Amid surging illegal immigration along the border with Mexico, several Republican governors are boasting about sending the national guard to the border as part of their plan to end the crisis. In turn, Democratic activists are harassing United States senators to pass amnesty for unauthorized immigrants.
The sad reality is that neither side seems to understand why America has an illegal immigration problem and, because of that, they’re proposing solutions that will not solve any of our immigration woes.
Instead of empty proposals after every border surge, we need to rethink the legal immigration system so that fewer people attempt to enter illegally, and so that Americans benefit from welcoming hardworking immigrants who share American values.
First, the National Guard cannot enforce immigration law. Secondly, even if we built a North Korea-style wall with Mexico — which would involve atrocious human rights violations — most unauthorized immigrants enter with visas.
For the left, amnesty on the other hand is a short-term fix that does nothing to prevent the problem from arising again. It also does nothing for all the legal and highly skilled immigrants who are being punished harshly under current laws and by senseless regulations.
So, what can be done? We must stop dealing in fantasies and idealistic scenarios.
One of these fantasies is that everyone can be let into the U.S. without any process to make sure these people don’t commit crimes or become public charges for American taxpayers.
This isn’t just open borders, it’s no borders. Allowing unlimited immigration would lead to a human catastrophe as millions of migrants rush to enter the country unchecked, among them criminals and people who will resort to unlawful ways of earning a living to get by.
Another fantasy is that the U.S. only needs to enforce current immigration law and can deport every unauthorized immigrant.
Deportations cost on average of $11,000, a price that’s worth paying for criminals but not so surely others. Finding every single person illegally in the country would push that price tag upwards.
It would cost between $420 and $620 billion to deport 11 million people, which is $2,900 to $4,300 per taxpayer. Moreover, millions of these immigrants are the husbands, wives, fathers, or mothers of legal Americans but cannot obtain legal status after a 1996 change in the law. Deporting such people would devastate the lives of millions of Americans who might fall into poverty and welfare, also borne by the American taxpayer.
To maintain American safety, all immigrants coming to this country should be vetted. But with thousands of illegal crossings daily, criminals are slipping through the border — unnoticed.
How do we minimize illegal migration? Even with mandatory E-Verify, people get away with paying workers in cash, while abusive work settings pop-up nationwide.
The answer can be found in a 2020 peer-reviewed study concluding that increasing the number of available temporary work visas to immigrants reduces illegal immigration to a greater extent than the increase in legal immigrants.
This is a no-brainer; legal temporary immigrants are all vetted, pay taxes in full, and are allowed to leave and return rather than stay in America for fear of not being able to come back like unauthorized immigrants do.
To grow the economy, the government needs to make it as easy and simple as possible for high-skilled immigrants and entrepreneurs to come to America.
Unfortunately, U.S. immigration agencies are like all other government agencies — bloated and inefficient.
A green card for employment and entrepreneurial reasons takes an average of over two years for a would-be-American immigrant and tens of thousands of dollars in government and lawyer fees.
If you’re a Nobel prize winner from India and apply for a green card today, your wait time is over 17 years. For other high-skilled immigrants it's over 100 years. All because of arbitrarily low limits on the number of extremely smart people who can come to America.
Former President Trump was right in 2019 when he said, "We don't want to lose our great companies because we have a ridiculous policy that we won't accept smart people."
Congress can fix this by requiring United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to cut non-security related red tape and establishing maximum processing times and increasing the number of green cards available for skills-based migration.
Some Republicans in Congress are already leading with conservative immigration solutions. Among them are Representative Marionette Miller-Meeks of Iowa, Young Kim of California, and Maria Elvira Salazar of Florida. Miller-Meeks and Kim introduced the CHILDREN Act along with bipartisan members of Congress.
The act would allow the children of high skilled legal immigrants who grew up in America and graduated college to obtain permanent residence.
You’d think this was the law already, but these legal immigrant teens are now forced to self-deport. Salazar’s DIGNITY proposal, a framework for conservative immigration reform, including border security, a pathway to legal status for unauthorized immigrants who abide by the law, pay taxes, and maintain good conduct, and modernizing work visa programs.
The immigration system should keep America safe, encourage economic growth, and allow for family reunification. The current system does none of these.
Miller-Meeks, Kim, Salazar and other Republicans are showing what a Republican party which stands for legal immigration looks like.
That’s the GOP I believe in.
That’s the same political party that will fix the Biden immigration disaster.
Daniel Di Martino is a Newsmax Insider, Ph.D. in Economics candidate at Columbia University, and Young Voices Senior Contributor. You can follow him on Twitter here.
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