Immigration is one of the most controversial topics I can discuss, next to maybe religion, abortion, and gender preferences. Still, as an Arizonan who spent 14 years of my life working for the Legislature and various Governors in differing capacities and several years as a lobbyist, it is hard not to comment on the recent decision on HB 1070 by the Supreme Court.
I am not going to rehash any of the legal issues. I think people are overwhelmed with tenth amendment states’ rights, state sovereignty, federal pre-emption and federal inaction on enforcement. Instead, I hope to provide just my own personal view on what we should do with immigration.
First – Some Facts As I Was Able to Research Them:
675,000 legal permanent residents (LPRs) are allowed into the United States each year, with a backlog of about 5 million. However, in addition to that number admitted, you can have 480,000 family sponsored preference immigrants; 140,000 employment-based immigrants, and 55,000 refugees or political asylum people that do NOT count against the 675,000. This means about 1.3 million can come here legally per year as residents. That also does not include any work programs or student visas.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) established per-country levels at 7% of the worldwide level. For a dependent foreign state, the per-country ceiling is 2%. The per-country level is not a “quota” set aside for individual countries, as each country in the world, of course, could not receive 7% of the overall limit. As the State Department describes, the per-country level “is not an entitlement but a barrier against monopolization.
Currently in the United States there are an estimated 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens (people not here under any recognized US program). Many are from Mexico, but border apprehensions include up to 10% non-Mexican nationals, predominantly from Central and South America, but also from all over the world. Port authorities more frequently apprehend illegal entrants from Pacific Rim countries.
My classifications of Immigrants – Both Legal and Illegal
I think there are three types of immigrants:
1) Those who want to become Americans;
2) Those who don’t want to become Americans, but who want to live and work here for the opportunities;
3) People coming here to commit crimes or terrorism.
If I had to guess percentages, I would say 70% number 1, 28% number 2, and 1 to 2% number 3.
A) Control all entry points to the United States completely, so we know every single person who is here.
B) Hunt down all those expired student visa folks. All the 9-1-1 perpetrators were expired student visas to my remembrance.
C) Let EVERYONE in that fits categories 1 and 2.
D) EVERYONE in category 1 and 2 that is here, has to come forward and sign up and let us know who they are.
E) If you do not want to be a citizen, you have to have papers and cannot stay if out of work for more than six months.
F) Know everyone who is here and who enters, so we can weed out the Number 3 folks.
G) New immigrants need to learn English and become part of the melting pot, adding their flavor and culture to all the others, not living apart.
I am a conservative and wrestle with the fact that people came here illegally while others waited in line. At the same time I am a human and know if I lived in a crappy place I would be very tempted to move my family to America for freedom. I have never had a problem with honest hard working immigrants. My family is Irish, we were hated. My family moved to California during the Great Depression/Dust Bowl and were viewed as vagrants and scum.
As a teenager, I waited on illegal farm workers in California’s San Jauquin Valley who had to carry their whole life savings with them because they could not open a bank account. They were very nice and polite, but locals would try to rob them. As a kid, I worked next to them picking fruit and vegetables because I was poor.
It is sounds easy to say, let’s find and deport up to 20 million people, but I no longer believe that is feasible. My hero Ronald Reagan gave amnesty to over 2 million illegals. I have questioned that decision to this very day, but now I understand.
Remember, all of this is contingent on strictly keeping out that 1 to 2% of criminals. We have to have a process like the old Ellis Island system, to screen folks, then let them in.