Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Immigration Reform

With the unrest in Syrbia and the economic difficulties of both Greece and Puerto Rico, there is a sudden surge in immigration throughout the developed world.  While the bulk of these are coming from the Middle East, the people of Puerto Rico are leaving their island and coming to the United States in larger numbers.  This has once again brought immigration back into the spotlight.  While Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, it is not a state and as such, its people should be treated the same as any other people entering this country.

Our current immigration system is broken and it has been for years.  It simply does not work and it's long past time to revise it.  "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," are the famous lines from the poem, "The New Colossus" which is engraved on a plaque and is part of the Statue of Liberty.  As a nation, we should live by these words.  Living by these words must be done in such a way to be fair to the immigrants and fair to the Americans who welcome them.  I suggest the following:

Anyone who desires to come to America for a better life must do it legally.  They should visit their local American Embassy and fill out an application.  That application will then be reviewed, mostly for past criminal activity.  If there is a history of violent crime, the application is denied.  We do not need the criminals of other countries coming here to commit their crimes.  Those are not the tired, poor, huddled masses.

This background check should be completed within two weeks.  It does not take any longer than that to run a background check and extending that period only makes illegal entry easier than legal.  Run the background check immediately and be done with it.

Once the background check is complete and assuming no violent crime has been found, the application will be approved.  Approval means a visa to live and work in the United States.  The person then has 30 days to find a place to live and register with their local government with their American address.  Once they have done this, they will be able to apply for a Social Security number and a driver's license.  

Within the first six months the person must report to the local government that they have found employment or are attending school on a full-time basis.  They must report every six months to update their information and if they move, they must immediately notify their local government office.

In order to make this fair to the American people, no public benefits will be available to anyone who has not paid taxes for a minimum of ten years.  In the event of a child born in the United States, benefits are not available until their parents have paid taxes for ten years.  This includes welfare, medical, food stamps and all other public benefits.  If the person has not been working in this country and paying taxes, they are not eligible for benefits. 

Lastly, before any public benefits are paid to any immigrant, they must be granted citizenship.  If they do not choose to become a citizen of this country, they are not eligible to receive benefits from this country.  

This is the simple plan of immigration reform that I propose.  It would be equitable for all involved, it involves a path to citizenship and it eliminates the need for illegally entering this country.  

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