Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My Thoughts on Immigration

I watched and listened as President Bush addressed the nation about plans to control the immigration problems facing the nation. I then read the early reactions on the blogs. I believe President Bush is trying to find a solution to the problem. The current administration did not make this problem although the lack of enforcement of current laws allowed it to continue and intensify. Previous amnesty programs, previous as well as currant leadership in Congress have all contributed. Average American citizens who employ illegal aliens have contributed. Businesses who take advantage of illegal aliens who work for substandard wages have contributed. Mexico's encouragement of it's citizens to enter the US illegally have contributed. Myriad causes require a comprehensive approach. I believe President Bush was reaching out to all citizens to give this problem rational thought. As with any process in America not all of the people will agree. This is the time for citizens to think about the solutions and to let congress know what we want.

Strengthening the borders is the absolute top priority to prevent all persons from entering. We need to be able to eliminate criminal activates and know who is in our nation. For long term security, a physical boundary should be built. Until such time, increasing the numbers of personnel tasked with border control must be increased. I do not know the number it will take. Use of the National Guard is a start. The continuation of the Minutemen will help. I question why the National Guard will not be armed since there have been incursions of armed Mexican Military crossing into the US and there are many incidents of illegal aliens assaulting the border patrol. I am not advocating random shooting of illegal aliens attempting to enter, but it seems incredulous that those patrolling would lack the means of self defense. A National Guard website lists the Top Three Priorities of the National Guard:

1. The National Guard's number one priority is the security and defense of our homeland, at home and abroad.

2. The National Guard's second priority is to support the Global War on Terrorism here and abroad.

3. America insists on a relevant, reliable and ready National Guard that is transformed for the 21st Century.

Enforcing current law is the next priority.Catch and release is senseless. Streamlining the deportation process along with requiring nations, whose citizens enter our country illegally, to facilitate the return of their citizens in order to allow any of their citizens to apply for entry to the US can be accomplished. Changes in our laws aimed to discourage illegal aliens from entering or remaining after documentation for temporary entrance has expired can help.

When the illegal aliens entered our country, they were aware that they were breaking our law. For those who were well informed they knew they were subject to having their entry treated as a misdemeanor and possibly being deported. This seemed a risk worth taking if they were to have a chance at the American dream. Who among us would not take that risk if we were living in a corrupt country without any hope of bettering our lives. How many American citizens have erred in obeying our laws and have been adjudicated as committing misdemeanors? When this is a basically good person, temporarily gone astray, we impose fines, community service and hope this teaches them a lesson. This calling to account has served to "straighten out" many. The impastation of fines, paying back taxes and moving to the end of the line in applying for citizenship seems a fair and reasonable proposal. This would not grant blanket amnesty to all illegal aliens. The process of checking for criminal records, health status and working history in the US would determine the outcome of the application process. Criminal elements would be identified and deported. Now is the time to change the law, although not retroactively, and make it a felony with no possible route to citizenship for illegal aliens sneaking into the US.

Many children have been born in the US to illegal aliens. Now is the time to pass a law that citizenship will only be given to the babies who have at least one parent who is a legal citizen. We may not strip citizenship already given but we can stop future grants of citizenship to babies born to non citizens.

Just because some of the illegal aliens will become documented and eventually become citizens should not mean that entire families are included. The families of American citizens do not all live together. Plans to allow families to get together for visits, family reunions etc. can be developed. If illegal aliens do not meet the criteria to become documented, they are free to take their families back to their nation of origin even if children were born here. Simply having a dependent child that is a citizen should not qualify the parents for documentation if they fail to meet the other criteria.

We all face choices as to we remain close to our families or move great distances away because of work opportunities or our personal desire to live in a different area. When aliens, legal or illegal, come to the US they make a choice. It should not be automatic that other family members are allowed to accompany or join them.

Penalties against businesses who knowingly hire illegals should be stiff. Those who profit from illegal entry, the coyotes, should be imprisoned. Charitable groups who provide TEMPORARY humane assistance and spiritual care should not be penalized since this is one of the very best attributes of Americans. This willingness to assist others should be applauded and nurtured so long as it does not condone and support long term violation of our laws.

A temporary worker program may be needed in the future. Plans for this need to be developed as to how the guest workers would have their backgrounds checked (criminal, health, skills etc.), how they would be tracked and the procedure for deporting them when their guest status expires. This is not an immediate need and time to discuss and establish necessary procedures need not be rushed.

Assimilation of new immigrants must remain the goal for any who apply for citizenship. We need to teach English to those who are not literate or fluent with our language. We need to stop accommodating those who refuse to learn English. Support English language classes and stop the nonsense of bilingual education, ballots and legal documents. If we permit one foreign language to be used, we must in fairness accommodate every language known to man. If a person wishes to live and work here it is their responsibility to learn to understand us, not the other way around. Citizenship must require knowledge of our history and laws. Allegiance to the US rather than their country of origin is basic.

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