Part Three — The Solution
By Samuel Fain,
America’s Right contributor
Many thanks go to Sam Fain for his hard work. His unique and well-reasoned perspective is what compelled me to ask for his input with regard to the illegal immigration problem in the United States of America.
His previous two installments, “Punishment, or Reward?” and “Adding Insult to Injury,” were in my opinion a great look, from the perspective of a legal immigrant, at the problem of illegal immigration and the federal government’s utter failure to address it. The installment below is Sam’s idea for a solution.
As always, he does not dissapoint. Enjoy.
The proponents of CIRA, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act–or, as I prefer to think of it, the “Criminal Alien Reward Act”– often argue that it is easy to criticize their efforts at solving the immigration problem, but that they haven’t seen any other rational, workable solutions. This is very strange, since multitudes of approaches have been published, but in order to help John McCain, Ted Kennedy and George W. Bush out as fellow human beings, I am going to make my own attempt at proposing a solution.
It bears reminding ourselves that in order to solve a problem, that problem must first be clearly defined. So let us begin by trying to define exactly what we are trying to remedy.
There are three things wrong the immigration status quo. The questions everyone is trying to answer are:
1. How do we secure our border and stop illegal immigration in its tracks?
2.What do we do with illegal aliens already here?
3. How do we provide labor so needed by our economy?
I would argue that those are completely distinct, independent questions. The solution to one might be a solution to another, but it doesn’t have to be. It is perfectly logical to try to solve each of those problems separately, in the best possible way, instead of making attempts to fix them all together with a generic, one-size-fits-all solution such as CIRA.
Stopping Illegal Immigration in its Tracks
So, let us look at the first and most critical problem, since aside from feeding the problem of illegal immigration, it directly affects our national security.
We live in a time of war. There are literally hundreds of millions of people out there who would not hesitate to do us harm in the most horrific ways. In this environment it is criminal, even suicidal for a country under attack to lack secure borders. Yet Senators McCain and Kennedy, along with the others who supported them last spring, still continue to fight tooth-and-nail against any real measures which would stem the flow of unidentified people across our border.
It is well known that among illegal aliens sneaking into the U.S.A. from Mexico, there are many from Middle Eastern countries, including those on our terrorist state list. Just recently, two Iraqis with fake documents were apprehended south of the border. Why are we allowing this to happen?
Actually, Ironically, this is also the easiest, hopefully least controversial and most straight-forward problem to solve. We just need to secure our borders like all other countries do, and both the terrorist infiltration and the illegal immigration will stop by default.
The “open border” crowd claims that walls, fences and barriers don’t work. Nonsense! If that were the case, why does President Bush have a wall around the White House? Why doesn’t he tear it down, if he doesn’t believe in its ability to stop people from sneaking in?
Walls do work. The wall which Israel was forced to build in order to protect herself against Palestinian terrorism stopped terrorist attacks cold. Since the barrier, which in most places is a simple fence, was built, the number of attacks dropped dramatically, and those attacks which do take place originate mostly from areas where the wall is not built.
Right now, Mexico is demanding that American taxpayers pay $1.4 billion to secure Mexico’s southern border. [Even more frustrating, it sadly looks as though the effort was White House-driven. --Jeff] Obviously, they feel they can secure their border. And so can we.
This is a national security issue. If we can afford to pay for Mexico’s security against its southern neighbors, we can certainly afford to pay for our own. We need to build a real wall or fence across our border with Mexico. We need to have that border monitored 24/7 using the latest advances in technology. We need to have border patrol capable of reaching any point of the border within minutes. We need the military to back up the border patrol, and we need their mission to be protecting our sovereignty.
Will it cost money? Yes. However, given the wasteful spending and record budgets, this is not a credible excuse to continue to leave our nation unprotected. If we can justify having our military men and women build school desks and dig sewer ditches half way around the world, we can certainly find a role for them right here, doing what they signed up to do in the first place: Protect their country against a foreign invasion. It is an insult to send them across the globe for peace-keeping missions in places nobody ever heard about, when right now right here their own country’s border is being trampled, and their country’s sovereignty is being violated.
