One of the hot button topics in politics these days is “immigration reform”. The truly sad thing is, even those who talk about it fail to define what it is they are talking about before attempting to say whether or not they agree with you about it. This is a crucial point, for, if we start with immigration law as it currently exists (not as it is currently enforced) – there are two directions you can go that both count as “reform”. One path would, at the most extreme, grant instant citizenship to everyone currently within the US borders. The other path, also at the most extreme, would be to declare open season on anyone who can’t produce papers that verify legal residency and allow them to be shot in the street. Both ideas are “immigration reform”. Also, IMHO, both ideas are wrong.
That is not to say that we don’t need to make some changes, we just need to be careful what changes we make. For some perspective, when Ronald Reagan was confronted about illegal immigration back in 1986, the consensus was to grant an amnesty so that everyone here would be legal, and supposedly that would fix everything. The official estimates at the time said we had approximately 2 million people here illegally. They got the amnesty – and suddenly 2 million swelled to 2.5 million, and some estimates now say we may have granted amnesty to upwards of 10 million. Twenty years later, the debate began raging again, with the complication that in 2006 our economy went into the toilet as the housing bubble burst and the investment banks collapsed. How many illegals did we have then? The official estimate at the time was 10 million – but now some official sources are admitting it may be OVER 20 million.
If we work only with the original estimates (2 million in 1986, 10 million now) we see a 5x increase after the amnesty. If we apply that ONLY to the original estimates, and try to project what will happen in the future, we can safely predict that what happened before will happen again. If we give 10 million illegal visitors an amnesty now, in 20 years we will have to deal with AT LEAST another 50 Million. 50 million is approximately 1/6th of our current legal national population.
We can not afford to grant an amnesty while legal residents and citizens who need meaningful full-time jobs do not have them. Fortunately, we do not need to grant an amnesty – nor do we need the huge expenditures of mass deportations, either. All that we need to do is make our society so toxic to undocumented residents and illegal workers that they chose to leave because they are convinced that they are better off somewhere else. I have a 5-step plan for making this happen.
1. Anchor babies – this is the hardest part of my plan, because it would require one of two things to happen. Either we would need for the SCOTUS to rule that the 14th Amendment is not absolute, and does not apply to children born to non-citizen parents, or we need another Constitutional Amendment. Either way, what we need to do is limit birthright citizenship to only children who have AT LEAST one parent who is already a citizen. Where they are born would be less important than the fact of one parent being a citizen – because we can’t hold it against the kid if they have 2 parents who are citizens – serving at the US Embassy in France at the time the child is born. As another part of this step, we need to make absolutely certain that no one (not even the newborn babies) gets citizenship for illegally entering the country. There is one thing every parent instinctively knows – if you reward bad behavior, you WILL get more bad behavior.
2. Mandate e-Verify for all employers nationally, no exemptions for anyone or any type of work.
3. No entitlements for anyone not legally here. That applies to housing, welfare, health care, food stamps, WIC – anything that is a national entitlement program. Not only would someone who can’t prove legal residency be prevented from using these programs themselves, but they would be blocked from using them on behalf of any dependents.
4. No free jail-time. Deport all illegal aliens convicted of any crime automatically, then see if they can get the courts to overturn their deportation. In several of our south-western states more than 80% of the long-term prison populations are illegally inside the US. These are felons who were convicted of crimes like breaking and entering, armed robbery, assault, rape, and murder. The problem is – we’re supporting them. It’s the ultimate entitlement program! All they have to do is cross the border illegally, walk up to a bar and start a vicious fight, and when the cops show up, surrender – and they get 10 years of free room and board, with free health care that is better than our veterans get! Some prisons even give free cable TV and access to fitness rooms to work out.
5. Fine all employers caught using “undocumented workers” $10k/worker/offense, and use the fines to finance the deportations. Let me spell out how this would work: If the INS raids a restaurant and finds 5 illegal workers there, that is a $50,000 fine. Most restaurants I’ve worked in made less than $2,000 per day, and have to pay rent, utilities and buy food supplies out of that before they look at payroll. One $50,000 fine is more than their total profit for an entire fiscal quarter. Expand that to a factory – where one INS raid might catch 200 illegal workers in it’s net. That’s a $2 Million fine – per incident. All of those illegal workers would be processed by fingerprinting, DNA sampling, a photograph taken, (all of that information would be permanently stored in a national database tied directly into the E-Verify system) and then automatic deportation.