Harry Neuwirth writes from Silverton, OR.
From the natural tendency of people to ally themselves with the land of their birth, there should be no emigration-immigration imbalance. Yet with an impoverished nation bordering on a highly prosperous one, migration in a single direction becomes reasonable as people defy their birthright to seek employment on the prosperous side of the border.
It is also perfectly natural for businessmen everywhere to seek price advantage and lower costs. The work force being a major cost factor in most enterprises, finding capable employees willing to work at lower than domestic wages has powerful attraction.
This, as we all know, is the crux of our "immigration problem," as the U.S. Congress has surely known for decades. It should also have known what must be done to correct the condition. But congressmen obviously lack the courage to do what's needed on their own initiative, nor have they had sufficient public pressure to induce them to provide a solution.
So the difficulty is not with learning how to put things right, but with having the conviction to do it. Obviously that conviction must arise in the electorate and be conveyed to the capitol before the Congress will do anything substantive; it's up to us down here in the precincts.
Here is a formula for putting things right over a period of a few months. If it sounds sensible to you, pass it on to your congressional delegation.
1. Tighten the southern border: Not pretend to seal it, but significantly reduce the rush of illegals.
2. Announce to America that all illegal immigrants must register (with efficient private enterprise firms) within 90 days of that announcement to receive a tamper-proof registration card with name, address, fingerprints, photo, years in country. Registration privilege ends 90 days after initial announcement!
3. Announce to such registrants that they must maintain a current address with the INS, then fall in at the end of the line of foreigners who've already petitioned for citizenship in the U.S., thereby becoming the nucleus of citizenship applicants for the next 24 years. (We can't seek out 12 million unwilling fugitives, so we must provide an incentive for them to come forward voluntarily: citizenship!)
To those who resent offering citizenship to persons who've violated U.S. law, we might consider extending that same feeling to the members of the executive branch who've ignored those laws. Decades of immigration-policy violation by Americans and their congressional and executive branch functionaries makes us complicit in those violations, thus subject to making amends in equal measure with the immigrants we decry.
4. Announce at the same time as the initial announcement in item 2 above that illegals who fail to register within 90 days will, ipso facto, become felons.
5. Announce that felons described in item 4 above will be vigorously pursued, prosecuted, punished, and repatriated as ex-felons. Then do it!
6. Announce to the American employers that commencing 6 months after implementation of item 2, above, American firms discovered employing unregistered illegals will themselves become felons and prosecuted as such. Unregistered employees and illegal immigrants will be naked before the law, American employers vulnerable to the law.
7. Jobs in America will dry up for illegal immigrants, pressure at the border will subside without need of a wall.
8. A guest-worker program that meets the needs of the nation can then be established.
The root of our problem is not at the border with Mexico, it's in Washington, D.C. and out in the precincts. For forty years or more the Congress and the executive have been guilty of ignoring and violating American immigration policy, diluting our sovereignty.
Sovereignty has a price: In America it's met under the rule of law. *
"The civilized man has a moral obligation to be skeptical, to demand the credentials of all statements that claim to be facts." --Bergan Evans