Few of the many suggestions swirling around the current immigration debate use much common sense.The idea to build a wall along our 2,000 mile southern border is stuck in some peoples' minds but they don't say who would actually build it or how long it would take or how much it would cost. They just say "build a wall" and think that will solve everything. Who would do the work? Our unemployment rate is below 5%, and this is with millions of illegal workers.
Where would we find more workers to do this hard manual labor? Where would the estimated $2.2 billion it would cost come from? What about the environmental damage it would do to the deserts it would cut through?.The people who say we should deport 12 million people don't say how to do that either. They just say "round them up and send them home".
They think arresting 12 or 15 at a time on street corners and construction sites will quickly get rid of 12 million people. They don't consider the personnel who would have to be hired to do this. They don't consider the cost to find out if they are here legally, where they came from or where they should be sent.
They don't consider where we would keep these people until their status was decided or the cost to send them "home".Those who say we should stop all immigration for awhile don't say how we would manage here without more people to replace our low birthrate and aging workers. They seem to think we can keep the economy going without new people, but we don't have enough young workers to do that. And most of the young workers we do have want easier jobs and aren't interested in picking vegetables or cutting lawns or cleaning hotel rooms.Even the people who say that illegal immigrants who have been here two to five years should return to their homeland and come back in legally, are not considering how many (or how few) would leave.
If people have to prove they have been here for more than two years by providing rent receipts, utility bills and paystubs, a whole new industry will start up. The counterfeiters who are now printing driver licenses and social security cards will start printing rent receipts, utility bills and paystubs. I imagine most of these "entrepreneurs" will be American citizens. This bill says those here less than two years just have to leave and not come back. Many of those people will simply go farther underground and be exploited and mistreated more than they are now.And while we are all discussing this problem of illegal immigrants and raiding a few factories and arresting a few workers, many more will be walking across the deserts.
They will simply be replacing the people we put on the buses heading south.Common sense says we should change the immigration laws and put more money into border protection to secure the border with Mexico. There were no immigration laws here until the 1890s when waves of Irish immigrants forced the government to write them. These laws have been constantly rewritten since then.
It is time to do it again, this time making more sensible laws that people can live with. This, along with more border protection will slow the illegal immigration to a manageable number.If we change immigration regulations so that people can legally come into this country with wait times of only a year instead of 10 or more, most people will do it legally. If the fees are only a few thousand dollars, most will pay that instead of paying smugglers and be cheated or die.
People who try to immigrate legally now, often have to wait many years and pay many thousands of dollars in fees. Even children whose parents are already here or spouses of U.S. citizens have to wait years to come in legally.
Once people apply for legal immigration, they are not allowed to come into the U.S. as a visitor until the immigration papers are finalized. This means some of these family members don't see each other for years.
If money were put into clearing up this backlog of people waiting to get in legally, we could then deal with the people here illegally. If undocumented people were convinced that they should apply for legal status and will not automatically be deported just because they register, they would do it.The overwhelming majority of them are law abiding and would prefer to be legal residents and workers, they are just here to provide good lives for their families. If people understand that they can get decent jobs with safe working conditions when they have the proper documentation and that the documents can be attained while they are here, they would do it. They would gladly pay back taxes and fines in order to get legal status.As much as many citizens are against amnesty, and we all wish it had never gotten to this point, I don't see how the immigrants who are here illegally can be sent away.
They should be allowed to stay and register and go through the criminal checks and approval process. The ones who qualify should be put on the path to become permanent residents and citizens.Over the past 20 years we have let them in, used them, enjoyed the fruits of their labors and now we have to use some common sense and be responsible.
We should change the immigration laws and secure the border so everyone who wants to come in will apply for legal status, and then we should legalize all the millions of people from all countries who are here without documents.If we make these changes and keep enforcing the "new" rules, we won't find ourselves in a similar or worse mess 10 or 20 years from now..Donna Poisl is President of Live & Thrive Press and the author of "How to Live & Thrive in the U.S. / Como Vivir y Prosperar en Estados Unidos".
She wrote this reference guide to help immigrants learn our system and succeed in this country. Contact Donna at http://www.howtoliveandthrive.com or Immigrants in USA Blog at http://immigrantsinusa.blogspot.com.
By: Donna Poisl