Saturday, April 01, 2006

My Solution to the Illegal Immigration Crisis

I've already advocated a border wall ("Call it a 'Welcome Wall'")between Mexico and the United States. Not a solid wall, mind you, but one with open doors for those who are willing to go through them legally.

But what about the 11-12 million folks who are already here illegally?

Here is what I would suggest for legislation.

1. First, before anything here suggested becomes law, secure the border.

2. Require every person in the United States illegally to register with the Immigration Service within two years.

3. Registering would involve applying for either a visa or "green card" depending on the person's circumstances.

4. Upon registering/application each person would receive a "Temporary US Guest Visitor" card authorizing them to remain in the United States until their application is processed.

5. Those with legal papers providing proof of identity, permanent address in the United States, references from US. citizens and a legal birth certificate will be eligible to receive a "green card" or a visa, giving them legal residency in the the United States that can lead to citizenship.

6. Those without such identifying papers will be eligible to receive a "Guest Worker" card good for two years. At the end of two years the person can either reapply for a "green card" or revert to an illegal status. If the application is rejected the individual must leave the United States for a period of six months after which they can reapply for either a visa, "green card" or a new "Guest Worker" card (good for two years) and re-enter the United States.

7. Two years after this program begins, all unregistered persons remaining in the United Stated illegally will be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and subject to imprisonment and/or deportation.

8. Anyone, whether registered or unregistered, found in possession of either forged or fraudulent legal documents will be guilty of a felony and subject to imprisonment and/or deportation with no right of return.

9. Any crime committed by an unregistered person will be subject to prosecution for the crime at a level one step higher than someone who is in this country legally. (ie. a Class 2 misdemeanors offense would be prosecuted as a Class 1 misdemeanor and a Class 1 misdemeanor offense would be prosecuted as a Class 6 felony, etc.)

10. Children must show proof of legal residency before being enrolled in public schools as must everyone seeking medical care in hospital emergency rooms. Medical services will be provided to all regardless but those without proper identification must be reported to law enforcement officials.

11. Children born to unregistered parents in the United States would NOT qualify as natural-born citizens of the United States (this might require tinkering with the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution).

*11. Employers hiring unregistered persons must pay them 20% more than what they pay legally resident employees. (This would lead them to hire legal workers before hiring illegal ones). Employers found in violation of this rule would be liable to a minimum fine of either one year's full-time pay per employee or $15,000 whichever is higher. (*optional suggestion)

The entire point of this would be to turn these folks into legal residents of the United States, giving them every chance to become full citizens through the usual, legal means given to every other immigrant.

Those willing to register would be welcomed as contributing members of American society.

Those unwilling to legally register for whatever reason would be persona non grata by their own choice. Those with criminal records (Class 1 misdemeanors and above) while living in this country illegally would be ineligible for being approved for either a "green card" or a "Guest Worker" card.

Is this a form of amnesty? Yes. But with a positive purpose and an incentive to register.

Is this manageable? Not without a great investment in our Immigration budget and staff. Fully-staffed regional registration offices would need to be set up throughout the United States so as to be accessible for those registering.

Powerful new computer technology would be needed for fast-tracking these applications and for cross-checking criminal records, credit violations and terrorist connections.

This program would be offered only for two years, beginning not less than three months or more than six months after the Mexican-American border has been declared "secure." Only those who can prove residency in the United States prior to the securing of the Mexican-American border (whenever that takes place) would be eligible for the registration program.

Comments that point out any large matters overlooked will be welcomed.