Immigration Reform – Solutions to the Question of Illegal Immigration.

With all the recent talk about Immigration reform and DACA Protection, I decided to make a bulletin list about what I would like to see in Immigration Reform.

  1. Protection for DACA Recipients and Path to Citizenship – This point is not a hard point to argue. DACA recipients are shown to be contributing members of society. Most of them fit our image of a model immigrant, and since they are raised here, they are already integrated in American culture. Since they were brought as kids, it doesn’t feel just to hold the actions of their parents against them.
  2. Protection for DACA Recipient’s Families – This is a more controversial stance, but after extensively listening to the stories of DACA recipients, the fear of deportation can cause stress on the family, which effects academic and professional performance, which is not in the good of society. There is also a moral/social argument to make about the importance of family to the fabric of American culture, and the fact that majority of the DACA families are hardworking families that are – once again – fit our idea of a model immigrant.
  3. Overhaul of the immigration System – I would overall like to see easier immigration for these people in general – these families are the sort of families we want in America. Hardworking, economic contributors. While some people are brought up concerns about the amount of money sent across the border, I think these concerns would be alleviated if it was easier to bring whole families on over. While many people raise the spectator of these immigrants overwhelming American culture, a quick survey of our social history shows that these concerns have been projected to every group that has come to America – with the concern directed ethnic conclaves that were formed in New York during the Golden Age of Ellis Island Immigration model, as shown with the newspaper editorial and political cartoons. (The anti-Catholic cartoons are both particularly cringe-worthy and enlightening.) However, while we can get in the weeds about particular requirements, and a balance between openness and security, I have several suggestion that should not impact our national security.

3a. Increased Funding for Our Immigration System and Courts – From the married couples I have talked to about their spouse’s Immigration process (the reason I highlighted this particular case is because it is often considered one of the easier path to immigration) is that the process can take months to years. One couple was two years in and her husband was still in the process of immigrating. While the strict security concerns is one reason, the biggest reason is funding. It is a fact that our immigration offices are overwhelmed with the amount of requests. There is a need for sheer increase of manpower to process these requests in a speedy manner. Along with the offices, the courts that need to approve are also overbooked (a side effect of our overwhelmed court system). There is a need to approve more courts, and to fully staff them to allow for both speedy and fair cases. Not only will these courts need judges, but there is a need to help increase public availability to lawyers for the those who are involved in court cases. (While the Constitution only guarantees access to a lawyer in criminal cases, I believe there is an argument to be made for helping to provide lawyers in civil cases for destitute defendants, especially in the growth of our civil laws and civil penalties.)

4a. Transparency in the Process – One of the biggest complaints I have heard about the process besides the time it takes is its lack of transparency. Many people involved do not feel certain about where their case currently is, who is all involved in their case, or even why they were rejected. If we want to restore faith in our immigration process, we need transparency on all these fronts. Not only would allow the participants to have greater faith, but it would allow for easier scrutiny from outside groups. Allowing for others to understand why some people were rejected, and to challenge ruling that may seem like mistakes, it would help hold our immigration system to better standard that will also satisfy the critics.

4b. An upgrade system for those who are already in the visa system. Instead of starting from ground zero when applying for a permanent citizenship, the research into them as part of the visa, along with their actions in the country during their visa stay. This would also mean allowing greater ease for applying in the country and working through the embassy system. I believe that this would allow for the protection of TPS recipients who have been here long enough to build new lives.

