Monday, May 3, 2010

Immigration - A Common Sense View With a Little Bible Thrown In

I don't know about you, but I am appalled at the fact that the US government has abdicated from reforming arcane immigration laws that were designed during WW II! Add to that, the protests against Arizona's new law which intends to enforce unenforced Federal Laws. What did the White House expect? It is time to do something, and please, make is sane!

Immigration has been the backbone of a free and prosperous United States since we became a nation. Why can't we make it work?!?

Not one of us wold be here in the US if it were not for the process of immigration. I am a second generation American. My grandfather (mother's side) came over from Ireland to New York in the late 1800's. He worked hard and gained a lot of success in business but lost it all during the cash of 1928. He joined the US Army and was a decorated Captain until his retirement. My grandmother was a southern belle from a well-to-do farming family in Virginia who's family came to America (from England!) on the Mayflower - I am a descendant of Governor Bradford. My grand parents on my father's side immigrated to Upstate New York from Montreal, CA to work at Alcoa Aluminum during WW II.

My family has a rich history both in and out of the US. I bet yours does too.

The United States of America, the land of the free, and the home of the brave, has always accepted those from less fortunate political and economic circumstances, as well as being a place of opportunity for wealth, success and the pursuit of happiness (not the promise!). The transition for most immigrants is not an easy one. Language barriers, cultural differences, and uncertainty plague them. (Uncertainty because there is no guarantee of citizenship, nor a line to get into any longer) Amazingly, many have adapted and become successful and productive citizens. Who hasn't enjoyed the an ethnic meal or celebration? From sushi to coffee, banking to industry, we have cultural influences too many to list - all as a result of immigration.

During the World Wars, it was imperative that we have an easy, and streamlined immigration policy to let the victims of tyranny, war and political unrest come to our country. Beneath the Statue of Liberty, virtually anyone that was able to pass through New York's Ellis Island Immigration office, was given citizenship. But those were times of war. This is when the arcane law of "born on US soil" = citizenship was made law. This was a privilege that was given to those who's parent(s) were legally immigrating to the US. It saved a lot of time in terms of paper work for the overburdened Dept. of Immigration.

Today, and for a number of decades after World War II, foreigners have been able to come to the US both with legal visas, and illegally walking across borders, stowing away on ships and using false documents.

In the illegal alien debate, let's try differentiate between those that come into the US legally, and those that do not. My common sense tells me that someone the "breaks in," should be treated differently than one that gets a visa, and comes legally. One breaking in, should bean automatic deportation back to safe political countries IE: All of South and Central America, Europe, Australia and parts of Asia and Australia. I have compassion for one who escapes genocide or war. Those were the immigrants of the last century. The so called "anchor babies" of those entering the country illegal should NOT be made citizens.

There are many issues for those that come here legally and want to stay - and that is the biggest problem. Of course there are also issues for those that want to come, applying for citizenship from other countries.


That's right, there is no queue to get into, and not much in the way of requirements. This is one reason that legal aliens become illegal. They languish here trying to get citizenship in an ineffective bureaucracy the has no specific criteria! The parking meter runs out quickly, and it can take years to get an INS hearing. Many have spent their life savings to get here, and hang on burdening family and friends as they wait for the opportunity to become and American. They are told, if you leave, you will never be able to come back.


Why can't we just do the following?
-1 Background check. This can be done as part of the visa process. This way we don't let criminals come here. We have enough trouble with that right here at home.

-2 Have a guest worker program. This allows companies to express their need for x amount of workers. They would have a prerequisite to run ads locally to try to find these workers. They would have to abide by federal, state and local laws regarding worker safety, pay and hours. Companies should be fined big time for hiring illegals.And INS could get their computer system on the web so companies can check credentials real time..

-3 All aliens here on work, religious, and student visas should be photographed and given a picture visa that has an expiration date just like a driver's license right at their port of entry. They can pay for this as part of the citizenship application process. BTW - Many foreigners can only get tourist visas. These are an open door, and need to be monitored.