Another objection to building a physical barrier is the argument that “every wall can be defeated, so why even try?”
Well, aside from the sheer nonsensical nature of this argument (we can’t capture all murderers, so why even have police departments?), we should try because if an imperfect wall cuts down the number of aliens sneaking in from hundreds per day to a dozen per year, it will be more than worth the effort.
Yet another purely emotional argument against a protected border that needs to be debunked is the oft-used but completely bogus comparison of such a barrier to the infamous Berlin Wall. This analogy is patently false, since the Berlin Wall was a matter of East German government trying to keep their own people IN, whereas the only purpose of any civilized country border is to keep intruders OUT. The difference is enormous and critical. Any free person has a right to dislike his or her place of residence and a right to move out of it. Otherwise, that place is a prison. On the other hand, no person in the world has a right to move into any particular country of their choice, unless he or she is a citizen there.
Think of it this way: While any free man or woman has a right to walk out of his or her own house. However, that doesn’t give that person a right to walk into any other house of their choosing without the owners’ permission. Such an act would be criminal, and nobody in their right mind would criticize homeowners for installing locks on their doors to prevent this.
It seems that the open borders crowd thinks that our country’s sovereignty is less valuable than a private person’s home. I disagree.
Addressing Those Already Here
The second issue that needs to be addressed is the millions of illegal aliens who have already succeeded in sneaking into our country without our permission.
Again, the CIRA proponents’ argument is almost always reduced to “since we can’t deport tens of millions of people by tomorrow morning, we just have to give them all American citizenship.”
In addition to this being the same nonsensical straw man argument as given in the borders debate, it is interesting to note that these are the same always-nuanced people who often deride conservatives as only being able to see in black-and-white, as inflexible Neanderthals who never bend an inch from their outdated principles. On this issue, however, it is the McCain, Kennedy, Bush and the rest of immigration liberals who are suddenly incapable to see anything between the extremes of “send in the Gestapo to search every house and immediately deport tens of millions of people” and “make each criminal an American citizen.” This straw man rhetoric might be effective in softball interviews with sympathetic left-leaning anchors, but it is hollow and weak in the actual national debate.
Aside from terrorist infiltrators, what do these criminal aliens seek when they sneak into our country? They come for a “path to citizenship,” for jobs and benefits. It stands to reason that if those incentives for illegal aliens’ presence here disappear, so will the criminal aliens themselves.
As a matter of fact, unlike the non-solutions offered by the CIRA folk, this method is already proven as working in practice, not just in theory. This very moment, as a result of new laws cutting benefits to illegal immigrants in Oklahoma and Arizona, there is a virtual stampede of illegals escaping into Texas, which still provides them sanctuary.
The ironic thing is, some of those laws are not even in effect yet, and still the illegals prefer to move to more hospitable environments! The same thing is happening with “undocumented aliens” fleeing from Rhode Island to the sanctuary of Massachusetts, even though the law in question has not even been passed yet.
According to recent news stories, since some states decided to deny criminal immigrants free tuition, there is a rush of Mexican nationals here illegally to provide their children with Mexican papers and send them to Mexico to receive their education.
The main point of this approach is this: If we use it, there is no need deport anyone, as violators of our sovereignty, thieves of our jobs and our benefits will peacefully, quietly and simply deport themselves. Of course, state and local law enforcement should be given authority and responsibility to detain illegal aliens they accidentally catch while performing their primary duty, and to pass them to the immigration officials for deportation, but there will be absolutely no need for any wide-scale operations or redirection of valuable law enforcement resources. With incentives for criminal aliens to stay here gone, the problem will resolve itself, as current events unequivocally show.
As I’ve mentioned before, the two most essential patterns which need to be addressed are the hope for a citizenship as reward for breaking our immigration laws, and the jobs and benefits that illegal aliens are after.
The first part is very easy to fix: We should decide as a nation that we do not want criminals as future citizens. No amnesty, no reward, no “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens, under any circumstances. Problem solved.