  1. No Merit Based Immigration – I am going to argue against this in a position I don’t usually find myself – the Libertarian economic position. Mostly that this system – as we have seen in Canada – doesn’t actually do the job of filling necessary roles in our economy. By trying to predict what the market needs by adding weight to certain skills – such as medical expertise – a glut can be formed in the market while other economic sectors starve for talent. This predictive measure of the government will interference in a negative way with our economy especially with the challenge of accurately predicting economic changes. One of the biggest areas for skilled immigrants is the tech sector – while it may seem obvious now, who would’ve seen this tech boom in the early nineties? Not many of us, especially in the government. Given how the government in general has a reputation for being slow to react, I don’t think this system would be flexible enough to adjust to market demands as quickly as our current system does.
  2. Being able to Offer Legibility to Immigrant as Part of a Criminal Investigation – One of the problems with illegal immigration is the how tied it is to the drug trade, most notoriously with MS13. With the recent crackdown of illegal immigration there have been reports of the members joking about what a boon it is to them. That is because it gives them additional leverage to threaten the illegal communities and prevent them from calling the police. With these fear, it gives the gang a protective level of secrecy in which to act as well as ensuring these populations have no one else to turn to with their grievances. So, if we want to get these gang members, which means removing this fear. Which means pledging to not investigate the immigration status of those who call the cops in order to report crime in their neighborhood. Remove that particular fear, and you remove another layer of protection for these gangs to operate under. I propose to take to this one step further from that – to offer preferential immigration consideration to thus willing to observe, record, and witness on these gangs. Because the threat of deportation is not the only threat they have on the table – more immediate physical harm is also on the table. I believe the offer of a legal status would be enough a carrot for many immigrants to risk the wrath of the gangs. (I have recently learned of the existence of two visas meant to help immigrants who are witnesses to criminal activity. So, while they do exist, we need better publicity about their existence and to make it easier for police to offer these visas along with police protection).
  3. With Increased Ease to Immigration, Greater Border Security – This is the stick with the carrot when it comes to forming a solution to problem of illegal immigration. This increase in border security will probably have to partner with a greater transparency in the actions and practices of ICE. (This should come as no surprise with the greater demands of transparency in our regular police force). But, with the ease for allowing more sympathetic cases to legally immigrant to the United States, there would be greater chance of a bipartisan support for strengthening border security. Let’s be honest, there are bad actors also crossing the border, especially given control the drug cartels hold in Norther Mexico. ICE can be an important tool to help.
  4. A Big Stick to Use Against Business – While we often focus on the individual illegal immigrants in these debates, we often forget that there needs to be jobs in order for there be an incentive to come over illegally. While there are penalties in place for business that hire illegal workers, must of it is a slap in the wrist, especially with there being no requirement for to check workers immigration status. Some cases of chronic offenders have become so blatant, it has led to accusations of them purposefully hiring illegal immigrants over American workers. While, this may sound nice, usually it’s because they are easier to exploit. Poor work conditions, below minimum wages, and other exploitative practices are common when a population has no recourse due to the threat of deportation. So, harsher penalties, and legal requirement of checking of legal immigration status would help in curtailing this problem – along with the recommendations from criminal witness protection above.
  5. No Border Wall – Do I have to explain this stance? If think this is a good idea, please apply one iota of imagination to how you would get across and you can see the problem.
  6. Support Development Programs – If you have strong feelings about illegal immigration, one of the actions you can take is to support development programs to improve education, economics and quality of life in Mexico. Many of those who choose to risk coming to the United States often come from areas with few education options or options for economic advancement. So, if you want to reduce the allure of coming over, help make Mexico a place that all can thrive in.Well, that’s the end of my long (but not comprehensive list). I’ll add and edit as I see fit as more discussion happens and more ideas are proposed.
  7. Update on further developments. Separating children from parents is unduly punishing. While it may have to be necessary for safety of the children, heavy and consistent documentation will be needed, so that the parents and children can not be lost in the system. Also, there needs to a helpline to report abuses in the system, both for the protection of the parents and the children, since both are in a vulnerable position. However, best case is no separation, and no detention, using the case management program practiced in the past.
  8. Belonging to Gangs – while those who are found guilty of a violent crime are a different matter, the mere suspicion of being part of a gang is too vague to be used for deportation. Especially since it’s a state that seems to be defined by very little actual action, judging by who they might be seen talking to or they way they are dressed. I think we can agree that actual crimes should be considered when deciding deportation due to criminal activity, nothing so nebulous.
  9. The dropping of immigrants enrolled in the military is suspicious due to the lack of explanation on their discharges, especially considering the unduly heavy burden it places on the immigrants who were involved int he process.  They have taken an oath of service which complicates returning home, especially those in authoritative governments or those whose government is at odds with the United States.
  10. In regards to the news of the the current administration wanting to adopt a policy to add use of government social support programs to reasons for rejection seems mean-spirited and short-sighted. A person who has recently moved to the United States is likely to need additional support at the beginning even if they are able to get a job and adapt quickly. This doesn’t account for those who have been long-term residents, experiencing ups and downs. A person should not have the time they needed help automatically held against them, especially if they are short or non-frequent. I’m also not sure how this will impact those who came in as refugees who wish to become American citizens. If it does, it’s just punishing people for circumstances beyond their control.