Friday, March 03, 2006

Illegals Not Welcome

Thumb with sign Not WelcomeIf we agree that illegal immigration is a problem we must solve and mass immigration of unskilled workers is a problem we should solve, what are some things we can do to solve these problems? (See my previous post 'Is Illegal Immigration A Problem?')

Increasing border security is high on the list. I've heard a combination of proposals. Physical walls. Virtual walls. More agents. All these sound good, but these actions alone will not solve illegal immigration.

If we really want to solve this problem, we must crack down on businesses who hire illegal immigrants. Fines for hiring illegal immigrants must be levied that are commensurate with the size of the business, the number of illegal immigrants employed and the length of time they have been employed. The punishment must be severe enough so that most employers will determine it is not worth the risk to hire undocumented workers.

People who are caught entering the US illegally should have their identity recorded and then they should be returned to Mexico (or the country they entered from). This person would never be eligible for US citizenship, a green card or a work permit. If we make it possible for more workers to enter legally and deny that option to anyone who enters illegally, we can discourage workers from entering illegally.

If someone comes to the US illegally again and are caught, they go to jail and they are no longer even eligible for a visa to visit the US. Repeat offenders would face longer jail sentences.

We should increase the number of work permits for guest workers. A guest worker must have a job before their permit is issued. There would also be a provision that bringing their family with them is not an option, although they would be required to identify their family members before a permit is granted. If their family is found to be here illegally, the penalty would be swift deportation for all. This would give workers an incentive to return home when their work permit or current employment expires. Immigrant workers who have a clean record for some number of work years (6, though not necessarily contigous years) would be allowed to apply for a green card and bring their immediate family (spouse, children and parents they had identified originally) to this country.

Maybe employers of guest workers should have to pay an hourly fee or tax to the government (local, state and federal) for these workers. This would help to reimburse governments for the extra services these immigrants might require. This would also give an incentive for hiring US workers, if they can be found, for these jobs. So, for example, if you hire a US citizen, you must pay them at least minimum wage. If you hire a guest worker, you must pay them at least minimum wage plus $2.00 an hour as a government surcharge.

Better yet, maybe companies who hire guest workers should be forced to pay a certain level of benefits (like health insurance) to ALL their employees if they hire guest workers.

The idea is to give employers incentives to hire US workers, but if they hire guest workers we minimize the financial burden on community resources that provide these workers with services (like schools, health providers, etc.).

I would like to see a requirement that all guest workers be required to have a minimum ability to read, write and speak English. This would make it easier to assimilate these workers as they progress towards a green card and possibly citizenship. Certainly, every naturalized citizen should be required to speak, read and write English.

Guest workers would, of course, be required to obey all laws. Guest workers convicted of a felony and their families would face deportation. We have a right to choose people who we believe will make positive contributions to our country.

Even if we create a plan to stop illegal immigration, there are still millions of immigrants who are here illegally. We need to determine what to do with them.

One idea would be to apply all the ideas above to people who can prove they had a job here before September 1, 2006. If they have immediate family here, they can stay, but they must be documented. Children who are not citizens must show proof that their parents are here legally before they can enroll in a school. The illegal immigrant's current employer must register these workers and agree to pay the extra fees that are required for guest workers. If they won't, the guest worker will have six months to find a new employer or be sent back to their home country. Once there, they can start over as a guest worker under the new rules. Guest workers already here would have to pass the English proficiency test within one year.

Illegal immigrants and their families who started working on or after September 1, 2006 would be required to leave the country and apply for guest worker status.

Some ideas, such as not providing education for children of illegal immigrants, may sound draconian, but without rewards and punishments we cannot solve this problem. Without sufficient incentives, nothing will change. We currently have an undocumented underclass and that is also not fair to these children.

I'm sure people more familiar with immigration issues will come up with other ideas, but I believe that if we really want to stop illegal immigration, we can. At this point it is clear that the US does not really want to stop cheap labor from entering this country.

Technorati Tags: Technorati Tags:

No comments: