There is a great deal of back and forth about the Supreme Court ruling that was released Monday. Arizona passed a law that was viewed by the right as help to the federal government to deal with the problem. The left viewed it as, what else is new, racist. A key provision in the law was upheld by the court. States can ask about legal status of any person that has made contact with the police for any lawful stop. That was 8-0. Even the "wise Latina" realizes there is nothing wrong with the police asking about legal status to a person who is being questioned by the police. The court struck down three other provisions. One involving the warrantless arrest of someone with "probable cause" if law enforcement believes they have committed an offense that is punishable with deportation. I can't even begin to say how glad I am that was struck down. Under no circumstances do I want police officers to have that kind of power. I am unwilling to give up my civil liberties for a terrorist or an illegal alien.
What the court really did was force the hand of congress. We need immigration reform in this country. We needed it yesterday. The congress has been dragging their feet on these issues for decades. For a variety of reasons. Someone of which lay squarely on the soldiers of the far right. Even the mention of limited work visa's is called amnesty by some.
We cannot continue on the path that we are on. Something must be done. Here is my view of what we should do.
Anyone that is currently in the country illegally must register at their most local immigration office.
Back taxes must be estimated and paid. If you are unable to pay in full, a payment plan must be put in place. If you do not pay on time every month you are deported.
You must have gainful employment
You must pass a written and oral test to prove you are proficient in the English language.
You must return to country of origin to start process of getting a visa. We can make exceptions in cases of civil war and other levels of unrest in your country. They will be handled on a case by case basis. If you cannot afford to return to your country, you can find a charity that will help you with that.
You will not be given citizenship. You will go to the back of the line. You will wait seven years for citizenship from the date of your legal status goes into effect. No credit will be given regardless of how long you have in the United States.
If you have been convicted of a violent felony, you will be returned to country of origin.
You will pay a fine not less than $5,000 to cover your costs of the visa.
You will not collect any entitlement for a period of five years with the exception of unemployment that is paid for by the insurance of your former employer.
You will sign an agreement that you will not seek any social security payments for money that was earned before legal status was given even if you paid into the system with fraudulent numbers.
The borders will be secured
Anyone caught crossing the border after this time will be detained and face a deportation hearing
We will overhaul the visa system. We will give two-year work permits for low-skilled workers who want to work as a migrant farm worker. (The majority of these people don't want to stay in the States, they come and work and return home)
High-skilled workers will be given higher consideration for visas.
The quotas for Mexico and South American countries will be higher. We will offset these numbers by reducing the numbers of other countries. TBD
Let's face the facts. We will not deport all the illegals that are in the country. It will not happen. Maybe it should, but it won't. So let's get a comprehensive reform plan into place that actually takes into account the workforce that we have, and the workforce that we need.
I have a friend who is from Columbia. He came here many years ago. He didn't have much of a problem getting a visa. He is happily married, a father of three, a small business owner, a homeowner, and a former candidate for state senate. Today, he would never get into this country. No visa for him exists. He has family that can't get a visitor visa to come see him. One of his family members that would like to come is a small business owner back in Columbia. He has a good life there, he has no desire to live here. But he can't even come for a two-week vacation. That makes no sense.
The time has long since passed that we admit our problems with the illegals is something that we have done to ourselves. We have porous borders and a broken visa system. It is next to impossible for a low skilled worker from Mexico to get a visa into this country. It is very easy to say when you are on this side of the border that you wouldn't break the law and come here. If you have to feed your children when there are no jobs, you may just make the same decision that they make. It is the system that is broken and causing the problems. We have built incentives for people to come here illegally. Until we get rid of those, the problem will not be solved. The problem will not be solved until we fortify the border.
The time has come that we stop arguing and get the job done. Fortify the border, fix the visa system, and make a common sense approach to the people who are otherwise law-abiding citizens. Immigration makes us better and stronger. This problem is easily solved. It is pure politics that is stopping this. The time has come for congress to act.