The sight of thousands of children from Central America sitting in camps at the U.S. border should knock some sense into those members of Congress who are dragging their feet on comprehensive immigration reform. Overall, illegal border crossings are at their lowest level in many years (see chart below). Now is the time to get things straightened out before the illegal traffic starts building up again. When the New York Times, “The Border Crisis,” and the Wall Street Journal, “A Better Border Solution,” agree on an issue, I tend to agree with them. Both newspapers say that the current crisis is the result of illegal immigrants in the U.S. trying to rescue their children from deplorable conditions back home. If they had legal status they would go home themselves and bring their children back to the U.S. but they can’t risk doing this without a visa.
As I pointed out in a recent blog, “Immigration Reform Will Benefit Nebraska,” it shouldn’t be that hard to achieve a comprehensive solution as follows:
All businesses would compile a list of their current employees who are illegal. Everyone on this list, without a criminal record, would receive a guest worker visa as of a certain date. Visas would be transferable from one employer to another.
Companies would be authorized to hire additional foreign workers in their home countries who would then receive a guest worker visa to enter the U.S.
Once the system was set up and operational, all businesses would be required to periodically demonstrate the legal status of all workers.
Guest workers would be eligible to apply for citizenship after a relatively lengthy period of time.
America needs immigrant labor to do the hard low skilled physical work such as in agriculture, meatpacking, and construction, which most Americans don’t want to do. An adequate guest worker system would virtually eliminate illegal immigration, thereby solving a huge current law enforcement problem. It would also give the U.S. economy a big boost by providing all businesses with an adequate source of labor.
We have got to get beyond our hang-up about amnesty to solve this incredibly serious problem!
Today’s Omaha World Herald has an excellent article, “A Window on Immigration.” It points out that 2.46% of Nebraska residents as of the 2010 census were illegal immigrants. This works out to about 45,000 illegal immigrants in Nebraska today compared to just 3,000 as recently as 1980. This is really a shocking figure. It is roughly the same as the population of Nebraska’s fourth largest city (Grand Island) or Nebraska’s fifth largest county (Buffalo). Nebraska’s unemployment rate of 3.9% is really a labor shortage. It needs these 45,000 illegal immigrant workers! Why is it so difficult for our national leaders to solve this problem? It’s crazy to think that we are going to round up 11 million illegals throughout the country and dump them into Mexico unless they are willing to “self-deport.” Amnesty and citizenship are bogus side issues. Here is the outline of a simple plan which would solve the problem:
Give all businesses a limited time period, perhaps six months or a year, to present a list of their current employees who are illegal. Everyone on this list without a criminal record would receive a guest worker visa along with all necessary legal papers. These papers would belong to the individual worker who could use them to change employment from one business to another.
Going forward, businesses would be authorized to hire additional foreign workers as needed who would automatically qualify for guest worker visas. Such visas would be granted in the country of origin thereby avoiding the need for illegal entry into the U.S.
As of a certain date in the near future, all businesses would be required to periodically demonstrate the legal status of all workers on their payroll. Penalties for non-compliance would be severe.
Guest workers would be eligible to apply for citizenship after a relatively lengthy period of time, perhaps five years or ten years.
Once an adequate guest worker visa program has been set up and is operating efficiently, allowing all businesses to hire as many foreign workers as they need, security on our southern border with Mexico would be no more of a problem than is security on our northern border with Canada.
In other words, illegal immigration is an economic problem, not a law enforcement problem. The way to solve this problem is to address it correctly!