Pass legislation that:
1. Gets the wall between the US and Mexico built.
2. Makes it a felony to enter the US illegally from the date the legislation takes effect, and to be in the US illegally from 31 days after the legislation takes effect. Also makes it a felony to assist an illegal in avoiding law enforcement and immigration agencies, gives all police the jurisdiction to enforce this law, and, regardless of whether they enforce it or not, requires all law enforcement officers to report any contact with illegal aliens within 24 hours. Finally, make it prohibitively expensive, and a possible felony, to knowingly employ illegal aliens from 31 days after the law takes effect.
3. Gives all current illegal immigrants 30 days (count ‘em: three-zero) to:
a. Get the paperwork from their employer or a family member for sponsorship,
b. Get registered at their closest consulate,
c. Apply for and receive a special temporary worker visa from the US (issued automatically after a US criminal background check and two phone calls to check sponsorship and registration at their consulate).
4. Makes these special visas non-renewable (but see Step 2).
5. Requires employers to check every employee on the Social Security Administration database. The database software will be set up to issue receipts for valid matches, and those receipts must be placed in the employees’ files and copies submitted with tax documentation. Since handling all the special visas will take a huge amount of time, give employers six months to get all current employees registered, however, new employees must be checked from the date the legislation goes into effect.
6. Sets up a generous guest worker program that requires application from the country of origin, a sponsor / employer, and for which it is impossible to apply while on the special temporary worker visa (though see Step 2).
Step 2: Reciprocity and Normalization
1. Over the year after passage of the above legislation, have a congressional study group that will study immigration laws and economics in the countries that have large blocks of immigrants on these special temporary visas.
2. Make any further concession to the immigrants of these nations based on their home nation’s laws, make this policy explicit from the beginning, and take into account any change each individual nation takes towards immigration liberalization for Americans and economic improvement. For example, if, during that year, Mexico were to liberalize its immigration laws and allow Americans easy immigration, the same property and business ownership rights as Mexican citizens, and take steps to improve economic opportunities for the poor, then Mexican immigrants on special temporary visas in the US would most likely get an automatic year extension to their visas, and the restriction that they could not apply for guest worker visas while on special temporary visas would be removed. Of course, if Mexico didn’t change, well, fair’s fair. Our laws would still be more free and open than Mexico’s, and anytime anyone complained about the US deporting millions of Mexicans, we’d point that out and the great opportunity for its citizens on both sides of the border that the Mexican government chose to ignore.
In both steps, there would have to be exceptions made, for example, for refugees, or for nations with very few immigrants in the US on special visas (so threatening their deportation wouldn’t be a significant stimulus), etc.
I've left a lot out, but Dr. Demarche made some more good proposals that would complement mine well.
Update 5/17: It seems that Glenn Reynolds agrees with me.
Previous posts on this topic:
Mexican Immigration Law
Undocumented Migrants In Mexico Brutalized
Random Illegal Thoughts
Illegal Immigration 1