On Immigration Reform, can we stipulate four starting points? (1) The borders must be secured. (2) There is no way we are going to send any significant number of illegal immigrants back to their country of origin. (3) We must bring all the illegals out from the shadows. (4) Employers want and need cheap labor.
[Editor: Rick Grice served in Gov. Bill Owens' cabinet and now works in international business. He proposed this outline after attending Centennial Institute's debate on "Immigration: Which Way America?", Jan. 12 in Lakewood.]
If so, here is what a comprehensive plan might entail:
(1) Build the wall and/or use the best available technology to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the country. With what are the most dangerous cities in the world (and that's saying a lot) within a literal stone's throw of our citizens, is it really racist or insensitive of us to want to keep that violence on the other side of the border?
(2) Establish a guest worker program that allows workers to come into the country for a period not to exceed x days. After they have been here for the prescribed time they must return to their country of origin for at least x days.
a. These people don’t pay SS or income tax.
b. If they get sick they have to go home unless their employer provides them with healthcare.
c. Workplace injuries are covered under workers’ comp which their employers must cover.
d. They cannot bring their families with them.
e. Guest workers can certainly apply for legal immigration but only under the same rules as others seeking to come in.
(3) Employers are required to insure that they are not hiring anyone who is here illegally. Stiff sanctions will be applied to those employers who disregard the law. Employers can incur stiff penalties for abusing or exploiting guest workers.
(4) Give all illegal immigrants x days (180 to start the discussion) to come forward and identify themselves. This period is not so much for the benefit of the workers but to allow the bureaucracy to ramp up to handle them.
a. Those who do not come in after the prescribed period will be subject to deportation (under due process) and they will never be allowed to enter the US again, except, possibly, under the Guest worker program.
b. Those who do come forward will be given temporary special visas so long as they maintain contact with ICE.
i. With some exceptions, they will never be eligible for citizenship but will be allowed to apply for a green card and all that implies except for citizenship eligibility (call this a Worker’s Green Card – WGC). With the WGC they can live here, prosper here, start businesses here, whatever, they just can’t be citizens.
ii. The exception is that if they chose to enter the military, they would be allowed to apply for citizenship.
iii. A WGC can be revoked (or never issued) for a number of reasons including a felony conviction and failure to comply with the provisions of the law including not having come forward during the 180 days.
iv. Children born in the US to parents who obtained a WGC will be eligible for citizenship under strict guidelines no more favorable than those applied to others who are applying for citizenship the old-fashioned way.
(5) Employers must subject all current and prospective employees to e-verify or some other form of acceptable checking system that insures that the people they hire are complying with the above. Employers who are found to be employing illegals will be subject to heavy fines.