole power to enact immigration law, not the states.”

    Um … nope. There is no enumerated federal power in the Constitution to regulate immigration.

    That power was discussed and explicitly rejected because ratification required that (Pennsylvania was bringing in lots of immigrants as early industrialization demanded labor, and the southern states were touchy because federal regulation might be applied to slavery; the anti-federalists, oddly enough, argued for such a power on the basis of “preserving national identity”), and Congress acted for the subsequent 85 year on the premise that it did not exist. An activist Supreme Court “discovered” it in 1875, but even then the first federal immigration regulation, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, was premised on a treaty clause, not that imaginary constitutional power.

    From ratification until 1882, the only federal immigration laws were regulations allowing federal port masters to enforce STATE immigration restrictions and to collect fees and fines for doing so.

    There’s no such thing as an illegal immigrant right now. Federal immigration rules are unconstitutional and therefore void, and the only state rules that exist at the moment are based on those void federal rules.

  • kenneth

    16 more months of obama- Need i say more

  • Brittanicus

    VERY URGENT! DON’T LET TIME RUN OUT..?

    Before the August recess of Congress, the American people can aid jobless citizens, legal permanent aliens by insisting that The Legal Workforce Act, H.R. 2164 be brought to the House floor for a vote. Time is of the essence and Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith has an answer, to produce millions of jobs quickly and efficiently requiring the use of E-Verify nationwide that would free up jobs currently held by illegal aliens. This is a chance to help your fellow unemployed countryman by Calling House Leadership NOW Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for the “Speaker of the House’s office” or the “House Majority Leader’s office. This is a very distasteful situation but birthright and legal individuals have a right to be employed over foreign cheap labor. You can also call the direct lines by dialing:

    * House Speaker John Boehner — 202-225-0600
    * House Majority Leader Eric Cantor — 202-225-4000

    America has been silently invaded and we are heading towards a future of overpopulation. We do not have the financial resources anymore and taking money from US taxpayers to pay for illegal alien’s welfare, emergency hospital visits and more throughout America is wrong. In all the discussions about cutting back on the US treasury deficits, both parties are refusing to consider in these opposed debates, the fact that illegal aliens are compounding this major issue; the dollar amount to the $14.5 Trillion dollars, in this depressed meltdown we are facing. The Department of Homeland Security estimated in 2003, that 8 million to 12 million illegal aliens had settled in America and 700,000 new people enter illegally and stay each year, with 8 million plus taking jobs from low income, middle class workers. This is about illegal immigration? An immigrant is not illegal and people need to be enlightened.

    E-Verify will reduce Sanctuary Cities and States policies, counter react The Dream Act, Secure Communities and place on iron fist of another fraudulent Amnesty being enacted. Secure Communitiesis also an excellent policing enforcement tool, but that is already enacted, but receiving negative publicity. Highly skilled Professional workers are always welcome, not indigent ECONOMIC illegal aliens who are driving this country, into a third world condition. We cannot accommodate any longer those who come here to steal welfare and public services from valid Americans. It is estimated that illegal aliens send home by wire transfer around $40 billion dollars annually, which should be going into state treasuries. Join the TEA PARTY; join the people of Black, White, Hispanic and every race and backgrounds who believe in the “Rule of Law.”

    PASS THIS INFORMATION ON TO EVERYBODY YOU TRUST.