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Defining Immigration: Left of Center View
Immigration is very simple as a concept, you leave the country you are living in and go live in and/or become a citizen of another. The concept is simple, but the issues surrounding immigration, both political and practical, are some of the most complex on todayís political landscape. But it is an important enough issue that we can no longer afford the quick band-aid fixes that have become all too common place. This is no longer a problem that will simply go away when ignored.
Often the first step in answering a complex question is to understand the question itself. The issues have now built itself into two separate but equally difficult parts, legal and illegal immigration. Wikipedia the popular, public, on-line encyclopedia defines legal and illegal immigration as such:
Immigration is the movement of people from one nation-state to another. While human migration has existed throughout human history, immigration implies long-term permanent residence (and often eventual citizenship) by the immigrants: tourists and short-term visitors are not considered immigrants. However, seasonal labor migration (typically for periods of less than a year) is often treated as a form of immigration.
Illegal Immigration to the United States refers to the act of moving to or settling in the United States with the intent to remain indefinitely in violation of U.S. immigration and nationality law. Illegality stems from immigrants either entering the United States without authorization from the US Government, or having entered the US with authorization, but violating the terms of entry. The Immigration and Nationality Act governs immigration law. Non-citizen tourists in the country are not illegal aliens because they have the subjective intent to return to their own country. The presence in the United States plus the intent to reside there indefinitely makes the person a resident for purposes of estate taxes so that illegal aliens are subject to the estate tax on all their property in all parts of the world if they die even though they may be deported. Their property outside of the USA would be subject to the U.S. estate tax because of their factual residency.
So before we can even get to the question of the qualifications necessary to live and work in the US we must first decide who is allowed to enter the country. Obviously people who are likely to stay for an extended period of time and who are intending to find employment while in the US should not be allowed unrestricted entrance. Also on the do not enter list should be criminals, citizens of hostile nations and Cat Stevens (apparently).
Now the hard part, how do we determine who fits into the group of folks that are not allowed in. In essence we are already doing this. People with a valid passport from a nation that we are on good terms with and who have negotiated limited access for their citizens should be allowed in, just as citizens of the US expect entrance when we show up at their borders unannounced.
However, entrance into a country does not, and should not, guarantee you the same rights and privileges as the citizens of that country. Americanís traveling in Saudi Arabia donít expect to receive government checks from oil income, that is a privilege accorded only to citizens of that country. Why then do citizens from foreign nations coming to the U.S. expect the benefits of citizenship. We should offer to our guests the same services we expect when we travel abroad.
Public education, medical, dental and financial assistance should be available to all citizens of the United States. We need to offer the people who live here and who have paid for the various services through their taxes the best possible return on their investment in this country. We are under no obligation to feed, cloth, house or educate anyone other than our own citizens. Non-residents receiving services should be financially responsible for themselves and be asked to reimburse the government accordingly.
Persons coming to reside and work in the U.S. should have secured employment prior to entering the country. Employers, not the taxpayers are then financially responsible for the public services used by their employees. State, local and Federal taxes would be collected from the guest worker for the entirety of their stay. Employers found in violation of this policy should be fined on a plateau equal to twice the cost of having followed the stipulations. It should no longer be a profitable practice for U.S. companies not to hire U.S. citizens.
English should be the official language of the United States, and as such all of the citizenship process, verbal, written or otherwise, should be offered only in English.
Foreign nationals who serve in the United States armed forces should be granted probational citizenship during then term of service and be granted full citizenship upon honorable discharge after no less than of two years of service.
Persons married to U.S. citizens should be granted legal residency. Children born on U.S. soil would become citizens only if at least one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of birth.
Aside from these minor changes, the process of becoming a citizen should remain relatively the same. We have the proper safeguards in place, we just need to enforce them.
The question of what to do with people working and living in the U.S. illegally as well as the punishments for the employers who exploit them are, and should be treated as significant but separate issues, as should international trade restrictions and outsourcing. There are hundreds of offshoot issues that are all part of the whole, and in the coming weeks and months all must be debated and answered. But before we can do that , before we can hope to find the answers that thus far have been alluding us, we must first understand the questions.
Kyle Pesonen - Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this column.
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:Read More
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.Read More