A CITIZEN'S VIEW OF THE U.S. IMMIGRATION ISSUE
On the subject of United States Immigration
As a citizen of the United States of America I have observed as our immigration policy has decayed into a situation that is now affecting the majority of Americans and believe that dramatic reforms are now critically needed if we are to maintain the integrity of this nation.
Two of the most fundamental elements of the foundation of the United States of America have been the acceptance of immigrants into the country and the democratic establishment of a system of rules and laws. Our society would fall into serious peril if not for the willingness of the vast majority to accept the necessity of following the established rules and laws of this nation. It is also a fact that the vast majority of Americans come from descendents who came to America through the process of immigration or have come here through the process themselves. As America grew and became industrialized in the latter part of the 19th century, the population of the country was also expanding rapidly. The leaders of the Government (and for a wide variety of motives) created the first of a continuing series of laws governing the immigration of people into the United States. There was no doubt spirited discussion and debate at that time and since about the issue of immigration and the question of who should be allowed to enter America and in what numbers and under which system. The point being that rules and regulations and laws were in fact developed and accepted by the American people and that system has been in effect for over 100 years. The privilege of citizenship (and entrance) in the United States of America is honored in our most sacred documents. The Constitution and Bill of Rights speak with reverence of the importance of citizenship in America. It may be the single most important element of our democratic society.
In this years of 2006 and 2007, more heated debates are being conducted to decide the future of the immigration policy of the United States. Our current system is broken and must be repaired in order to protect the social and economic stability of America. The reasons and the question of responsibility for the current status are many and can be equally distributed among both major political parties and this essay and suggested plan does not attempt to shift blame to a particular political party but rather to address the current situation and offer a series of suggestions to bring America out of this crisis. The effort must be a bold and monumental one if success is to be realized. The time for partisanship is past. The American people need to mobilize in a manner that would rival the rebuilding period that followed the horror of the Civil War or the climb Americans made to come back from the Great Depression or the massive effort made during World War II. The task before us is no less critical to the continuing survival and protection of the Untied States of America that has existed for 230 years.
The solution to the current status of illegal immigrants will not be easy to realize. The United States government and its citizens must be prepared to make sacrifices and accept responsibility for allowing the entire system to get this far out of control. During the correction period there may be shortages in certain goods or services. Prices of various items may increase as businesses adjust to wage changes or worker shortages for a limited period of time. Whatever developments that occur in the area of commerce simply must be accepted as a cost of correction. The American system has a long history of being able to adjust to virtually any obstacle.
An honest assessment and acknowledgement must be made by all the various Government agencies that in spite of their best efforts to date the actual results with regard to administering and controlling the immigration situation are simply not acceptable. Anything less than a completely objective review of the factual conditions of each agency followed by a series of corrective actions (with the involvement of both the management and the front line employees) will only result in a repeat of current failures in the future.
The border and port security issue is the key ingredient to the success of any effort. The government of the United States and all citizens and legal residents must acknowledge without compromise that the protection of this nation’s borders and ports must be implemented immediately by all means at our disposal. If America and its citizens are in fact at risk from forces around the world (which has already been demonstrated numerous times) then further delay is unacceptable. National security is simply more important than any aspect of immigration, legal or illegal.
The issue of the status of the millions of people that are currently in the United States without proper documentation will require an acceptance of responsibility by the citizens of the United States for the nation’s failures in the enforcement of the lawful immigration policy. This does not necessarily mean that every single person that is currently in the United States without proper documentation should automatically be allowed to remain or that they would all be deported. A main part of any corrective action must include the willingness by those undocumented individuals to come forward and register and subject themselves to the legal system. If the millions of undocumented truly desire acceptance into American society they must believe in the system and accept the values of this country. After a specified grace period, anyone who has not registered and been granted authorization to be in the United States should be sent back to their country of origin and not allowed to return for at least 10 years. The main point is that the act of entering or remaining within the borders of the United States without proper documentation is, in fact, in violation of the laws of this nation and is unacceptable for any reason. Additionally, current violations of other laws, by “illegal” immigrants must also be addressed during this process.
Seven Steps to Immigration Reform
1) Secure the borders and ports of the United States of America with no exceptions.
2) Order the unrestricted access to any and all information from any Government agency to the Department of Homeland Security that may assist in the identification of people that are illegally within the borders of the United States.
3) Begin the process of removing services now available to individuals without proper documentation, including access to education, medical services, driver’s licenses, etc.
4) Develop an American Worker’s Network to provide willing American workers to those industries most affected by the removal of illegal immigrants.
5) Enforce existing immigration laws and any other laws (such as identity theft or using false documents) that are being violated.
6) Review the current immigration policy with respect to entry quotas and personnel requirements to expedite the process for those applying for legal entry.
7) Create a workable system for employers to actually verify an applicant’s immigration status and then severely penalize any employer who knowingly hires any individual not legally in the United States.
In summary, America and its citizens must stand up and do the correct thing with respect to the issue of immigration. We are taught by our parents, our schools, and all civil authority that America is a great and successful country and that we are supposed to be honest and obey the laws established for the protection of all. If a specific law or policy is deemed unfair or outdated by the majority of the citizens, there is a procedure for abolishing or changing the law. When individuals violate our law or citizens participate in the violation it weakens all of us and this must be unacceptable. Respect for law and rules of society cannot be determined selectively. The entire issue of immigration has become a political tool used by both major parties to gain funding and votes and this practice must end. Current leaders are and have been misleading the majority of American citizens about the facts (which is typical of most issues) and this too, must end. Real people and real lives are being affected and exploited on both sides of the issue. Otherwise law abiding members of the churches, medical community, social services, and the educational system are being placed in situations where they have to balance their moral beliefs with their instinct to be lawful citizens and it is the responsibility of the Federal, State and local governments to remove this burden. Individuals from around the world are risking life and limb to illegally enter the United States because they yearn for a better life and realize that they do not need to follow the established rules of entry as long as the United States continues to allow their illegal entry. Hundreds if not thousands of individuals perish annually attempting to make the journey and their blood is on the hands of those empowered but unwilling to institute the necessary changes that would actually save lives. There is a sector that is currently campaigning for the “rights” of illegal immigrants. My comment to them is that individuals who are in the United States illegally have no rights as defined by the U.S Constitution and the laws currently reserved for American citizens and those here legally. The politicians and the American people must not continue to allow the melding of legal immigrants and illegal immigrants when discussing the immigration issue to exist. They are not the same. The United States of America certainly should not carry the banner of democracy (and the rule of law) to any other part of the world if America itself continues to ignore its own laws. The long term survival of this nation is at stake and it is up to “we the people” to keep it alive. What will we ultimately do?