The second part is feasible as well. To destroy the main magnet that brings them here and keeps them here, we have to make sure that there are no jobs available in the United States for criminal immigrants. That has to be done by punishing employers who hire them. Current laws are very lenient to such violators; they usually let employers off with a modest fine that is usually offset by the cheap price of hiring illegal workers. This problem can and should be fixed in two separate ways:
First, companies hiring undocumented workers should be punished by real fines that would make it untenable to continue doing business the same old illegal way. For instance, a $10,000 per illegal alien hired per week might do the trick. If that still proves insufficient, the fine should be raised. If it takes a few bankruptcies of corrupt enterprises to drive the point across, so be it. We cannot allow companies to operate outside the law. We don’t allow businesses to sell tobacco or alcohol to minors, we don’t allow them to sell narcotics, even if it is profitable. There is absolutely no reason to allow being above the law in this area.
Second, management of such companies should be held personally criminally responsible for decisions to hire illegal aliens, decisions which, after all, involve document fraud considering even the laws currently on the books. Even stiff fines might be looked at by wealthy executives as an additional price of doing business. However, a personal punishment such as, for example, a felony conviction with a month in jail per illegal alien hired per month will certainly get anyone’s attention. Again, even aside from the illegal immigration issue itself, as a nation of laws, we simply cannot let gross violations of these laws to go unpunished.
Of course, compliance with the law should not create an undue burden on businesses. So, a system needs to be in place that would allow an employer to quickly and easily check on a potential employee. Luckily for us, such a system has been operational for over ten years. It is called E-Verify (formerly known as the Basic Pilot/Employment Eligibility Verification Program) and is available for employers via the DHS Web site. at this page of the DHS web site. Many companies, including such giants as Dunkin’ Donuts, Hilton Hotels, and Cargill, have been using it with success. There is no excuse for any legitimate business not to follow in their footsteps.
The second half of the solution is elimination of benefits for illegal aliens. Set aside for a moment the enormous strain such benefits put on the already overburdened taxpayers. Set aside, even, the limited nature of these benefits resulting in unbearable and life-threatening waiting room crowds in hospital emergency rooms. Ignore too, for a moment, that there is something blatantly unfair in policies which, for example, provide in-state tuition for foreign criminals, whereas an honest American citizen from a neighboring state has to pay full price for the same school. Aside from all that, giving to illegal immigrants benefits which are the birthright of American citizens just cheapens the value of American citizenship. It says that there is nothing in being an American to which any foreigner is not entitled as well. This idea echoes the constant refrain emanating from the CIRA proponents: Every person in the world has a birthright to be an American, regardless of the law or proper process to obtaining that birthright.
This might be acceptable to Sen. McCain, Sen. Kennedy or President Bush, but as a naturalized citizen who is very proud of his citizenship and takes it very seriously, I am appalled by this notion.
We need to stop all benefits to which illegal trespassers currently claim to be entitled. No more tuition breaks. No more free health care. No more housing benefits. No more (incredible!) tax refunds. They are not entitled to any of this, and they shouldn’t be receiving any. If a real medical emergency occurs, help should be provided (we are not barbarians), but the authorities must be notified immediately, and the criminal alien must be detained and deported. Doctors are required to notify law enforcement of some suspicious circumstances, such as gun shot wounds, etc. This is no different.
In reality, these problems will likely not even arise. As we can see from real facts on the ground, illegal aliens will remove themselves to their homes back outside the country on mere news of benefits and jobs cuts, even before any enforcement actually occurs. It is only our permissiveness and appeasement that keep them here. When they realize illegal activity is not welcome here anymore and will not be rewarded, they will leave.
The final problem we need to address is this: Once we have secured our borders so that no new trespassers can break into our collective home, and once we have established the conditions for “self-deportation” of criminal aliens who have already slithered into our country, what can we do about the real or perceived shortage of workers for our economy?
Let us pretend, facts aside, that Sen. McCain is right, and that the positions filled by illegal immigrants are jobs Americans simply just don’t want to do. While the reality is very different, as aftermath of many immigration raids clearly shows (local citizens line up for jobs when given a chance at a fair competition), let’s pretend that the Boston Globe’s and New York Times’ favorite Republican is telling the truth, and that there are in fact millions of jobs Americans and legal residents just refuse to do. Suspend disbelief, just for a moment.