-4 Learn English - a basic level of understanding is an investment in citizenship, and a tool for success in the US. If you can speak one language - then you can speak English.

-5 Require a clean criminal record - any felony convictions here, and say good bye. Jailing illegals is not a way to build a society.

-6 Required them to pay all income taxes as US employees except social security. But be certain, many will be lower income, and should not be eligible for EIC or any other rebates. Someone needs to run the numbers. Citizenship could be worse tax wise.

-7 A 5 Year waiting period - if all the criteria is met, then let's give citizenship to those that have adapted (not be changed) to American culture. We could make it shorter for military service - say 2 years. We want Americans on the battlefield should we need them.

In response to Arizona's new law, we've just rounded up 596 criminal illegal aliens in the Southeast. Bravo - so let's keep up the good work, while we make progress in other laws that better fit our society.

Regan-esk amnesty is not good for anyone. It teaches people that breaking the law is OK, it burdens us with costs for schools, health care, justice and entitlement programs. Some are already benefiting from these services. It is not fair to those of us who uphold the law, work hard, and pay taxes.

Fixing the mess, even with new laws as I suggested above, is not going to fix much of the current problems. We have let this go on for so long, that we will have to bend, or be seen as tyrants. Here are a few thougths on that.

-1 Deport the criminals.

-2 ID and evaluate all those that have overstayed their visas. This is a tough process, some are land owners, business owners employing Americans, and many have children - some that are in college whom were born here and are citizens!

-3 All should pay a fine for overstaying based on the years they have been here. $500 or a $1000 a year - we need to fund this insanity. I suppose that we will basically have to give amnesty to those that meet the criteria of knowing English, and having a clean record. After all, it is partially our fault they are here and definitely our fault they were allowed to stay here.

-4 Get those working into a guest worker program and fine the companies that hired them.

-5 For those that have entered the country by "braking in" we need to put those that we cannot deport at the very end of the line and fine them. Even 30 days in jail. I am sorry, I can't see breaking up families that have been here for years. Remember, our government allowed this to happen to people. They are not fish we can just throw back.

-6 Those that are married to Americans would get citizenship anyway, let's just move those that speak English and are not criminals through.

America is a great country and immigration is a wonderful way for us to help our fellow man, we just need to get it under control for national safety and economic reasons.

As Christians, when we allow immigrants to be illegal, we cause them to sin, and that is on us as well. It is time to love our neighbors as ourselves.

I am sure that I have missed something - let me know. Think I am wrong, let's debate it.


Anonymous said...

Were you aware that both President Bush and Obama actively supported immigration reform bills?

The blocker for President Bush was the Republican majority in congress in 2005, which is deeply divided on immigration reform. The blocker for President Obama is the Republican minority in Congress today that also wishes to block immigration reform. Senator Brown of Massachusetts was approached by President Obama and asked to support your reform ideas. He has chosen not to.

So don't blame the White House.

Les Young said...


You've made some excellent points. I wonder if God has allowed the government to get fatter and fatter as just one way to judge us for our national unrighteousness. It wouldn't surprise me if some INS people haven't been as un-productive at work as some of the S.E.C. people. You've dared to tackle some of the details, and a wise and compassionate politician could use your pointsd as the basis for a reform bill. Yet, from a bigger perspective, I think the law of sowing and reaping is very much at work here. Our immigration policy should have always been compassionate, mixed with reasonable law...lae that could be enforced. Exodus 12:48 reveals some of that principle. God bless.

Tony C said...

I'm glad you bring up the point that part of the problem with illegal immigration is brought on by the ineptness of our federal government. That doesn't make it any more right...but at least it helps explain part of the radical change since the years immediately following post-WWII.

Come as you are, as far as I'm concerned...just be ready to adapt to our culture and earn your keep.

Anonymous said...

