Like clockwork, the annual debate on immigration is in full swing. Ideologues on both sides are pushing for hardline measures to the delight of the Washington establishment, which knows that doing so kills any chance for a good bill.
Immigration reform hasn’t gone anywhere in decades, making it clear that neither party’s ruling class wants it.
The Democrats benefit because many illegals become aligned with that party. More significant, labor unions (a de facto arm of the Democratic Party) enjoy the status quo because illegal immigration increases their ranks, swells their coffers, and generates more support for the party.
Republicans erroneously believe that pushing reform hurts their standing with Latinos. It doesn’t.
Their lack of vision and inability to explain how Republican principles would make Latinos’ lives better (lower taxes, energy independence, competitive schools) are what kills Hispanic support for the GOP.
Additionally, many big business constituencies lobby against reform since they benefit from cheap, under-the-table labor, pocketing the difference while consumers get the screws.
However, should the unthinkable occur (a chance for comprehensive reform), here are some ideas:
- Leave the rhetoric behind and stop demonizing illegals. It’s not their fault America isn’t deterring illegal immigration. Most are simply trying to make a better life for their families, often enduring unspeakable hardships. That said, we must not get caught up in emotional sob stories. There is a legal way to enter America; doing so illegally, and staying here, are crimes that must be dealt with strictly. As President Reagan said, “A nation without borders is not a nation.”
- America is the most generous nation on earth regarding legal immigration, annually allowing entry to over 1 million. But since legal immigrants are slapped in the face whenever someone enters illegally, perhaps we should halt admitting the former until we control the latter.
- Build the border wall. Period. Costs could be controlled by utilizing nonviolent prisoners and illegal immigrants, with funding derived from drug seizures. Unquestionably, secure border walls substantially cut down the “supply” side. Just ask Israel. And drug traffickers and terrorists are crossing as well. Protecting our children and eliminating al-Qaeda’s free pass with a nuclear weapon should be everyone’s top priorities. Or we could wait until Phoenix gets vaporized, though that might be a tad late.
- Institute self-deportation policies. Employing stringent law enforcement measures on businesses and eliminating lavish public benefits would end much of the free ride enjoyed by illegal immigrants. Many will find it so onerous that they will return home on their own accord. Those pushing mass deportation are simply insane. It would literally take an army to find and deport the 12 to 20 million illegals, and the price tag would be astronomical. Worse, it would turn the U.S. into a bigger police state than it already is.
- Mandate every business utilize the free E-Verify system, which quickly determines the legal status of a potential hire. Companies in noncompliance should face stiff penalties, and criminal prosecution should be employed where warranted. Hitting businesses in the pocketbook always proves effective.
- There should be no government (a.k.a. “taxpayer”) assistance of any kind. No drivers’ licenses, no community college, no benefits. No matter how compelling the arguments for assistance are, illegal immigration is against the law, so government aid is aiding and abetting criminals. Change the law, but don’t ignore it. Doing so leads to total societal breakdown.
- Illegal immigrants convicted of crimes should serve their time and be deported, yet they are routinely released onto our streets. Why? Because their home countries don’t want them. Tough. Pass a bill that eliminating American aid to any country refusing its citizens. We’ll see how quickly they change their tune.
- Reasonably deal with illegals already here by documenting them and issuing long-term or lifetime work visas; permanently denying them citizenship and the right to vote; requiring them to pass a criminal background check; mandating they pay taxes; and levying fines (deducted in installments directly from paychecks).
Some will call that amnesty, but it’s actually something else: realistic. It penalizes lawbreakers, documents millions (bringing them out of the shadowy underworld), and makes them, and Americans, considerably safer. It would increase tax revenue and make formerly illegal workers pay into the benefits programs.
Some illegals would undoubtedly return home, since having to compete fair-and-square in the workforce is not easy, especially when there is a significant labor surplus and real unemployment near 15 percent.
There are no easy answers, and neither side will ever be fully satisfied. But one thing is certain: if Congress doesn’t act, things will get exponentially worse.
In that case, Congress should receive no amnesty, and face immediate deportation from voters.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.
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