The CIRA approach is once again black and white: If somebody is willing to pick lettuce of our fields, we have to give them American citizenship. That doesn’t make any sense. When, after all, are the “immigration reform” proponents telling the truth? Is it when they say: “Those people only want to come here to work,” or is when in the same breath they claim: “We have to entice them with citizenship to get them to work here?”
There are without exaggeration hundreds of millions of people on this planet who would be in paradise if granted permission to temporarily work in the United States with the condition that they return home when the term of their visa expires. We don’t need to cheapen our citizenship even further by throwing it in as part of a job offer for “work that Americans just won’t do.”
Furthermore, this is another falsehood in the argument of CIRA proponents. Somehow, they reach the conclusion that if we don’t accept illegal aliens already here, our economy will shatter. That implies that only criminals would be willing to work in the United States. To say that this is not true would be an understatement. Senators McCain and Kennedy could only pick up the phone and call any American consulate on the face of the Earth to find out that law abiding people around the globe patiently wait in lines for years for a chance to come here to work. Annually authorized temporary work visas usually run out in less than a month. Yet McCain & Co. prefer to snub all the honest hard working rule-following people in favor of criminals who wouldn’t even be bothered with asking our permission to come through the door!
So, how do we solve the purported shortage of workers? Nothing could be easier.
We need to dramatically increase the number of authorized temporary short-term work visas. We should make it easy for employers to get their allotments of these visas, and each visa should be tied to a particular employer. If a worker is no longer needed, and he or she cannot within a certain period of time find another employer willing to pick up that visa, the worker’s visa is no longer valid, and he or she must return home.
These visas should only be given or renewed in person in an applicant’s home country. A biometric-based criminal background check should be required of each and every applicant, and no visa can be given until the Department of Homeland Security returns a clearance, no matter how long it takes.
Since this is only a temporary short-term work visa, no family members should be allowed to come with the worker. The only benefits such person would be receiving are those provided to him or her by his or her employer.
Under no circumstances can a person working under this short-term temporary visa be allowed to change it into something else, let alone given a “path to citizenship.” A worker is already paid for his or her efforts by his or her employer; no additional enticement is necessary. Also, upon the expiration of the visa or violation of its conditions, the holder will have to leave the country, with no exceptions. Over-staying of a visa, violation of any of its conditions or any prior history of breaking any U.S. laws should once and for all disqualify a person from ever entering the United States again.
This visa would obviously be different from the existing H1B visa, given to “skilled foreigners” for “specialty occupations” only. The number of authorizations issued for each type of work visa should depend on the demand of our economy, and each visa would have its own requirements and process. There is absolutely no need to conflate different types of visas, just like there is no need to tie one’s willingness to work in the U.S. to an eventual promise of the Grand Prize, the American citizenship. Those temporary visa holders who have for a substantial period of time proven themselves hard working, law abiding and wanted by their employers, might be given some advantage in consideration should they decide to join in the American Dream, but for them that process should still start outside of the country at the end of the immigration line, just like it does for everyone else.
By its very definition, no temporary work visa should give its holder any ideas about changing the status to stay here permanently. Under no circumstances should he or she be allowed to circumvent the general immigration line in which people wait patiently and properly for many years.
Following this simple yet flexible process would provide our economy with all the workers it needs in a particular season or year, while not rewarding criminal behavior, wasting taxpayers money and resources, or jeopardizing our security.
As we can see, if we don’t conflate distinctly different problems, if we follow common sense in solving each one of them separately, if we set our priorities to be the rule of law, national security and basic fairness, as opposed to rewarding and appeasing law breaking, we can solve all three problems in a workable, rational, fair and humane way. Following the rules will be rewarded, the economy will receive all the workers it needs, criminality will be punished, and our border security will be reinforced. One would think the advocates of a “comprehensive immigration reform” would jump at the idea.