What I have always respected about Turn PW Blue, is the reasonable and logical way he approaches problem solving, while still taking into consideration the human perspective. What PW proposes are solutions that are not only fair BUT can be implemented. I believe this is an approach that most people could support. Let’s talk about it!
Turn PW Blue, 23. July 2008, 10:05
OK, this is going to be long–not apologizing, just warning…
This issue, like so many others facing our nation today, has been brought down to a sound-bite level that does none of us any good. We want to boil it down into simplistic terms and arguments–you either “get the problem” or you’re an illegal alien sympathizer…if you question cracking down on illegal immigrants, you’re racist…you’re either with us or you’re against us.
Well, folks, it’s not that simple. There are shades of grey and nuances of position.
I have a problem with illegal immigration. I don’t think it’s right. I don’t believe there should be a blind eye to what is, after all is said and done, an illegal action. But I also don’t believe that rounding up everyone without proper documentation is the answer. I empathize with those who have risked an awful lot to try to make it to the United States simply on the ideal that a better life will await them. Isn’t that, after all, the message we try to send about America? It’s the land of boundless opportunity. Further, the economist and free-marketer in me sees the value of the ready flow of labor in the economy.
So I’m torn.
On one hand you have a group that has violated the law. They are here illegally. The law and order side of me says all else is not germane to the discussion. They broke a law. They should not be here. But the human side is not irrelevant. In fact, it is the very core of who we are as a nation. Are we not a nation of immigrants? Were we not founded by people seeking to escape persecution and to live free? Is that not the very premise upon which we founded this great republic?
So here’s my plan…my modest proposal, if you will.
One, our current immigration laws are broken. The quotas we have established are arbitrary. The process to become a legal citizen is overly complex and too restrictive. We need to reset our quotas and institute comprehensive immigration reform that includes temporary worker programs. We can look to the EU for some ideas on how such programs might work.
Second, we need to establish a path to citizenship for those who are already here and have been productive, law-abiding members of our society. It is all well and good to say that they are tainted by their first act of lawlessness and not fit for citizenship, but let’s be realistic. There are at least 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. It is neither rational nor feasible to even ponder a course of action that does not include some way to legitimize those who, except for the “original sin” of entering the country illegally, have lived model lives. We cannot deport 12 million+, so let’s not muddy the waters by even trying to contemplate how we can do that. So who qualifies? One, longevity counts. Show proof you’ve been in the country more than five years and you can enter the program. Been here less than five years? You can apply for a temporary worker visa or go home. Two, law breakers are out. Drive drunk? You go home. Steal? You go home. Any misdemeanor or felony is a ticket to deportation. Three, pass the naturalization exam.
Third, in conjunction with reform to our immigrations laws, we need to put some teeth in our immigration enforcement. So long as a viable worker visa program exists and quotas are set reasonably, there is no reason not to tighten up the border and crack down on those who attempt to enter the country through illegal means. Additionally, we need to go after those who provide the very incentive for people to risk everything to come here–employers. As part of our immigration reform, we need to put in place substantial penalties for those who hire and exploit undocumented workers. Large fines and jail time are appropriate for the most egregious and habitual violators. Eliminate the demand for cheap, immigrant labor and the supply will dry up. Put in a system to check immigration status that actually works (the current eVerify is a disaster).
At the local government level, get out of the immigration debate. All Corey Stewart has done is pawn off the problem on someone else, create a sense of ill-will with surrounding jurisdictions, and paint PWC as intolerant (at best) and bigoted (at worst). Local government should be dealing with local issues. With all the talk about illegal immigration and the time and effort expended on this issue, other core responsibilities of local government have been ignored (to our peril). Our roads are crowded and our schools are bursting. Our tax base is too reliant on residential. Far too many of our citizens are on the road 30 minutes to several hours a day commuting outside of PWC to find gainful employment. You want to make a name for yourself in PWC politics? Find a way to fix those issues and stop looking for cheap publicity by latching on to the newest “hot topic” in confrontational governing.
Notice that no where in this proposal do I talk about language or culture. We are a nation in constant flux. Our culture is an agglomeration of the cultures of our own ancestors with some homespun spice. You cannot legislate culture. You cannot legislate acculturation. Our “American” culture has survived past influxes of immigrants (who were, at the time, considered “undesirable” and a “threat” to the American way of life). We will survive and prosper through this one as well.