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Issue #8 - Immigration

Unless our government is prepared to allow anyone in the world to enter the United States and stay here permanently, we will need to impose reasonable restrictions on immigration. Those who willfully break our immigration laws should not simply be forgiven. At the same time, perhaps as many as 12 million people do live in this country having entered without official permission. It would be inhumane and perhaps unpractical to round them all up and send them back to their country of origin.

A law was passed in 1986 that did provide amnesty for the illegal-immigrant population at that time. Better border security and sanctions on employers were supposed to fix the problem in the future. However, the Republicans bent the rules to help their business friends who wanted a continued flow of cheap immigrant labor. The Democrats were happy to have a new Civil Rights-type constituency. (The Bush family similarly dreamed of snagging some Hispanic voters for Republicans.) Government winked at immigration abuse, sending mixed signals to the immigrants themselves. So, in a way, these people were less at fault than our own government. Maybe they have a certain “squatters rights” if government did nothing to enforce law for such a long time.

Forgotten in this discussion is the interest of nonimmigrant populations, especially those living in small towns. An influx of immigrants hurts them in several ways: 1. Local government will have to bear the additional expense of providing free public-school education for the immigrants’ children, bearing certain health-care costs of indigent persons, and dealing with crime issues. 2. Immigrant workers, willing to work for lower wages, compete with native-born Americans so as to drive wages down. 3. The influx of immigrants into a community changes the character of the community. It no longer seems like their own. 4. Persons who complain about this situation are called “bigots”. Yes, the interest of the nonimmigrant population also needs to be respected.

Perhaps a compromise position would be in order. On one hand, the government might indefinitely suspend deportations of illegal immigrants, excepting those convicted of crimes. On the other hand: (1) Children born to illegal immigrants would no longer receive automatic citizenship. We should have a constitutional amendment to that effect if the courts strike down that rule. (2) Illegal immigrants should be required to register with the Social Security office under penalty of deportation. (3) Employers who hire illegal immigrants would be required to pay a surcharge on their FICA tax to help defray the additional costs borne by local governments where those workers live. The rate is negotiable.

(This is an area where we have differences with both Democrats and conservative Republicans, but more with the Democrats.)

 

See also:

a proposal to deal with illegal immigration

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