Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sane solution to immigration mess?

I don’t know Michael Lesser and have never met him. But he wrote an article in the Portsmouth Herald, which I accessed via Seacoast Online, and I was struck by his thoughts concerning our nation’s immigration mess.

His suggestions would (it seems to me anyway) provide a starting point in the contentious debate separating business interests and hardliners on the issue of undocumented aliens.

First, the New Hampshire resident who lives and works in Washington D.C. makes it clear that he feels that anybody that enters the country illegally should be “punished and all of the fruits of the that illegal act are null and void.” He also advocates stronger border protection, including using the National Guard, a “zero-tolerance approach.”

He also proposes “draconian lawns” penalizing business owners who cannot document that they are hiring persons legally in this country.

OK, let’s move on to the issue of the estimated 10 million to 12 million so-called illegal immigrants already in the United States? While Lesser believes it would be possible to “create an environment” to compel or force them out of the country, he instead suggests allowing them to stay under the following conditions:

They must report to immigration where the process of complete vetting will begin. All persons not reporting by a certain date will be deported when caught. Criminals are ineligible and will be deported immediately.

Persons going through the vetting process will receive documentation (not a green card) and perform 30 hours of community service per month for three years and must maintain documented employment. They can also get a driver’s license if they can pass the written exam in English. After that 3-year period the person will be on another two years of probation after which time they will be eligible for a green card if they can prove their proficiency in English. One year later they can apply for citizenship.

During this 5-year period these people would be eligible for services currently available to green card holders, and if during this period any person is convicted of a felony, the person will not only serve the required sentence, but will be deported after serving the sentence.

Any persons joining and serving honorably in the military and their immediate dependents (spouse and children) for a period of four years are eligible to apply for, or possibly be granted, citizenship.

I'd rather have the undocumented on the road to citizenry, working legally and paying taxes, than to punish them at this point, and that is a huge change for me,” he writes.

Click on the headline for a link to Lesser’s article at Seacoast Online. — Ron Hall

1 comment:

OreRain365 said...

Here are my thoughts regarding this subject. It will be interesting to see what the politicians and special interest groups end up with. There are many things that need to be considered and probably some I am not even aware of. I would like to add this to the discussion. The discussion needs to begin with Why are these people here. Pretty simple question and the answer is equally as simple. I'll save my thoughts on that for later.

1. First I agree that they are indeed illegal immigrants. Should there be a penalty? Sure they broke the law. They came to the US knowing it was illeagal. I think a fine is adaquate. 2. Sending 12 million people back to Mexico to process paperwork is silly and a waste of time. Registering them is necesary. Just do the paperwork here and get on with it. 3. What about taxes and social security? In my mind they forfeit any benefits or rebates they have coming. You took your chances and knew what you were doing when you came here illegally. Trying to straighten out the IRS paperwork would be a nightmare. Wipe the slate and start new. 4. Speaking English is mandatory. It should be part of the package. 5. Those who have served in the military for 4 years get a free pass. 6. Something needs to be done about the border. Whether it is electronic or a physical fences monitoring is necessary. 7. This brings us back to my original question of why they are here. It would seem prudent that a joint advisory council of Mexican and Americans to make recomendations to the Menican government regarding their economy and where to begin turning the corner is in order. It is a delicate issue and a process that needs to be begun. Let me add this. Thank god China is across the ocean and not to the north of us like Canada.

Michael McPherson