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American Borders Forum (Week of 5/27/07)

What should American immigration and border policies be? Submit your ideas to The American Borders Forum today.

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A Plan

The one major thing that seems to be lacking in the immigration debate is a real plan that addresses the legitimate concerns with illegal immigration. There are strong opinions on both sides and a lot of rhetoric but there isnít really any solid plan being promoted to address the illegal immigration issue in a way that is both fair and logical.

So, that being said here is my idea:

The first step is to acknowledge that we cannot deport several million people and that we should accept that it makes more sense to have them here legally than illegally. They are going to be here and it makes sense that we find a way to coexist while not simply giving them a pass for breaking the law.

To that end I would say that we should not offer amnesty so much as a path to legitimacy for the people who did break the law to get here but are contributing to the economy and diversity of America. We need to set strict guidelines for earning first legal resident alien status and then possibly citizenship. I would suggest those guidelines be these:

For legal residency status:

1: Basic proficiency in English tested at 5th grade level being required. (Applicants would have 12 months from the time of application for residency to pass language skills test.)

2: Proof of presence in United States prior to January 1st 2003. (Mail, bills, anything that can legitimately place them here that is date specific.)

3: Clean criminal record in U.S. and country of origin.

4: Any owed back taxes to be paid on an installment plan. (With a $5,000 fine being incorporated into those payments to defray administrative costs for the processing of the back taxes. If the person paid taxes under a false social security number, only the fine would apply and no charges for tax fraud or fraudulent use of a social security number would be filed.)

5: Gainful employment being established during time in U.S. (Employers would be given amnesty to vouch for the employment of the undocumented workers up to January 1st 2008.)

For citizenship after five years of legal residency status:

1: Evidence of community or military service in an amount of no less than 2000 hours, which is the equivalent of one year of full time employment, during their time as a legal resident.

2: English proficiency at a 12th grade level.

3: Clean criminal record with the exception of minor moving violations during their time as a legal resident alien.

4: Ability to pass a GED examination in English.

5: No missed payments on back-tax installment plan or fine for use of false documents paid in full.

6: Continued gainful employment with no utilization of government general assistance programs other than unemployment insurance if laid off from a job.

7: Signed pledge to work with immigration department to facilitate transition of other immigrants in their community from undocumented to legal status and to expose employers and others who are exploiting the people who are undocumented.

Once this program is in place, the Border Patrol should be given more effective methods to limit the flow of undocumented people across the border such as high tech devices to detect movement under the earth to find tunnels under the border and satellite surveillance of the entire border.

A new immigration system would need to be established that would match employers with employees and contain guarantees that American citizens got first priority and that only when there were no qualified Americans to fill the positions would they be offered to guest workers. Also the immigration laws should be amended to provide for citizenship by birth only if one parent was a legal citizen of the United States at the time of the childís birth. Otherwise, the child should be a citizen of the country of origin of their parents.

In addition to these changes, the marriage rules should be changed to require five years of resident alien status for newly married petitioners for citizenship based on marriage to an American to eliminate marriages of convenience for citizenship. This would help stem the tide of illegal and barely legal immigrants to the U.S. so that we can welcome those who want to contribute to our nation with open arms and few, if any, reservations.

Exploitation of illegal immigrants must also be addressed to solve the problem. Employers who exploit workers should be given mandatory minimum 15 year prison sentences for hiring undocumented workers if caught doing so knowingly once the legal path to residency is established. Employers found running sweat shops should be given mandatory minimum 25 year prison sentences and charged with human rights violations in addition to violating immigration laws. The sentences should be harsh enough that employers will fear the consequences of being caught. No fine substitution should be allowed for employers who violate these laws and judicial discretion should be limited to cases where employer knowledge of undocumented status can be disputed with evidence of forged documents used to obtain employment.

This program would likely meet with resistance on all sides but it is fair and does address the issue without acquiescing to either side completely. The solution to the illegal immigration problem will only come through compromise and logic. Emotional responses on either side of the debate will not accomplish real reform. That will take hard work and harder choices.

Unlike the current bill in Congress my plan would not include anything to simply give a pass to any illegal immigrants because, like the Reagan mistake of the 80's, it will send the wrong message that if you break our laws and hide out long enough, you will get away with it. I would amend Section 3291 of Title 18 to remove the statute of limitations for border violation and replace it with comprehensive conditions for exceptions to immigration laws for productive members of society.


`No person shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for a violation of any section of chapters 69 (relating to nationality and citizenship offenses), 75 (relating to passport, visa, and immigration offenses), or for a violation of any criminal provision under section 243, 266, 274, 275, 276, 277, or 278 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1253, 1306, 1324, 1325, 1326, 1327, and 1328), or for an attempt or conspiracy to violate any such section, unless the indictment is returned or the information filed not later than 10 years after the commission of the offense.'.

