Let me clarify my stance…

And provide a possible solution to the “problem” with illegal immigration.

First of all, let me say that protesting is a great way to get your voice heard on issues that concern you. However, people will pay a lot closer attention to you and relate better to your cause if you’re not just “against” an injustice as you see it. You have to offer an alternative. By not being “for” a better way–and detailing that better way–you diminish your views for those whom you might have swayed. So let me detail my views a little bit better on the issue of Illegal Immigration (Nick, are you listening?):

  • First of all, illegal immigration is a problem in this country that needs to be acknowledged and a way to fix it proposed.
  • Secondly, by acknowledging that not ALL illegal immigrants are criminals, drug dealers, terrorists, etc. we will find common ground upon which to debate this issue with decency, common sense, and respect.
  • Lastly, we need to start by recognizing that all immigrants, legal or illegal, are human beings who deserve respect, compassion, and basic human dignity.

The above sets the stage for a reasonable debate that might be able to make some progress toward resolving this issue. So without further adieu, let me lay out my plan for fixing the illegal immigration problem:

  1. The system itself is broken and needs to be fixed. We need to cut the bureaucratic red tape and streamline the process for a person to become a LEGAL immigrant. By taking this important first step, the following steps fall right in line.
  2. Provide a 30-90 day amnesty period for all immigrants here illegally with jobs to begin the process of applying for citizenship. This step can only take place after the system is fixed. Upon the conclusion of the amnesty period, those who have refused to apply are considered criminals. Presumably, this would be those who came here not to work, but rather for illicit reasons. It is important to note that those who have applied for amnesty be granted some type of ID card indicating their status while the appropriate background checks are being done. It is also important that the Department of Immigration and Naturalization be provided the appropriate funding to hire more employees to accept and process these amnesty applications as well as resolving the backlog of current applications for citizenship. This may include the opening of more facilities in major metropolitan areas to facilitate the influx of applicants.
  3. Create job banks in major border-crossing cities to assist immigrants with finding jobs. This step will help reduce the strain on the current welfare and government assistance system. Since the idea of illegal immigrants utilizing State and Federal Aid programs is a very contentious issue for opponents of the current proposed legislation, it is important that the jobs listed pay a living wage, or at least close to it so as to relieve the burden on these already overtaxed programs. The job banks themselves can be either new offices, or extensions of current unemployment offices. It is imperative that there also be stiff financial penalties for businesses who decide to circumvent the system and continue hiring illegal immigrants. By discouraging the hiring of illegal immigrants through the use of fines, businesses will, in effect, close the loophole that exists in the form of sub-standard wages for “jobs Americans don’t want”. This will not only benefit immigrants, but also Americans who choose to take these jobs. The biggest factor that brings illegal immigrants to this country, besides the hassle and time it takes to navigate the current bureaucratic system, is the fact that they are willing to accept ANY job to support themselves and/or their families. We need to return to the idea of emigrating to this country because of the promise of a better life.
  4. Finally, allocate the appropriate resources to Border Control for securing our borders, both North and South. This will include increasing the ranks of current Border Control agents by hiring new agents. In this step, I would also outlaw Citizen Vigilante groups such as the Minutemen. The members of groups such as these most likely have very little training in how to appropriately apprehend suspected illegals. In fact, with proper training, some of these individuals might just make fine Border Control Agents. I also would NOT advocate for making Border Control part of Homeland Security. By encompassing an entity such as Border Control into Homeland Security, you limit the amount of oversight by knowledgeable people of this government agency. While Border Control could fall under Homeland Security for Congressional Appropriations funding, ultimately exclusive control would need to remain with the agency itself. An example of why not to include it under Homeland Security is very evident if you look at FEMA’s response to Hurricane Katrina.

If we follow these recommendations, we could very well fix the system once and for all. Reducing the time and paperwork needed to apply for citizenship will absolutely reduce the number of illegals entering this country and secure our borders effectively. And in the end, isn’t that our goal?

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