Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Illegal Immigration - A Way Forward - A Follow Up

Yesterday, I posted my Monday Memo in which I talked about my vision toward dealing with those persons in the country illegally.  A person who commented on post, therealchon, had these questions:
I submit that we also, as a country, don't have the means to grant them instant citizenship (just to address the polar opposite of deportation). I'm, curious, though, about the costs inherent with conditional visas, and whether said visas allow for immigrants to collect such entitlements as welfare, SSI, low-cost lunches, WIC, etc., and what the influx of 5 to 20 million people on those rolls would do to state budgets.
Another question: What about future enforcement? It's apparent that current laws have never been adequately enforced. How do we stem the tide?
I attempted to answer his questions in my own comment response, but I felt it best to repeat them here and maybe expand them.

Instant Citizenship: I don't think my plan grants "instant citizenship".  There are steps that must be followed and then and only then can a person with an FTIC be eligible to apply for citizenship.  If it now takes seven years for an applicant to become a citizen, then so should it take seven years after a person with an FTIC to gain citizenship after applying.

School Meal Programs: To be honest, I don't think there should be any charge to any parent who has a child in school for school meal programs.  I think charging some parents and not others creates a negative stigma for the children who receive reduced price or free school meals.  In my mind, no child should ever feel guilty for eating.  Thus I think it would be unjust under my plan to discriminate against children who have Federal Temporary Identity Cards (FTIC).

Welfare, WIC and Food Stamps:  As I understand it, with welfare reform under President Clinton, welfare is limited to citizens and there is a two year life time benefit.  Honestly I think the two year life time benefit is a bit draconian and not one of President Clinton's finer moments.  I do think that the WIC program as a whole needs to be reviewed and maybe revised, but I think overall it does a lot of good.  I don't see a reason to withhold that program from someone who is a FTIC holder.  The fact that food stamps are needed at all speaks to the greater failure of our capitalistic system.  When we have soldier's families on food stamps, its a definite tragedy.

Future Enforcement / Stemming the Tide: There will always be illegal immigration as long as we are the nation of economic opportunity and dreams.  I think we need to enforce the federal laws we have on the books already.  We need to be going after employers of illegal immigrants more vigorously.  I think we also need change our foreign economic policies to stop promoting cheap labor in the countries that provide us with the most illegal immigrants.  Our own immigration policy also causes major issues.  We severely limit the number of farm labor visas.  If we were to increase those to match the need, I think that would go a long way to addressing the issue of future illegal immigration.

I didn't address "SSI" as I am not sure if therealchon meant Social Security or Social Security Disability or both.

I want to get the real discussion about illegal immigration going and not get bogged down with charges of amnesty or racism.  I want a civil debate to come up with the best solutions for those already here and what to do for those who come later.  I am hoping others will join me.

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