Series 42: Immigration

This post is going to focus a little less on the Liberty vs Authority dialectic I have been using and switch instead to a simple policy discussion. Yes I know this makes me a total wonk. In the past week I have had 5 discussions with people on immigration reform so I have had time to temper my argument and find an even better middle road than I held during the election. But before we get into that, lets look at the multi-faceted problem. I will focus mostly on undocumented immigration via our southern border even though a large percentage comes from other countries.

1. Our border has immense security. In the past decade we have tripled the border patrol and yet decreased undocumented immigration by about 5-10% There must be a reason why citizens of Mexico are willing to cross over barbed wire, dig tunnels, jump fences, and swim the Rio Grande, literally risking life and limb to come to this country. Something needs to be done to either make it easier for these people to come here legally or the deterrent needs to be increased.
2. Right now there are roughly 5 million undocumented families. This means that one or more parents are undocumented immigrants while the children and/or one spouse is not. This totals to roughly 13 million people living in the US that would be directly affected by any immigration reform. We need a solution to deal with these fellow humans.

I posit that we really need to radically change immigration laws in this country to allow those who are willing to enter this country, find work, and follow the laws to enter regardless of how many people that brings into this country. We need to eliminate the caps for immigration. To counter the influx of documented workers we need to ensure that these people are contributing to society through a job. Some member of their immediate family household must have a job within 1 year in order to keep worker eligibility.

We also need to beef up enforcement and crackdown on undocumented workers who are working in the drug and human trafficking trades by increasing the punishments for them while doing all we can to stop them from entering the country illegally.

When I look at the fact that our border has been tripled with only an insignificant drop in illegal immigration it illustrates a political vacuum. The conditions in Mexico must be so horrible that crazy Texans who feel that they have a license to shoot on site are better than their current conditions. That tells me that in order to, long-term, curb illegal immigration we have a responsibility to help improve Mexico so that it no longer is such a place that the people desire to flee.

Now what to do with the 13 million? Some will tell you that these people are simply mooching off of the land, sucking the benefits out of our society and social programs without paying a dime in taxes. That is categorically untrue. Nearly all Federal and most state social relief programs are denied to undocumented workers and illegal immigrants pay roughly 65-70% of taxes that a normal US citizen pays, without enjoying many of the same benefits.

So what do you do with people who fled their nation in search of something better, people who crossed deserts, rivers, and mountains to reach America, the land of opportunity? I say that we take the undocumented workers and inform them that they have 6 months to register with the authorities. They will be fingerprinted and background checks will be run based off of those fingerprints. Any major crime will be investigated before these formerly undocumented workers can obtain a green card allowing them to stay in America and work towards becoming a citizen given that they can find gainful employment. Drug and Human traffickers will be extradited back to the Mexican penal system.

Sure these people “broke the law” to enter this country but the law was broken before they violated it. The law is designed to protect unalienable rights and the current system of immigration is destructive and needs to be revised, altered or abolished. Our forefathers are great because they recognized a destructive law and government and stood up, in their duty, to abolish the “absolute Despotism.” We have a duty as human beings to do the same for our neighbors. I support Liberty over Authority and call for human decency to govern over us instead of a tyrannical government.