Thursday, April 13, 2006

Immigration: What's wrong? What needs fixing?

Seeing Immigration seems to be a hot topic right now, and rightly so, regardless of what side of the argument you look at, it's a serious issue, we've decided to begin a debate on it, and will be regularly posting arguments regarding various facets of the issue at hand. Each day we will be taking a different part of immigration and looking at it, arguing the points of it, pro and con.

The first side of the argument I'd like to take:

Amnesty for the illegal immigrants already in the country.

Illegal immigration, first off, lets analyze what that really is. To enter the country without receiving prior authorization from the US government, or entering it under false pretenses(i.e. false documentation). Either one is serious, because they can undermine the security of the United States, and also cause other problems, such as crime, poverty, etc.

The problem is, we have en estimated 10,000,000 illegals in the US right now, and the government seems a bit hamstrung as to what they can do. They clearly want the problem to go away, and what to seem effective. That's one thing I have noticed with this government, they want to be seen doing something, anything more than whether that something is right. I'm not saying that everything they do is like this, only when there seems to be no easy or quick solution.

I am actually cautiously pro amnesty, but not what the government is proposing. I agree with Swizstick, pardoning illegal behavior only encourages more, and so doing that would only invite a massive influx of illegal immigrants in, and create further problems. I also disagree that amnesty alone would do any good at all, amnesty alone would be a major blow to the ability of the US to function properly and be taken seriously as a country that wants to continue with the integration of immigrants into society.

I believe that the response with amnesty would be a 2 pronged approach, but one that would require some decent co-ordination with various US government agencies. First one would be to grant a grace period of about 21 days to those illegals that are already in the country. That 21 days would allow them to get an application to apply for legal status, also combining a major reduction in the fees to process an application. After that time, an illegal caught in the country would face deportation, regardless of how long they've been in the country. One of my chief gripes with the government's proposal is that it grants various "rights" to people considering the length of time they've been here. That only works if we can actually prove that. This would eliminate that problem, and give those who have been here a while a chance. Also, once the grace period has begun, any illegal caught trying to cross the border will be deported without delay.

Obviously, this proposal will need to be implemented with a corresponding increase in border patrols, and also must remove the onus on employers to rat out their illegal employees (many of which are very good workers, and who wants to lose a very good worker?), and place that on an immigration officer who we should have had their numbers increased dramatically. Obviously, the borders will be flooded with illegal attempts so the borders will need to be tightened during that grace period, and watched intently from then on.

After the grace period, any illegal caught in the country without proof that they have applied for legal status, which they should be told that they should keep on them at all times, they should be immediately deported. We need to take a more determined approach to those who refuse to enter this country illegally. Also, it needs to be made clear that we welcome legal immigrants, as they truly are what make this country great. With a softening of the legal process, and a hardening of the illegal issues, I believe we can reduce the issues caused by illegal immigrants, and make the US a great place to live. The solution to the problem is not a simple one, and it will require many approaches to make it work, but simply trying to swoop down and deport all the illegals will not work, nor will making them all legal work as well. As Glenn from instapundit said: our immigration system is porous to illegals, and hostile to legals, we need to work to reverse that statement.

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