Thursday, November 3, 2011

So, how to deal with in regards to immigration?

As we all know, immigration is one of the most controversial and divisive topics that out nation is facing right now, as well as being one of the hardest to solve- and inaction on this topic isn't helping. Some states, such as Alabama and Arizona, have tried to regulate this problem- by trying make immigration law themselves, yet these laws push the limits of civil rights. So in response, here is my basic framework in regards to immigration reform. 

My Plan for Immigration Reform

For People Who Committed Major (Felony) Crimes- (Rape, Assault, Homicide, Robbery, etc.)
  • They must be deported, no questions asked. These people damage the reputation of immigrants everywhere, and letting them stay here won't help the problem. These are the type of people, along with gang members, that DHS should be concentrating on. Of course, they will be a given a hearing with their entitled rights, but if they are found guilty, the only punishment would be deportation.   
For People Who Are In Good Social Standing
  • Must be living 7-10 Years in the United States or more.
  • Preference given if they have a family and/or kids who are under the Age of 18.  
  • They must be paying their taxes, or be on their way to paying off their debt to Uncle Sam.
  • Must undergo a background check.
  • Pass an English literacy and English fluency test, and pass a basic citizenship test (basic US history).
A large, lump sum "penalty" could be paid by people who did NOT have the proper visas for all 8 years, equivalent to 8 years visa fees + interest. People partially through the 8 years could pay the penalty for the number of years they were here illegally to be restored to "good standing" and then apply for visas for the remaining number of years.

This makes the government money, and allows a difficult, but possible, path to citizenship for illegals who have been living here and on otherwise good behavior under the old and flawed system, and it is NOT a handout. This is different from the dud of 1986, which basically gave anyone amnesty. This also makes new, desperately needed source of revenue for the government 
  • In the case of military service, 5 years of service with an honorary discharge from any branch of Armed Forces would be satisfactory to establish citizenship. The fees for visas and possibly taxes would be waived.
  • Children or people who came as very young children and managed to get at least an Associates or a Master Degree, or have contributed Military Service to this country would also be allowed to apply for citizenship. The fees for visas and possibly taxes would be waived on a case by case basis, however.   
This would be the basic requirements for the majority of immigrants here in the United States. 

For People Who Committed Minor Crimes. 
  • MUST have not committed any crime for 5 Years 
  • Paid their taxes.
  • Must know English.
  • Must pass an English literacy and English fluency test, and pass a basic citizenship test (basic US history).
  • A large, lump sum "penalty" could be paid by people who did NOT have the proper visas for all 8 years, equivalent to 8 years visa fees + interest. People partially through the 8 years could pay the penalty for the number of years they were here illegally to be restored to "good standing" and then apply for visas for the remaining number of years.
Another aspect of this plan would also include on going after employers who use immigrant labor, mainly because they know that immigrants would work for whatever wages, as long as it is work. Usually, immigrants are exploited, because they know that immigrants usually fear reporting such abuses to the proper authorities because of their status.  I would not mandate the the use of E-Verify, since it is still a work in progress, but employers would be subject to audits from time to time. This, in all, is my plan for immigration reform. Now, lets talk about those laws, shall we?

The proponents of the majority of these new laws in Alabama, Arizona, and other states say that because illegal immigrants, are well, illegally here, they are not entitled to any of the rights that U.S. Citizens are entitled to. The great majority also argue for the repeal of the 14th Amendment. Well, looks like some people either aren't brushed up on their political history, don't care about Constitutional Law, or weren't paying attention when taking Political Science. Why do we call it a democracy if we give, as Locke put it, the natural rights of all people of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to select people  and deny it to others? These are all rights, that according to Locke, all people are born with. If we deny it here to a select group, why even call it a democracy? A democracy is not a democracy when we deny it to a group of people. Some people argue that... 
"Illegal immigrants do not contribute to the U.S. as much as citizens do (except physical labor), and therefore cannot experience the same things we do." 
To this, I say BS. So just because in your mind, because they don't "contribute to the U.S. as citizens do," they don't have the right to experience the freedom and protection of the law we all enjoy? That they don't enjoy the natural rights that all people are born with? If we deny them the protection of the law, can we truly say that we are one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all? Explain why they are willing to work picking crops while being paid some low-a** wages and in some really terrible conditions. Those who claim that immigrants don't contribute much to the U.S. and that their rights should be infringed might as well cite Chief Justice's Roger Taney's opinion in Dred Scott, because it seems to emphasize their position.  Now, one of their favorite responses to this seems to be that since 
"Illegals are not citizens, therefore they have not consented to the American government that provides these rights to those who, as citizens, have consented to the American form of government. Therefore the American government does not exist to guarantee illegal immigrants these rights, only people who ARE citizens, or who are here legally in accordance with the very rules of the government that would provide them with those rights in the first place."
Well, since, that would be a violation of human rights. Since they aren't U.S. Citizens, they aren't entitled to their rights, eh?  So, let's say an immigrant has been accused of a crime- would he be given a fair and speedy trial, or would he be immediately assumed guilty, since as a non-citizen, he has no right to a fari trial and be sent to prison with due process of the law? That would be a violation of what America stands for- liberty and justice for all. Or if somebody committed a crime against an immigrant- would that person be prosecuted under the law, would he be let free without any sort of trial, simply because the victim is an illegal immigrant, and as such, has nor right to bring up a claim because he is not a citizen, and thus, not entitled to his rights? Now, the 14th Amendment. Many people are arguing for the repeal of that amendment, because it promotes immigration by allowing for so-called 'anchor babies," and since anyone born here is entitled to U.S. Citizenship, they are also entitled to the benefits that come to it.  Well, first of all, the benefits are only for the child, not for the parent, and second of all, Why? You would be depriving a chance for the child to become a potential asset to this country, to allow that child to aspire for his dreams in the greatest country in the world. Look, I'm the son of illegal immigrants. I work hard in school (my grades show it), I read The New York Times, I'm deeply interested in law, politics, and history- and I was born here, thus I am a U.S. Citizen. What about the other kids who are just like me, or are similar to me, but yet wouldn't be citizens if the 14th Amendment is repealed? What would happen to them? Should they let their dreams die away? What about me? Would I get my citizenship taken away because I just happened to be the son of illegal immigrants? I already mentioned in an earlier blog post about the rights of immigrants under the 14th Amendment. Let's see, has the U.S. Supreme Cout affirmed other rights for immigrants? I'm hearing they have. Let' see..

Wow. All those cases that affirmed the rights of immigrants, and are still in force today. Man, leaves you something to think, eh? Yet, we must continue to fight these laws, and challenge these laws forcefully in court as the deprivation of liberties, using these cases as ammo. We can only hope.