This type of free pass is the problem. It offers nothing to actually stem the flow of illegal immigrants nor will it do anything to address the issue of future illegal immigration. We have to set standards and adhere to them.

American citizenship for immigrants is a privelege, not a right. It should be earned and those who would earn it should have something to offer that results in the betterment of our nation. We need to protect American jobs, promote immigration that benefits the nation as a whole, reduce language barriers and improve the living conditions of the most impoverished Americans before trying to save the citizens of other nations. We are a nation of immigrants but we need to also be a nation of logic, reason and laws that are more than symbolic.
Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this article.

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Trucking Cross Borders

This is mainly a concern for the trucking business. If we allow these people to come into our country, bringing cargo that we in America have, and can supply, then we are saying that the American working people are not needed, and have lost all say to legally enforced DOT (Department of Transportation) laws. It is well known that most Canadian trucks will speed, drive in wrong lanes, and pass illegally on both lanes, disrespect other truck drivers; as far as parking spaces, courtesy at the pumps, and radio conversations in languages other than English; laughing and bad mouthing our Goverment. They know they can get away with violating these rules and American courtesies, and are laughing at our goverment for allowing this freedom.

Our DOT won't stop them or correct them because of legallities of Canada/American guidelines, and processing too complicated to try to enforce our rules. OUR GOVERNMENT IS NOT LISTENING TO THIS! We now are allowing Mexico to cross the borders to again, take more freight from the American drivers. We are allowing people in our country who can't speak a lick of English, can they read road signs? They have as little as 2 weeks of truck driving training, and are put on our roads to potentially harm those in traffic, as well as themselves. What else do you believe they are bringing into this country, that may be illegal besides a few Mexicans hidden in trucks, to drugs. It is known that Mexico has housed Russian troops and has 2 or more bases placed there. Are we going to allow them to eventually bring their troops into our country to control and or take over the American democracy, replacing this by slowing instilling totalitarianism?

Our Government will say border crossing is controlled, and the trucks are only allowed to bring certain goods and follow a straight path back home.....yeah right! If anyone believes that they are not living on the same planet as we are. It is already known that we have Can-Mex Trucks running through our countries. That means that Canada and Mexico have built alliances and are trucking from Canada to Mexico and back, and taking freight jobs away from our United States companies. It is also known that most of the Canadian population, is now from Iraq, Iran, India. We are concerned for terriorist? Well, lets let them come on over through trucks of freight, legally allowed by the U.S. Government, and then wonder how they ever got into our country. It is known, and if you refer to your Bible, that our world will be run by multiple "Antichrists", who will, in fact, take over the U.S. Government.

There are so many signs that we, as Americans are not seeing. The coming to the end of the earth, as we know it, will soon be upon us. God has been removed from every item, token, and phrase, because of these followers of the Antichrist. God is warning us, and we can change history if we just listen. Our Government needs to listen, not worrying if they will go down in history as someone who made a mark in history, as the good guy. Where do we go? Who can literally shake the dickens out of our politicians to see they are being blindsided. That they are not protecting our Country, they are weakening it. We have more starving individuals in the U.S. than some of the small countries, our government feels we need to send money and goods to. Keep the money, and goods here and help our people. Make those that have become citizens of the U.S. to speak English, and practice their religions quietly. Allow Americans to fly their flags proudly, and bear witness to God, not persecuted for placing Jesus in a nativity scene. Admit that the U.S. can not help these countries that have fought against themselves for centuries. Why sacrifice our U.S. soldiers for what will never be truly accomplished and save our men and women for the priviledge of serving and protecting the United States as they have taken an oath for.

If our senators, and house of representatives are not truly representing their states then send them back to the state to review the needs, talk with the people, not just the delegations. Let these people make a wage, and merit raises as per the effect of their work. Make them pay Social Security, they recieve it. Stop the pension when they retire. Allow them a wage, as we would recieve as an American upon retirement, not milk our country of thousands of dollars that could be used to make our schools stronger, and our freight cheaper, and don't forget the gas wars. How can we expect the American to work to build our country, making U.S. products to be sold in the U.S., if they can't afford to drive to work. How can our trucking industry survive these high fuel costs? To transport our american made products to several states, and make a living, with these prices, they can't succeed. Is this what our government is trying to do, make us look like failures, so they bring in other countries to "save" the Americans from starving, etc? Come on guys wake up our representatives, shake the government, and praise God that he will guide and protect us if we ask and praise him to make this country the best American Made country in the world. Keep the jobs in the states, the products, the fuel. We can do it by supporting the finances to allow this to happen, not send it to the countries who might help us if we pay them high prices for their products. Close imports and exports. Close our borders, and get the United States of America back on the map, as a working, supporting, and self sufficient county. Get our shops who have closed and moved to Mexico to come back; or don't allow import of their products for sale here. Show the other countries we don't need them, and don't need to support them.

