First of all, if you are the person who believes that a wall is the solution to immigration reform in this country, stop reading. You will not like what I have to say here. Immigration reform is badly needed in our country today. We need it because of the very real threat of terrorism that plagues the world, not just our country, but also because we are talking about people and their well-being and safety, both citizen and immigrant alike. We are talking about ensuring that one of the cornerstones of our society remains intact. It recognizes that America was founded, built and became a successful and productive nation through the efforts, labor, investment, and initiative of immigrants, many of whom gave their lives to build it, protect it and defend it.
A key element of immigration reform must involve border security. While I realize that there are areas of our southern borders where barriers to entry are needed to control flow and assure adequate security, the “big, beautiful wall” that the President campaigned on and is proposing in his Executive Order isn’t that barrier and won’t work to reduce the flow of illegal immigration. We must invest in not only more and better trained human border control agents, but also, and most likely more importantly, we must invest in modern electronic surveillance equipment. These should include satellite and drone surveillance, infra-red and remote controlled cameras, motion and sound sensing devices, and tremor sensing devices (to detect subversive tunneling efforts). We need to invest more in our Coast Guard, port security personnel, including advanced canine units, and better electronic surveillance.
To stem the flow of illegal immigrants into our country, our nation needs comprehensive legislation that recognizes the vital positive economic impact these illegal residents have contributed to communities for decades and acknowledges that as one of the wealthiest democracies and national leaders of democracy on the global stage, we have a responsibility to those outside our boarders suffering from poverty, violence and governments/international systems that enslave others. Our immigration policies should be legislated by our Congressional leaders with this in mind to achieve an actionable and realistic approach to securing our borders, protecting our citizens and preserving the United States moral authority globally. We need to work quickly in a bipartisan fashion to enact legislation that will serve all of our country, legislation that must include, not a path to citizenship, but a path to legalization.
Call it a “Red Card”, if you will, but we need a separate and distinct status for illegal immigrants already in this country, that allows them to come forward without the fear of deportation and prove their value to our society. Have them be identified, fingerprinted, their criminal record, if any, researched, pay a reasonable fine, go on a national registry with a special Social Security number, verify their employment and employment history, and local authorities made aware of their presence within the community. Then, and only then, should they be given legal status. A reasonable probation period, perhaps five years, would be given wherein the person would have to remain employed and not commit any crimes, even a misdemeanor. They would receive access to medical care (which they have now), education for their children (which they have now) and other public services (many of which they already enjoy). They would need to file annual Federal, State and Local income tax returns, as required by local law, pay into Social Security and Medicare and stay current on any property taxes for which they may be responsible. They would neither be able to serve in the military nor would they be able to vote. They would not be able to purchase, own or possess a firearm of any kind. Violation of this clause would mean immediate deportation. Their driver’s license would have special identification alerting authorities to their status, not for targeting or suppressive interrogation, but to help prevent it. Any immigrant in this program who commits and is convicted of a felony or serious state crime would result in immediate incarceration until the sentence is served completely and then that individual, and the immediate family, be deported.
The idea of crafting a strong comprehensive immigration policy is apparently being dismissed by the current presidential administration. Instead, immigration policy is being subjected to the whim of the Presidents already extensive use of executive privilege. The following is something which influenced my opinion about immigration along with the experiences I had with unknowingly employing illegal immigrants in my own company. I quote the social statement contained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America policy addressing immigration, adopted in 1993: "When we rebuild walls of hostility and live behind them - blaming others for the problem and looking to them for solutions - we ignore the role we ourselves play in the problem and also in the solution. When we confront racism and move toward fairness and justice in society, all of us benefit"
This will be an expensive national effort, but it is one of the few VITAL roles that the federal government is charged with in the Constitution and one with which private enterprise can assist but cannot coordinate.
Let me hear from you if you have a comment.