“Mother, May I?” – Immigration Reform
We continue in America to argue over the immigration situation – neither side willing to give ground to find some way to solve the issue, or even move forward in attempting to solve the issue. So, time for some thinking outside the box somewhat. Here’s my thinking on the issue of immigration reform.
First of all let’s consider the principle of freedom. Freedom infers that each person has the right to take actions as they choose that are not, in any way, harmful or violent to another individual. Carry that thought a step farther it would also not be harmful or violent towards society as a whole.
Using that thought of freedom then one could ask “why control immigration?” If the basic truth of freedom is that we each follow the path of our choosing, without harming others, then there is no need for any immigration control. To control immigration is to impose a restriction of freedom upon individuals. Yet, our national society believes in controlling those who enter the nation for the sake of the security of the nation, regardless of the loss of freedom to individuals.
So, for the purpose of this discussion, we will acknowledge that the nation requires control over immigration into the United States of America. With that said I propose that we change the immigration laws and allow anyone not acting in a true criminal manner (I’ll explain that momentarily) to legally enter the country for whatever reason they desire to come to the USA for. All the person does is show up at a legal entry point to the country and after passing a background check (similar to an insta-check for buying a firearm) they are issued a visitors identity card (green card) and allowed not only to be here but to be productive in society.
They could work and would be subject to taxes, and would be required to file tax returns just like everyone else. They would openly and freely participate in society. The only aspect they would not receive is to be a citizen unless or until they meet all necessary requirements for citizenship. Citizenship implies that one then has the right to participate in the selection of those governing the nation, whether that is at a local, state or the national level. Citizenship has been determined by the national society to be a privilege that may only be gained by meeting established requirements.
One of the many complaints in the immigration debate is the fate of the immigrants who enter the country illegally. There are many reasons that individuals seek to be within the country. One of those reasons is to take advantage of improving their economic situation through better wage earnings. These individuals are restricted in their job opportunities by a lack of proper documentation. This lack of documentation allows these individuals to be exploited by unscrupulous employers. The workers are in the shadow of the workforce, earning less and suffering the inequities of lesser protections than legal workers. If we bring these people out of the shadows by legalizing their existence in the nation we will do away with the draw for businesses to employ illegal immigrants, even though that may increase our costs for goods and services somewhat.
Now we should consider the insta-check of the person’s background. Anyone requesting entry that has felony level criminal histories would be denied entry at the border point and sent back across the border. Keep in mind that a prior history of illegally entering the USA would not generally be considered a reason for denying entry. The insta-check system could be conducted by a simple fingerprint scan of the individual requesting entry. A system utilizing fingerprints would negate the attempts to provide fraudulent documentation to establish the identity under which to conduct the insta-check. However, in order to make an insta-check system viable all state fingerprint records would require nationalization to insure that a criminal record from a state was not missed in determining the status of any individual requesting entry into the country. Simply put, this would mean the loss of some freedom to reform a broken system currently in use to control immigration into the nation. Others would be denied entry at the border if they were found to be dangerous to national security (terrorists for instance), or were attempting to smuggle prohibited goods/items (drugs for example) in at that time, or were attempting to smuggle in an individual who was prohibited from entering.
But what about those who enter the nation and then commit crimes against society? Anyone allowed entry would, upon being convicted of a felony-level offense by any state or the federal government be immediately deported upon conviction and would be denied future entry into the country for the term of their sentence. In other words say a person received a five year prison or probation sentence – then five years must pass before they would be allowed entry. If that person is caught inside the country during the prohibition period then they serve the remainder of their sentence in custody before being freed. One would hope the idea of five years of freedom would outweigh guaranteed imprisonment while waiting to be able to legally enter the country again? Periods of time being “served” for any criminal convictions would not count towards requirement periods to gain citizenship.
This is the outside the box thinking that I’ve reached at the moment. I believe it would be a better good for the nation as well as all individuals in the nation. There would be very little to no “illegal” immigration under this idea. Such a system would work to the advantage of society, a win-win for us all under our current political and government structures in America, especially since we are going to deny freedom by not having open borders.