“Comprehensive immigration reform.” It’s the buzzword from the left, whenever the issue of dealing with illegal aliens comes up. We can’t secure our borders without comprehensive immigration reform. We can’t allow states to enforce illegal alien laws without comprehensive immigration reform. We can’t do anything on the issue unless we do everything.
So, what does “comprehensive immigration reform” mean, anyway?
As far as I can tell, it means we can’t do anything. Because I’ve never heard an explanation of what “comprehensive immigration reform” means, apart from an exercise in watching people find ways to say “amnesty” without saying “amnesty.” It’s like real-life “Password.”
So, in the interest of “opening a dialogue” and “advancing the issue,” I figured I’d toss out an opening position for “comprehensive immigration reform.” Let me state that this is not a “floor;” these are not graven in stone. My ideas here are not to be viewed as my opening concessions, and graven in stone. I could end up changing my mind and withdrawing any or all of these.
The one consistent phrase used, however, is “a path to citizenship.” Illegal aliens here must be given a chance to not only legalize their status, but achieve citizenship. It’s often said that, of the 12-20 million illegal aliens here, we can’t deport them all.
I’ve often questioned that. How do we know that? Have we even tried? And even if we tried and failed, wouldn’t we still have deported quite a few? And wouldn’t that be a good thing?
But OK, we can’t deport them all. We need a road to legalization and citizenship. But I want to put up a few “toll booths” on that road. A few hurdles to help thin the numbers, to keep at least some of the worst from taking advantage of the programs.
Here are my ideas on limiting this amnesty program:
1) No felony convictions. Period. If you’ve committed a felony while in the United States illegally, get out. We don’t want you, need you, or will tolerate you.
2) No public assistance for at least three years. Of any form. If you’ve managed to survive here in the US illegally for any length of time, you’ve shown you’re resourceful already. Continue to do so. Show that you won’t be a burden on the nation.
3) No “chain immigration.” No one who participates in the amnesty program can sponsor any more immigrants — not even family members — for at least three years. You did not follow the rules to get here, so you don’t get all the benefits of having done so.
4) A special “income tax” on amnesty recipients. Say, an additional 3% tax for three years as a way of repaying the nation for the burden of absorbing all these new residents, and a form of reparations for having broken the laws in the first place. I was going to specify that the funds be set aside for immigration enforcement, but I don’t recall any time that targeted tax revenues ever actually didn’t end up going straight into the general fund.
5) No holding public office for three years. Those in the program cannot hold elective office, appointed office, or any public sector jobs. They’ve spent years hiding from the government; they should not just then walk into getting a government check in any form.
All this, of course, has to be coupled with actual, serious enforcement of illegal alien laws. Authorizing all law enforcement agencies to enforce the law. A requirement that seekers of political amnesty actually seek it on their own, and not plead for it when caught. Expedited deportation procedures.
And BUILD THE GODDAMNED FENCE. Hell, I’ll even make an exception to #5 and say it ought to be built exclusively by illegal aliens seeking amnesty.
OK, there’s a dialogue-opener. There’s the bare bones of a true “comprehensive immigration reform” program.
Have at it.