The immigration debate is one of rising importance in America. While most people are against a solution such as amnesty, the debate rages on about how we go about fixing the problems with immigration, putting an end to illegal immigration, and what would be a pragmatic solution to this problem.
Most estimates say we have 12-20 million illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States. Other estimates go as low as 7 million, others as high as 34 million. This is a lot of people, nonetheless. The reasons as to why people illegally immigrate to this country are fairly obvious. We are a great nation of promise and opportunity. However, we must keep in mind that illegal immigration is exactly that...illegal. It is a violation of American laws.
The focus, naturally, is on the border between the United States and Mexico. While the pro-amnesty/pro-legalization left claims that this focus is inherently racist in nature, it should be worth pointing out that, according to a 2005 report by the Pew Hispanic Center, a combined 81% of all illegal immigrants come from either Mexico, Central America, or South America. 9% come from Asia, 6% from Europe, and 4% from everywhere else.
For the 81% coming from points south of the United States, I believe that we must look at stronger border security. This includes an effective fence and increased border patrol. For the 9% coming from Asia, many of which are Chinese laborers smuggled via ports into this country, we need better port security. We don't just border Canada and Mexico, you know, we also border the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans...as well as the Gulf of Mexico.
Not only that, but stronger border security prevents drug smuggling, as well as human smuggling and weapons trafficking. This is one area we should get a lot of assistance from the Mexican government, as Mexican President Felipe Calderon has been very tough on the drug cartels during his first year in office.
We must also punish the corporations that knowingly entice and employ illegal immigrants for the sake of exploiting cheap labor.
As For Illegals in America...
Now, the solutions above seem to be targeted at stopping the flow of illegal immigration into America...but what about the illegals here. What do we do with them?
Amnesty is not an option, and neither is attempting to round up every illegal immigrant and throw them out.
Now, illegal aliens who are convicted of another crime should be deported. They are already here illegally, committing another crime should be a ticket back to wherever they come from. However, the majority of the illegal immigrant population aren't breaking any other laws (as they really can't afford to, since they would be deported). How do we further reduce the population of illegals?
So we give them no reason to stay. There are 3 ways to do this.
- Dissolve the loopholes that allow them to receive entitlements such as welfare and Medicare (which many of them receive through false Social Security numbers and identities).
- Crack down on the corporations that hire illegals and landlords who house them.
- Create a penalty for "sanctuary cities", this penalty will be removed from the federal funding the city receives...and the longer the city keeps it's "sanctuary" status, the greater the penalties become.
This will undoubtedly create a reverse flow of these illegal aliens. In fact, this reverse flow is already starting to happen in the wake of increased enforcement (and the favorability of increased enforcement) of immigration laws.
Filling the Economic Hole, Visa Overstayers, and an Opportunity for Illegals
Of course, because the issue of illegal immigration has gone on relatively untouched in the way that it has gone, illegal immigrants hold a very sizable percentage of lower-income, manual labor jobs. To eliminate these workers would cause a problem for many corporations as they would attempt to fill these jobs, probably with limited success.
However, given that the unemployment rate in our country is very low, and those that remain unemployed are generally undesirable for one reason or another, the need for these laborers is high. So we make it clear and simple.
The number of visas, temporary and permanent, that are given out to foreigners needs to be increased fairly dramatically...plain and simple. The process for those looking to immigrate to this country legally needs to be made more accessible and easier for potential immigrants to manuver through.
Illegal immigrants who do not have a serious criminal history in America would be welcomed back, but they would have to get in line with everyone else...however, with a freer and faster flow of immigrants into America in a legal form, this would allow formerly illegal immigrants to come back to America legally much faster than they could under the current system.
Those with a serious criminal history, as is currently the law, will not be welcomed back...at least, not so easily.
The process of renewing visas needs to be made simpler and easier, as well. This way, we eliminate a large percentage of visa overstayers, who normally overstay their visa due to the lengthy renewal process or because they were not aware of their status.
This would allow for a larger flow of migrant workers for corporations that rely on this form of labor as well as bolster confidence in the immigration process by making the process more efficient.
By giving illegal aliens no reason to stay in America, as well as giving them the promise of an easier path to legal immigration if they return to their nation of origin, we give many of those who are simply looking for a better life a chance to actually achieve that goal. They will be able to achieve this goal without having to break laws and go to great lengths to conceal their existence.
Thus, these potential immigrants can choose the legal, lawful path towards working and living in America. By doing so, we ease racial tensions quite a bit and these immigrants can better assimilate into our society as law-abiding citizens who contribute to a better America without having to break the law to get here in the first place.