Summary
  • America needs a second chance. Prior administrations failed to adequately protect the borders and enforce immigration laws. People from foreign countries received word of this, and many came here and have been taking advantage of America’s weaknesses.
  • Congress should start fresh, assess illegal immigrants on a case-by-case basis, and decide to fast track individuals to citizenship or deport them. Once this process is completed, America must enforce immigration laws in order establish an effective deterrent and solve the problem.
  • First step is a secure border. Without a secure border, the rest is futile.
  • Second step is to assess Illegal immigrants on a case-by-case basis, whether an individual: (i) committed crimes or poses a criminal risk, (ii) has assimilated to American culture, and (iii) attends school (children) or is financially productive (adults). If law abiding and contributing, Congress should find a way to fast track an individual’s citizenship, otherwise criminals and individuals who do not contribute a net benefit to society should be deported.
  • Third step is to actually enforce immigration laws, strengthening a deterrent to would-be illegal immigrants, by deporting all who enter illegally and cutting funding to States who refuse to cooperate with Federal law enforcement agencies seeking to enforce immigration laws.
Legal Immigration

Immigration is an important component of a thriving America.

The American people generally welcome immigrants, specifically those who bring an unwavering motivation to be productive in and contribute to our society. People from around the world who want to live a peaceful, civilized, and enjoyable life desire to come to our great nation with the prospectus of eventually assimilating and becoming an American citizen.

I believe that America should continue the effort to attract, and indeed welcome, those from all foreign countries who can contribute to America by becoming an exemplary citizen, working hard and paying taxes.

However, there is a reality to confront. Not all immigrants are so qualified, in fact, some are a significant detriment to the American taxpayer. Some illegal immigrants take advantage of American resources, such as public education, healthcare, and welfare. Some are criminals and otherwise impose costs through our judicial system. Many illegal immigrants reside in America without contributing anything of value, or contributing less than the costs they impose, and generally present a financial burden on American taxpayers.

While the far left wants colorize illegal immigration and present the problem as brown vs. white, I believe the color metric is more accurately characterized by green dollars and red balance sheets.

I think America should promote lawful immigration by anyone who is deemed capable and willing to contribute, whereas the government should protect the American people from those who wish to infiltrate America illegally, commit crimes and/or usurp American resources.

My father-in-law came to America as a young man and defector from Hungary in the 1960’s, which at the time was under communist rule. He merely sought to work hard, earn a decent living, educate himself, raise a family, and live without the impositions of a communist society. He found opportunity from the U.S. Army, where he enlisted as an E-1, performing some of the Army’s least desirable jobs. He completed his service in the Army and subsequently enlisted in the Marines. While serving in the Armed Forces, he earned not only undergraduate and graduate degrees, but also his U.S. citizenship. He worked his way up the ranks to retire at the rank of Major, each year paying taxes and serving the American people. While this is one example of legal immigration and the American Dream that is held close to my heart, I have heard countless others from ordinary Americans. Point is, most of us know someone who followed the rules to become a lawful U.S. citizen and contributes to society, these individuals are great!

We must support immigration when done legally because America has much to gain from those originating from foreign lands and who seek after the American Dream.

Border

It’s common sense that we cannot reasonably enforce an immigration policy without first securing America’s borders (not merely our southern borders, but the entire periphery as well as sea and air ports). We must build a border (wall or fence) where practical, utilize technology to enhance security of the border, and deploy law enforcement personnel in order to apprehend and deport those who trespass. In addition to protecting Americans from trespassers, a stronger border will further serve to capture and reduce the flow of contraband entering into this country, such as illegal drugs.

How do we fund the border, technologies and the required law enforcement personnel?

The funding for these objectives should be appropriated by Congress and sourced from taxes and other Federal revenues.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the Constitution authorizes Congress to tax and spend in order to “provide for the common defense“. The “common defense” includes defending Americans from infiltrators, criminals, and those with intent to unlawfully usurp American resources.

In addition, Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 explicitly authorizes Congress to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution … Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States..

DACA vs. Non-DACA Illegal Immigrants

The “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)” policy probably had good intentions, but was poorly executed and created a huge mess for everyone. DACA is one example where America could use a mulligan.

I can’t imagine the uncertainty that this policy has created for a subset of people in this country. Imagine you arrive in a land where you are unwelcome because your parents dragged you there illegally (i.e., you had no choice), you live a life in that land and one day grow up to discover that you don’t belong there! Meanwhile, you have learned the language, made friends, and identified yourself as an ordinary American. When you find out that you don’t legally belong, what do you do? You cannot leave your family, can’t go back to your homeland because you don’t know anyone there, so you stay. The American government provides you a program (DACA) where if you: (i) go to school (or you graduated school or were honorably discharged from the military), (ii) pay a fee of about $500, and (iii) avoid criminal charges by acting reasonably and responsibly in your community, among other requirements, then the government will not deport you. So you make an effort to pay the fee, file the paperwork and live as agreed. You renew every two years by filing more paperwork and paying more fees. Then, the government cancels the program. What can you do?

The Obama Administration had no right to circumvent Federal laws (ex: 8 U.S. Code § 1227). President Obama and his Administration egregiously abused executive authority and violated constitutional separation of powers by creating this policy.

DACA is now winding down, but the problem remains and America is left with the need to deal with illegal immigration. America cannot simply reward illegal immigrants with blanket amnesty, nor can our country deport everyone. There has to be a middle ground that makes sense.

I propose that every illegal immigrant should be subjected to a fair assessment of whether the individual: (i) committed crimes or poses a criminal risk, (ii) has assimilated to American culture, and (iii) attends school (children) or is financially productive (adults), for example, a balance of any social services received by the individual vs. actual or potential tax contributions made by the individual. If law abiding and contributing to America, Congress should find a way to fast track an individual’s citizenship; otherwise criminals and individuals who do not contribute a net benefit should be deported. This should apply equally to ALL illegal immigrants, not just the DACA class.

Deterring Illegal Immigration

Once the border is secure, and all illegal immigrants residing in this country have been assessed and treated according to their ability to act responsibly (no criminal offenses), assimilate and contribute as productive Americans, the final steps will be to actively and continuously enforce the law by deporting all who subsequently enter illegally, and cutting funding to States who refuse to cooperate with Federal law enforcement agencies seeking to enforce immigration laws.

Final Thoughts

As a compassionate American, I regularly contribute a portion of our family’s disposable income to religious and non-profit institutions that enter developing countries to provide education, healthcare and welfare support, and I would encourage others to do the same. However, the Federal Government and taxpayer dollars should not be used to subsidize education, healthcare, judicial system, and welfare costs of illegal immigrants.