Well, the reforms that you are suggesting are all part of HR 4321, the" Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009". The House passed this bill last year, and it's now stalled in the Senate. The late Senator Kennedy was an immigration reform advocate, and with Senator McCain, got immigration reform passed in the Senate in 2006. The Republican House then killed the bill.

Here's an article about HR 4321.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2010
January 4, 5:56 PM Philadelphia Immigration Examiner Stephen Dunne

On December 15, 2009, Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) introduced legislation (HR 4321) to reform our immigration laws. To date, the bill has 92 co-sponsors, all of them democrats.

The Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR ASAP) represents an important step in getting Congress to repair our broken immigration system.

The CIR ASAP bill is the first comprehensive immigration reform bill that aims to rectify some of the egregious immigration practices set in place since 1996 while simultaneously establishing a 21st century approach to protect and secure our nation’s borders.

(to be continued)
- a gnawn on mousse

Anonymous said...


Below is a thumbnail sketch of the contents of the bill:

Border Security: The bill creates a Southern Border Security Task Force that is composed of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers with oversight and accountability provided by the Department of Homeland Security. The enforcement provision of the bill ensures that the Customs and Border Protection have sufficient assets such as helicopters, power boats, mother vehicles and other advanced aerial surveillance equipment to properly secure the U.S. - Mexico border.

Enforcement: The bill repeals the controversial 287(g) program, a provision of immigration law relating to cooperation between state and local enforcement agencies and ICE (misused by some agencies bent on harassing immigrants) and clarifies that the authority to enforce the federal immigration law lies solely with the federal government.

Judicial Review: The bill would restore provisions providing for judicial review of immigration proceedings that were stripped from the law by 1996 legislation. The federal courts would be free to review the decisions and practices of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) thereby restoring the historic role that the courts play in reviewing agency actions.

Legalization: The bill would create a program providing conditional nonimmigrant status for undocumented immigrants (and their spouses and children) in the U.S., which is valid for six years.
An undocumented immigrant must establish his/her presence on or before December 15, 2009, pass a criminal background check, learn English and U.S. civics and pay a $500 fine (plus necessary application fees) in order to obtain a six-year visa. After the six-year term has expired, the undocumented immigrant is also eligible to adjust their status from conditional nonimmigrant to lawful permanent resident status (green card) and eventual citizenship.

Visa Reforms: The bill would reduce the existing backlog by permitting "recapture" of unused employment-based visas and family sponsored visas from fiscal years 1992-2008 and allows future unused visa numbers to roll over to the next fiscal year. It is estimated that these recaptured visas would number in the hundreds of thousands. The bill would increase the number of employment-based green cards from 140,000 to 290,000 per year. To promote family unity, the bill reclassifies the spouse and children of Legal Permanent Residents and treats them the same as the spouses and children of citizens, exempting them from the annual immigration cap. Furthermore, immigration judges are given great discretionary authority to waive unlawful presence bars to reunite families upon a demonstration of hardship for applicant's U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident family members.

Our current immigration system has failed by all accounts and we desperately need to begin the comprehensive immigration reform dialogue in Congress in order to solve the current crisis. President Obama has indicated that he wants Congress to pass an immigration bill in 2010 and (HR 4321) may be that bill. It certainly would be a brilliant way to start of the New Year.

- gnawn on mousse

David said...

@Anon 1 - How about a debate of the issues and not a political tirade against the Republicans?

Read the comments from Anon 2 - most of this was passed in the house and is stalled in the previously Democratic Senate! And I can't imagine the current Senate couldn't get 1 Republican to go along with it.

It still doesn't establish a line!

And I suppose the hold up is that it doesn't guarantee the Dems to fill their voter registry rolls with 12 million voters like giving amnesty would.

@Les and Tony - thanks for joining in.

Dottie said...

I like your ideas. I definitely agree with sending all illegal immigrants that are criminals back to where they came from. I agree that they need to pay a fine since all of them have broken the law in regards to being here legally and I also agree they should learn English. I don't think we should give any of them a free ride just because they made it here and have lived here for years. I agree with the AZ Governor, something needed to be done.

photogr said...

