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June 05, 2013

In Support Of Immigration Reform

There are amnesty supporters who want to paint people who disagree with them as “anti-immigration” or even more scurrilously “anti-immigrant”. While there is a faction in the anti-amnesty camp that supports either scaling back legal immigration numbers or even taking a “pause” in admitting new immigrates to the US, nothing I’ve seen shows them in anything like the majority of amnesty opponents.

Most of us want an orderly system of immigration that lets us decide who comes and stays here and on our terms.

What would a system like that look like? Surprisingly, it would include a lot of what’s in the current bill under debate in the Senate, though with some major differences in emphasis.

Here’s my outline of what a reasonable immigration reform would look like:

1-Reform and Rationalize The Legal Immigration System

Clear the backlog of 4 million people waiting to come to this country legally. Yes, we should be welcoming of immigrants and that means dealing with the people who respect our laws in a timely and efficient manner.

Reforming the legal immigration process by rationalizing our system for selecting immigrants. Right now most immigrants come here because they are sponsored by a family member, someone who is often a naturalized US citizen. This “chain-migration” system makes family relation a key decider in who comes to this country. For the most part it doesn’t take into account the needs of the country or what skills the perspective immigrant brings to the table. We need to adopt a system along the lines of Canada or Australia that takes into account the needs of the country and matches the type of people they admit into the country. Obviously if you bring in someone like a doctor you will also need to let them bring their spouse and children but you don’t have to give priority to their 3rd cousin’s husband just because they are all related.

The H1-B Visa system needs to be completely replaced. Currently high-skilled workers compete for a relatively few visas that are tied to the immigrant's ability to find a company to sponsor their application. The worker then essentially becomes tied to that company in a form of expensive indentured servitude. Yes, these workers compete with Americans for high paying jobs but they are also the people who bring the highest skills that are likely to create the greatest spin off value to the wider economy. A system that enables creative people freedom to utilize their skills and create more opportunity for others is one we need to embrace to grow our economy and compete in the global market. These types of workers are in demand around the world; it’s silly not to be competitive for them. They are going to go somewhere and crate value; it might as well be here.

2-Border Enforcement That Goes Beyond A Fence

Yes, a fence at key parts of the border is essential. 2000 or so mile long one really doesn’t but the places where it makes sense (urban areas, rural areas with reasonably easy access to a town/transportation on the US side). Where it doesn’t (open desert areas, mountains, etc.) we can employ technology like drones and remote sensors like video cameras coupled with rapid response teams to catch the few brave souls who try the most dangerous routes.

We also need an upgraded system to monitor people who come to this country legally to ensure they don’t overstay their visas. Even with such a system we still won’t be able to track everyone down who overstays but we should set up a system that penalizes countries that produces large number of visa abusers. Too many people from one particular country continually don’t leave as required, then the number of people who are allowed in from that country on an type of visa is cut.

We need to reform the deportation system to make it easier to remove illegal aliens. One major problem is the appeals process for illegals caught in the US. Most illegals order deported simply appeal the judgment and never return to court. We need to streamline this process and give it teeth. If you are arrested for being in this country illegally you either show proof you have legal status or you are removed from the country. There are no appeals at a border crossing; there shouldn’t be any for people caught inside the US. If you want to have an appeals process, simply mandate that anyone electing to appeal their deportation order remain in custody during that streamlined process.

The employment verification system needs to be reformed and upgraded to make it harder for illegal aliens to get and keep jobs. Additionally, I would make it a crime for anyone no authorized to work in the US to work in the US. We also need to strengthen laws around the use of fraudulent identity documents such as Social Security cards. Conviction on any of these types of charges would mean automatic deportation. Right now the penalties for an illegal working in the US fall on the employer, I’d shift the majority of that burden not to an American business owner who has in effect been drafted into the US immigration enforcement system as an uncompensated deputy but onto the illegal alien. (To clarify, I'm not saying let employers off the hook entirely but right now the burden and penalties are totally on them. I want to add a layer of accountability and penalty to the illegal immigrant).

3-Tighten Asylum Process.

Unsurprisingly, the current bill under consideration will make it easier to get asylum in the US. Anything that makes the interest of the alien the primary focus of reform as opposed to the US is a step in the wrong direction.

One example should tell you just about everything you need to know about the current asylum system…the Boston Marathon bombers came here on asylum visas. It’s not to paint asylum seekers as terrorists but consider the fact that their parents both voluntarily returned to Russia, the place they were supposedly afraid to go. Clearly the family was not well vetted since their subsequent actions show they had no reason to fear persecution in their homeland. And why when the parents left, didn’t their kids lose their green cards and chance at citizenship?

Granted that’s just one example with horrible consequences but it’s clear that far from being to restrictive our asylum process is far too generous.

I’m sure there are other areas of our immigration and naturalization process that require tweaking, reform or outright scrapping and rebuilding but those are the major issues I’ve seen discussed. Well there is one other major area…what do about the millions who are here illegally. For the most part my answer is…nothing.

Let’s give these reforms a chance to work and see where we are in 10 years or so. Then we can revisit the question of legalization for illegals.

So in broad strokes, that’s my immigration reform plan. Yes, America should be welcoming to immigrants who play by the rules and bring value to our nation. The only reason these common sense policies can't be enacted today is that there are people who only care about rewarding law breakers. They are the ones who are anti-legal immigrant and should be called out for it.

In the next few days I’m going to post on what I see as the problem with the current reforms being debated from a number of different angles.

I know that Obama’s Scandalpalozza is taking up a lot of oxygen and rightfully so but if you are opposed to amnesty, we need to start getting worked up about it because Reid, Schumer and Rubio are going to start jamming it through in the next few weeks.

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posted by DrewM. at 10:36 AM

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