Immigration Common Sense

Newt Gingrich had an article in National Review Online yesterday in which he argued for an honest approach on immigration. His ideas make a lot of sense, unlike the current immigration reform bills in congress which are essentially amnesty-lite.

Here are some highlights of Newt’s article:

First, it is essential to understand how big and how serious this problem is.

Second, it is equally essential to understand how big the changes will have to be to really solve the problem.

Third, it is important to follow a logical set of sequential, sustainable solutions that build a momentum that over time will result in a rational and orderly immigration policy acceptable to a majority of the American people.

Getting there is a matter of national survival both in immediate and in the long-term.

Those in congress and the president don’t seem to care about this sequential concept at all. They are moving head long into a guest worker program while ignoring our borders for political expediency. What they are doing is simply political instant gratification.

The following steps will get us to immigration reform that, I believe, the American people can live with.

First, control the borders with decisive legislation aggressively implemented with tight deadlines. Once we have stopped the illegal flow of people we will have demonstrated the seriousness necessary to gain both the credibility and the leverage needed to implement the next steps. Fortunately, a bipartisan consensus has emerged that securing the borders is indeed priority number one. Three national leaders have it right in their shared view that border control is the first step. Senator Frist is exactly right when he wrote recently that “to build confidence among Americans and Congress that the government takes border security seriously, we have to act to help get the border under control right now.” Senator Clinton is also right when she recently recognized the need for a “smart fence” along the border to enhance security. And Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is also correct when he said last week that “the first thing we want is tough border control.”

Accordingly, the Congress should pass a border-control bill immediately. There is no reason the Congress cannot immediately pass such a bill, and then concentrate on additional immigration reform measures later. The Congress should immediately act on this one aspect of immigration reform around which there is widespread agreement. America needs real border control immediately.

Second, establish patriotic integration and the primacy of English (English first, not English only) combined with a requirement that Americans can only vote in American elections and applicants for citizenship have to select where their loyalty is.

Third, establish real enforcement against unlawful employment by employers and especially against employers who are breaking both immigration and taxation laws. Make clear that the dishonest hiring and tax evasion of the last two decades are over and there will be expensive penalties for people who break American immigration law. Insist that cities enforce the law or lose their federal funding. All this can be done with the right incentives and without rounding up anyone.

Fourth, establish an outsourced worker visa program with a biometric identity card, a background check, and a 24/7 computerized real time verification capability so no business can claim ignorance. Permit businesses to send workers home to apply for their worker visa as a deductible business expense. Eliminate the fly-by-night subcontractor shams that are clearly set up to evade the law. Maximize the opportunity and the incentives for people who are here to return home and become legal.

This makes complete sense. It allows us to stop the flow of illegals, offering us more success in implementing a workable guest worker program.

Newt concludes his piece with this:

As we transform our immigration system from a dishonest to an honest one, it is understandable that those living and working here illegally — especially those who have lived and worked here illegally for a long period of time — would be anxious and fearful about the future. While our two-decade-long failure does not mean that we are required to maintain a dishonest system, it does mean that must have a humanitarian period of transition as we replace an illegal channel of immigration with a legal one.

There is a huge difference between a cautious limited policy of integrating the people attracted by a dishonest and shameful policy (the deliberate cultivation of illegality over the last 20 years) and amnesty which will only reinforce the message of the dishonest past and create a wave of people who will continue to pour in expecting the continuation of the yesterday’s failed policies.

If lawmakers can agree to the first four steps we have plenty of time to think through and work out the details of a humane, compassionate, and legitimate process of patriotic integration for people who were lured to America by an incompetent government and lawbreaking businesses and who do not deserve to bear the full brunt of popular anger at such dishonest and hypocritical policies.

If the American people see that their leaders are serious and determined to control the border then create an effective worker-visa program along with a comprehensive program of patriotic integration into American civilization they will be much more supportive of a program for helping those with deep connections to America find their legal place in American society.

Most Americans understand why people risk their lives, either through the desert or on rafts, to get to America. They desperately want opportunity and prosperity for themselves and their families. However, we are doing our citizens and the immigrants who are following the law to citizenship a great disservice if the current guest worker plan is made law.

Ed Morrissey has commentary on Newt’s immigration ideas. Here’s a portion:

Gingrich takes the position that many of us hoped our President would support as chief executive — enforcing the law and creating a credible and secure border. He doesn’t support a full border barrier, but wants to put barriers in the high-traffic areas and deploy high-tech surveillance in the remaining gaps. I support that as an interim to building a complete barrier, but at least it provides a start.

Alexandra at All Things Beautiful writes about a comment she received in Spanish that said Americans need to get used to reading Spanish as it will be a recognized language in this country in a few years.


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