Opinion

How To Fix Our Broken Immigration System… Permanently

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

D.B. Ganz Author, Uncommon Sense

Number 1: DON’T build a security fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. It would likely cost hundreds of billions if not trillions and take years to complete. And walls don’t work. Ask Israel. Despite being well armed and technically advanced, they cannot stop Hamas terrorists in Gaza from tunneling under the few miles of border they share. With billions to be made from smuggling drugs and illegals, the many tunnels under the 2,000 mile wall would quickly turn our very expensive barrier into a very sad joke.

Number 2: DON’T expel the illegal immigrants that are here already. Many U.S. businesses would close without the affordable labor illegals currently provide. For this reason, the U.S. government has had a decades-long policy of looking the other way on illegal immigration. It is therefore unethical to now expel them. Finally, people cannot be deported without a hearing before an immigration judge. There are around 250 of these judges, and the wait for a court appearance is now two years. Depositing 11 million people into the system will choke it.

Instead: There should be a one-time grace period of three to six months for all illegal immigrants to register, be fingerprinted, and given partial citizenship. Once the deadline passes, all unregistered illegals, regardless of when they arrived, would be required to leave the country, and significant penalties would be legislated and enforced for hiring an illegal immigrant, even for just one day. The first offense should perhaps earn an automatic 30 day jail sentence plus a fine, and both penalties would increase dramatically for repeat offenders.

Those who were granted partial citizenship would then be subjected to a trial period of 10 years. If, during this interval years they commit a felony crime, they would be deported immediately. After the ten years, they would become U.S. citizens with full rights and privileges. (Tangentially — I would require all illegal immigrants to pass a rigorous English language competency test in order to be eligible for citizenship.)

How would these people support themselves during the 10 year period? In order to avoid economic disruption, individuals and businesses that currently employ illegals should be allowed to continue to do so. This exemption should include all future work in jobs that are now overwhelmingly held by illegals – even for new businesses.

The illegals will not be eligible for any entitlements, and so, there will be no paycheck deductions for items such as Social Security and unemployment insurance. All immigrants would therefore be taxed at a flat rate on all earnings – perhaps at around 20 percent. They would have the right to unionize, but their employers would have the right to hire non-union help.

The government should compile a list of items used by the public of which 95 percent or more are now imported. Then, for the domestic manufacture of those products, the illegals could be hired for whatever they would be willing to work for. The 20 percent tax would be levied on everyone’s profit, employer and employee alike, but there would be no other taxation, not even real estate tax on the building housing the factory.

Cheaply producing these items domestically would greatly benefit the U.S. economy, as much of the long dormant manufacturing sector would spring back to life. The new products would compete with imported versions of the same and prevent billions and trillions from flowing to unfriendly destinations like China. The illegals would also be free to start businesses of their own which would be subject to the rules that govern all other U.S. businesses.

To protect the U.S.’s medical system from being overwhelmed by requests for free treatment, the illegals will be required to maintain minimal private sector medical and ER insurance coverage. It would be affordable, especially for younger people. But failure to do so would result in expulsion.

The children of the immigrants would be welcomed at public schools, where all instruction would be in English. However, they would only be entitled to free instruction in basic subjects – reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic — but not the expensive electives.

This one-time solution to the present problem of U.S. illegal immigrants will not create a national financial burden because the immigrants will be working, paying taxes, and not receiving entitlements. Going forward from this point, immigrants will have far less motivation to run the border because they will not be able to find work or be given entitlements, and if they are caught, they would be deported without the chance of future citizenship.

This policy would protect our borders without the need for a massive military deployment or the prohibitive, obscene cost of building an ineffective, abhorrent security fence.