Time for a Real Solution on the Illegal Immigration Issue

Today’s Headlines: From the Tri-City Herald, 5/11/11, quoting the Dallas Morning News, Obama urges action on immigration fix

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The article responds to a speech by President Obama made on his first trip to see “The Wall” in El Paso, Texas.  Essentially he said that with The Wall and an increased number of agents it is time to revamp the immigration policies.  The speech pointed out increased investments (and in theory improvements) in security, but only touched on the real issue – what to do about the 10+ million illegal aliens presently in the country.  The discussion below, taken from my draft book, We Can Give Our Grandchildren a Better World, addresses that issue and proposes solutions (at least starting points for discussion).

Summary

1-      The status quo on handling the Illegal Immigrants issue is not working, not from a humanitarian standpoint, not from an economic standpoint, a political standpoint, or an idealistic standpoint.

2-      From an economic standpoint, both businesses affected and taxes spent, granting some form of “Amnesty” makes sense.  Rounding up 10 million people and dropping them across the border is not practical.

3-      From an American Ideals standpoint, the laws that make these people “illegals” should have been repealed long ago.

4-      Gang violence is an emotional issue that is not directly related, but is emotionally and psychologically related.  I believe it is the reason why most Americans harbor a certain amount of fear with respect to the Hispanic population and would like to see the “Illegals” removed. Therefore it needs to be part of the broader solution.

 

Fundamentals

Natural Laws, like gravity (physical law) or being truthful leads to gaining people’s trust (psychological law) are basic laws.  From The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management by Hyrum Smith, “Natural Laws are fundamental patterns of nature and life that human experience and testing have shown to be valid.  They describe things as they really are, as opposed to how we think they are, or how we wish they were.”

Here is a Natural Law I would propose, The Law of Clover, Rabbits, and Foxes (biological & psychological law): a population (e.g. rabbits) will be naturally drawn to an area with sufficient food (clover), water and shelter. That population will grow as long as the necessities are present and there are too few predators (e.g. foxes).   Similarly, the population of foxes will grow until the population of rabbits (food) begins to decline.

The Illegal Immigration Issue

Personal experience, I live in Eastern Washington which is heavily agricultural and has a significant Hispanic population. One doesn’t have to watch the news or read the local paper for many days to notice that Hispanics are involved in a disproportionately large percentage of crimes, especially violent crimes.  A large number of the violent crimes are related to gangs. The question is, “Are the majority of the Hispanic people committing these violent crimes US citizens or are they here illegally?” If the criminal element is indeed largely “illegals” then removal from our country is a good idea, BUT if the majority of the Hispanic criminals are US citizens, then the efforts to remove “illegals” is not solving the real problem.

For the record, our community leaders include a number of Hispanic people (largely second and third generation).   They are our school board presidents, company presidents, small business owners, coaches, teachers, and every-day taxpayers, i.e. solid American Citizens.  So the concern is with a fraction of this group of people, not the group as a whole.

Back to the issue of illegal aliens.  Tom Roach (immigration attorney) provided the following in a two-part article for the Tri-City Herald , July 25, 2010, “Numerous reputable studies have shown that the problem of crime in the United States is not caused or even aggravated by immigrants, regardless of their legal status… undocumented individuals have a very high incentive to not break the law.”  Makes sense.  So if they are not committing violent crimes, they are not the source of the gang violence that drives our fear.  (I’ll address the fear of losing jobs below.) Note: If their illegal status drives them to keep a low profile, that would include not reporting criminal activity they are aware of.  Giving them some form of legal status could actually help reduce the gang activity by encouraging them to report it.  To those who would say, “The fact that they are here illegally makes them criminals and automatically part of the problem.”  I would say whatever happened to:

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breath free,

The wretched refuse of your teaming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Americans used to be proud of these words, we should be once again.  They built America. OK, I’m off that soapbox.

There are an estimated 10 million illegal aliens in the US, largely Hispanic and mostly from Mexico. Why are they here, and what should we do about it?  WHY- See the Law of Populations above.  In this case we have people, not rabbits, and jobs, not clover, but it is the same Natural Law in operation.  There are jobs, largely low-paying, manual labor jobs that would largely go unfilled if not for the immigrants.  They have a need to feed their families, and these jobs are better than those available in Mexico.  How many American parents would do the same thing in the same situation?  Our ancestors risked their lives crossing oceans and crossing prairies to create better situations for their families.  Trying to reverse a Natural Law with a man-made law is a major waste of resources, because it is a futile effort.   Remember Prohibition?  Didn’t work, it just opened the door for organized crime.  We cannot simply round up 10 million people, ship them out of the country, and expect them to stay out.  This is a waste of law enforcement resources.  We should be using those resources to identify and capture the real criminals, car thieves, murderers, drug dealers etc.  (Speaking of wasting law enforcement resources, see Footnote on Profiling)

One last thought: Various large groups of immigrants (Eastern European, Italian, Irish, etc.) have raised the fear of “cheap labor” but have been a source for adding vigor to our country, the yeast in the bread, the new genes in the gene pool to keep it fresh.  Question, why do we have this immigrant quota system?  The Immigration Act of 1920, “Johnson-Reed Act” was based mostly on the (now discredited) work of Madison Grant, author of “the Passing of the Great Race” which touted the superiority of the “Nordic Race”.  Why do we still have a law based on bad science?

We cannot leave 10 million people in the shadows.  What do we do?

Solutions, Proposed Ideas

–          Abolish the Johnson-Reed Act.  Base immigration on job availability.

–          Revise the 14th Amendment.  Simply being born in the US, potentially an accident of timing, is no reason for granting citizenship.  Revise the amendment to apply to people born in the US to permanent residents, i.e. citizens or those holding permanent visas.

–          Create a special type of work visa, a modified form of the existing naturalization process, to document immigrants who want to become citizens. Base it on being a law-abiding resident for a given length of time (five or ten years) and perhaps include a test similar to the Naturalization test.

–          If necessary apply a fee to immigration application to defray the administration costs.

–          Children older than 10 whose parents are not citizens earn their own citizenship by graduating from High School, passing the GED, or serving honorably in the US military.

–          Encourage graduates from our colleges to stay in our country.  Why send them home to compete with us? See Footnote: Profiling and Security, below.

–          Use the system to identify and deny entry to criminals.  Apply the resources we are presently using to identify all illegal immigrants.

–          Reserve many of the privileges of our country, for instance certain types of law suits, unemployment insurance, etc to citizens and those with the standard permanent visas (must be able to prove permanent residence).

Footnotes:

Profiling  – We need to pass laws (including revising the Constitution) that enable the police and other security organizations to conduct profiling.  We cannot waste law enforcement resource on being politically correct and treating little old people and children as if they might be criminals or terrorists.  The fact is most criminal activity, and definitely most violent activity, is committed by males, 15 to 50.  And yes, in some areas the concern is Hispanic gangs, but in others it’s Middle Eastern terrorists, and in other areas it’s White Supremacists.  If we want to make the world safer for our Grandchildren, we need to untie Law Enforcement’s hands.

National Security-It would be good to make it easier for foreign nationals graduating from our colleges to stay here, get jobs, and become citizens.  However, we will have to add some protection to prevent those from China, Russia, Middle Eastern countries, etc. from getting jobs that provide access to military and industrial secrets.  We can provide economic opportunities that benefit our country without opening our doors to enemy agents.  Again, some form of profiling would be necessary.

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