Well the federal government can't even find the illegal immigrants here. At least the liberal deomcrats know where they are come election times.

It is quite amusing to see a person named O'Bannon that can only speak spanish trying to vote. Happened here at one poll during the presidential election.

Immigration reform. Shut down the borders and only allow persons with approved visas in. No more border jumping illegally. If they are caught, ship them back across the border. If they are involved in criminal activity, prosecute them and black list them from ever getting back into the country.

Considering the recent violent activity in Arizona, we need stronger defenses along our borders to stop this activity up to tactical weapons of military caliber. Much to most people's surprise, we are at war with this activity and we cannot afford to loose. It is time to quit putting band aids on the problem and go all out or just turn the border states back over to Mexico.

How ever, we must as good Christians show them our love and kindness for the ones that want to follow the rules and give them every opportunity to become American citizens and pledge allegiance to our flag. Not bash our country and wave their flag all over the place in the USA.If they love their country so much why not go back where they come from and make changes in their own country for the better. I would imagine if they tried it in their country, they might be shot or jailed.

This issue is not an easy clear cut issue that can be resolved quickly since it has been allowed to grow over time ( over the last 75 years plus). If it continues we are going to have drug czars running the south west states shortly.

LilMizMargi said...

I am an immigrant. My parents were immigrants. Both my widowed grandmothers were also immigrants. We came in the early 60s when Castro declared himself a communist and we thank God the US received us. We lived in NY. Both my parents learned to speak English and found employment. My brother and I learned English and eventually attended University in NY and graduated to pursue careers in our chosen field. I am married to an anglo-american, whose forefathers came to this country with George Washington's people and established the Spencer-Washington Land grant in Virginia. We all speak the language, assimilated into the culture and became productive citizens. No special dispensations, no entitlements, no handouts. It was all done legally according to US law. Carried green cards for 5 years until the happy day we each became US citizens and could vote. And like us, there have been countless others from nations all around the world who have paid the price of legal residency and/or citizenship in the US. Said all that to say this, to allow this illegal immigration to continue is a slap in the face to all the other law-abiding people who go through the established channels and processes to acquire a visa to enter the country. It MUST cease and it MUST cease now. Round them up, one by one, and send them back to their countries. We are a nation of law, and our laws must be obeyed, without excuse or exemption. If immigration needs reformation, then so be it. Let's reform but in the meantime, every one who enters or entered illegally goes back.....EVERYONE! Just think, if the authorities had taken the time to enforce Mohammed Atta's expired visa and deported him, 911 may have never happened.

Peter said...

Dave, I agree with your reasoning and am frankly astonished at the empathy shown. Being a (legal) emmigrant has been tough - as you say there is no line, but there are requirements, just very difficult ones to meet: you have to be 'exceptional'; no-one in the USA must be able to do what you do (athlete, scientist, artist, etc.) and this has to be proven (for the sake of modesty, I will say that they may have made a mistake with me.) For 'regular' people, this is impossible and the city on the hill remains an impossible dream.

The illegals are hard working, driven people - what other type of person would go through what they have? There should be a legal way to bring them in.

David said...

LOL @ Peter - my empathy? It's biblical!

@LIlMiz - I am sure that it is hard to watch the unfairness of it all. And if you read Peter's comment, the bar for a guy like him is so high, it is out of reach for many. Yet, unskilled come across the border and are hopeful for amnesty. That is a slap in the face to the two of you. That is why the illegal part is so wrong. Unfortunately the US government has be stupid, and allowed this go on for decades. Now illegals have citizen children in college!

The worst is that there is no line, and it is unfair to guys like Peter. A neighbor who had a drug bust got is green card and worked as a landscaper. There is nothing right about that if there really are standards.

We need to fix the problem, and deal with the fall out in an emphatic way.

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