The subject of immigration reform is a hot topic these days. As of this writing on the 20th of June 2007, the U.S. Senate is working on what some have described as a "backdoor" deal on Immigration Reform. Many in the Legislative Branch believe that we must put together a 'comprehensive' Immigration Reform package that is best for Americans and for Mexican Immigrants. President Bush supports this comprehensive approach as well.
We disagree with the so-called 'comprehensive' approach because we disagree that it's best for Americans. We concern ourselves with what is best for immigrants after, and only after we've determined and secured what is best for Americans. After all, this is our country.
Though it is a complex subject in some respects, we believe that fundamentally it is fairly simple; and that by taking quantifiable, measurable steps, we can accomplish real and enduring immigration reform.
Step 1: Our borders must be secured. In a post 9/11 world there can be no question about this, and it is appalling that our "representatives" fail to treat this seriously. We believe the best method of securing our open southern border is in building a fence. In his recent book, State of Emergency, Pat Buchanan suggests how a fence could be built: dual fences with a 2-way road in between them for border patrol to use, monitored by cameras and motion sensors. The fence works in San Diego; the Israelis could also teach us a thing or two about how a fence works. That there will always be a way to break in for the most determined and enterprising invaders doesn't negate the fact that a fence would halt nearly all illegal immigration. Nor should that fact be a deterrent to building the fence.
Step 2: No Amnesty for illegals. Upon securing our borders, no illegal alien should be granted amnesty. While the fence will prevent more illegal aliens from entering the country, we strongly oppose any legislation that rewards breaking the law. We are either a nation that respects the rule of law, or we are not. Furthermore, and immediately, every illegal alien in our prison system should be deported to his/her country of origin, or the south side of the border fence minimally. It is insult on top of injury that US citizens are supporting illegal aliens who have come here and committed felonies.
Concurrently, we insist on no fast track to citizenship. American citizenship is an honor that is to be bestowed upon persons meeting certain qualifications. We believe that all prospective American citizens have the responsibility to apply legally and in a manner consistent with existing laws. A prospective American citizen is one who respects Americans and American laws, and who honors that respect by applying for citizenship through official and legal means pursued by himself/herself, on his/her own merits.
Step 3: Enforce existing immigration laws. As illegals are caught - be it through workplace enforcement, traffic stops, whatever - they should be treated as an illegal alien and deported.
Step 4: No "Anchor Babies": It is our firm position that children born within these borders to illegal immigrant parents do not qualify for automatic citizenship status under the fourteenth amendment. Someone who is here illegally is not "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States; logically, neither are their minor children. This was the spirit and intent of the 14th Amendment, which can be readily seen by studying the drafting and passage of the Amendment.
Step 5: Limited Services for Immigrants and Welfare Reform. Taxpayer provided services such as health-care, food and housing assistance programs, wic, welfare, and etc., are provided by the American taxpayer and intended for the use of American citizens. With the exception of limited emergency care our position is that all taxpayer provided goods and services are to be withheld from immigrants in compliance thereof.
Furthermore, while we are reminded constantly that there are simply jobs that "Americans won't do" we would be remiss to not add that federal welfare should be abolished. This is perfectly acceptable for the states to provide, as it falls under their sphere of responsibility. The dual benefit of finding out just how many jobs there are that Americans won't do is that, as Benjamin Franklin believed, leading people out of poverty is the morally right thing to do (decreasing a person's dependence on government is increasing a person's liberty).
Step 6: lastly, have real open and candid legislation created on how many people we are going to allow to come to the US annually and from where. Whereas the "comprehensive" crowd would like to do this concurrently, there is no logical justification for doing so until the previous steps are completed.
We firmly assert that the steps as detailed - in order of execution - are critical to creating lasting and meaningful immigration reform. The problems we have today are the result of well-meaning but poorly crafted policy. The time is right for well-meaning and well-crafted policy.
MT ADDS 7/21/07: This was written back in June and never posted as a blog post, but as another link to the Interest section. It's being posted to the blog today as another means of linking up our recommended solutions to our readers.