Illegal immigrants and immigration are complex issues, and so this post more than anything else discusses how to change immigration and employment policies to control illegal immigration. What this post does not address are border security, how to deal with the 7 million+ illegal aliens in the US this program will upheave, as well as how to handle the economic fallout of ending a large, cheap labor pool. Those three things will be the focus of next week's policy discussion (though, of course, feel free to comment on them here).
This post represents both domestic and diplomatic proposals to help end the problem of illegal immigration. I am greatly indebted for many of the ideas to various posts by Dr. Demarche on The Daily Demarche, a blog by two foreign service officers which has given the most informed ideas to address this issue I've seen. I have collected, organized and modified some of the ideas I found there and added my own as noted below.
Ten Answers to the Illegal Immigration Problem
In El Otro Lado, Dr. Demarche laid out five steps the US could take to resolve the problem of illegal immigration and explained them. I have quoted from his list (all direct quotes are from The Daily Demarche), added my own ideas, and posted these steps below. You can click the link to read his explanations. I have added three more steps from other posts at The Daily Demarche, including guest poster Criticalreactor. Finally, the last two proposals are my own.
1. "Punish American firms that hire illegal workers- this is the most important step." I would expand this to simply say 'Punish Americans who hire ...' It isn't just firms. Small businesses and individuals are also doing this. On the enforcement side, I would start with the big fish and work down, of course.
2. "Establish a more secure employment document- the Social Security card does not work." Issue new SS cards with photos and all the anti-counterfeiting features. Showing a valid new SS card would also be required to be able to vote in federal elections, and encourage states & cities to pass similar legislation for state elections. From Polipundit, I found out the Social Security Administration is already implementing an online database employers can check SSNs on, which is great -- I don't have to add this to my platform! I would make checking a requirement, however.
3. "Revise and expand the H2 [guest worker] visa category- not just for Mexicans, but for all, and require that issuance only occur in the country of origin of the alien."*
4. "Require legal workers to pay into Medicaid, and deny public benefits to illegal aliens found in America."
5. "Reduce the amount of foreign aid granted to any country by a set or variable amount based on the costs associated with each illegal immigrant detained/treated/deported."
6. Institute a waiting period for applications for visas after a denial. Currently, once denied a visa, an applicant can pretty much immediately re-apply, which is choking the system. This and steps 7 and 8 would greatly enhance our ability to control to whom we issue visas.
7. Professional visa adjudicators would take over the visa lines, currently manned by newby FSOs who do the job for a year or two and move on. They would be "...well versed in law and policy who speak the local language at a high level ..."
8. End all visa category restrictions on the use of section 214(b) to deny visas. 214(b) "... is the catch-all refusal used to turn down applicants (tourist, business, student, etc) that the officer feels are not being truthful, or has other suspicions about." Currently, religious visas (Islamist imams, anyone?) and some others are exempt from denial under this section. (Guest poster Criticalreactor suggested ending the exemption on religious visas, but I don't see any reason to stop there.)
9. Deny a visa to anyone who has publicly incited violence against the US or its interests within the last ten years, and deport any resident aliens who do or have done this.
10. From the date of passage of the legislation, any child born on US soil whose parents are in the US illegally will not be granted US citizenship. This decreases the incentive for pregnant women to cross illegally.
Well, team, what do you think?
Update: Dr. Demarche has a new post on this topic up at American Future which is worth the read.
*Dr. D., if you read this, could you please explain why you would require the issuance in the country of origin, instead of simply outside the US? For example, why is it a bad idea to allow a Chinese worker to apply from Japan?
Polipundit link mug tip to Michelle Malkin.
And remember, vote A Guy in Pajamas in 2008!