What do you think?? Quite windy when I am prompted by a husband and son who are truck drivers, owning a small family business, who are struggling. By our neighbors and friends who are farmers, who can't afford the feed for their cattle or the seed for their us Mr. President and all who work for US!

Respectfully submitted

Donna L. Fenslau (retired R.N./disability)
(due to the courts who favor Workman's Comp. vs the individual who deserves it)
Donna Fenslau | Reader Submission E-mail Comments on this article.

Additional Information on Previous Article

What Does the Law Say?

Immigration Regulations

Immigration regulations at 8 CFR 214.2(b)(4) codify the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with respect to the admission of Canadian and Mexican citizens as B-1 business visitors. The intent of the Transportation Operator provision of the NAFTA Business Visitor category is to allow the free movement of goods across the border, an activity that is international in scope; it is not to facilitate access to the domestic labor market. 8 CFR 214.2(b)(4)(i)(E) defines the distribution activity as:

Transportation operators transporting goods or passengers to the United States from the territory of another Party or loading and transporting goods or passengers from the United States to the territory of another Party, with no unloading in the United States. (These operators may make deliveries in the United States if all goods or passengers to be delivered were loaded in the territory of another Party. Furthermore, they may load from locations in the United States if all goods or passengers to be loaded will be delivered in the territory of another Party. Purely domestic service or solicitation, in competition with United States operators, is not permitted.)

General Principles

The goods must be entering or leaving the United States, and remain in the stream of international commerce.
Cargo that has its origin and final destination within the United States generally moves in the stream of domestic, rather that international commerce. The mere fact that goods originate from a foreign source does not make such goods "foreign" for purposes of immigration laws. The goods must remain in the international stream of commerce - once they have come to rest they assume a domestic character.
A driver bringing goods from Canada or Mexico may transport those goods to one or several locations in the United States, and may pick up goods from one or several U.S. locations for delivery to Canada or Mexico, but the driver may not load, haul, or deliver a cargo that is both picked up and dropped off at a destination within the United States.
The entry of the driver must be for the purpose of an international movement of goods.
Drivers may not engage in any activity that qualifies as local labor for hire. The burden of proof remains with the driver to establish eligibility for entry.

Frequently asked Questions

Q. A Canadian driver is taking a shipment from Canada for delivery to a point in the United States. The dispatcher has been notified of a shipment destined to Canada that is located in another state. May the driver take an empty trailer (deadhead) from the delivery point to the other state to pick up the shipment and deliver it to Canada?
A. A driver may deadhead a trailer from one location to another within the United States PROVIDED the deadhead trailer is either the one the driver came in with or the one he or she is departing with. The driver may not haul an empty trailer from one location to drop it off at another location.

Q. Under what circumstances may a driver enter with an empty tractor?
A. 1) A driver may enter with an empty tractor to pick up a trailer for delivery to Canada or Mexico.
A. 2) The driver may enter with an empty tractor to pick up a loaded trailer or goods previously brought from Canada or Mexico and left at the port-of-entry or a Customs warehouse or lot for government inspection or entry processing by a government agency, even if the driver did not bring the goods. (Note - this only applies when the goods have been held for Federal inspection by a government agency. It does not apply to goods that have already cleared inspection.)

Q. Does the driver have to depart with the same trailer with which he or she entered the United States?
A. The driver may drop a trailer at one location and drive empty to another location to pick up a loaded trailer destined to Canada or Mexico.

Q. May a foreign driver taking a shipment from the United States to Canada also take merchandise destined to another point in the United States since it is on the way?
A. No. For Immigration purposes, that is considered point-to-point hauling within the United States and is not permitted. The driver may only take goods loaded in the United States to Canada or Mexico.

Q. May a driver perform associated functions such as loading and unloading cargo?
A. The driver may perform a function that is a necessary incident to international trade. Loading and unloading that is merely incidental to the primary purpose of transporting goods into or out of the United States is permitted.

Q. May a U. S. carrier employ foreign drivers?
A. A United States carrier may employ a foreign driver if the driver is engaged only in the international delivery of goods and cargo to or from the United States. The foreign driver must have an established foreign residence that he or she does not intend to abandon. The foreign driver may not engage in any domestic carriage of goods without employment authorization to work in the U.S.

Source: U.S. Customs and Border Patrol website:

Note: According to Canadian census numbers from 2001 less than 500,000 of the approximately 30,000,000 people in Canada were of Middle Eastern origin.

As of the time of posting of this article, Reform America could not confirm or refute the asserions of this article regarding Canadian trucker moving violations or the training levels of Mexican drivers.

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