Saturday, April 01, 2006

Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses Yearning to Be Free

My beliefs on immigration are about as liberal as they come. I don't believe we have the right to deny anyone the ability to live in the United States or become an American citizen. However, I recognize the legitimate security case for knowing who is our borders, the importance of ending illegal immigration (even if you believe that the legal immigration system is unjust) and the necessity of responding to the successful conservative frame of the immigration issue as a security issue (even if its largely an economic issue).

So I was excited to come across this paper put out by the Truman National Security Project. It calls for a four-prong policy to secure our immigration system while holding true to pro-immigrant, Democratic values:

1) Strong Border and Interior Enforcement, including better screening at our consulates, better technology, specifically at the border, and a more efficient screening system at workplaces.
2) A Temporary Worker Program that registers immigrants already here, but fines them heavily for being here illegally. New applicants must "pay to play", with an up-front fee that funds the local services (emergency, school, etc.) they may use, to be partially returned upon legal exit.
3) A Path to Citizenship that gives all immigrants the possibility of citizenship if they have paid taxes, learned English, and followed our laws.
4) An Immigrant Integration Program incentivizing businesses and communities to offer English language courses, mentorship programs, and other provisions to build better immigrant- community relations.

I'm slightly uncomfortable with the English/integration provision, which has an obvious practical, humanitarian justification (immigrants need to learn English to really succeed in the US), but, for many conservatives who champion such a provision, has a racist justification. Nonetheless, I think this is a proposal that is strong policy, smart politics and sound in terms of our values.

5 Comments:

At 12:27 AM, Blogger JasonSpalding said...

How ironic is it that those in government make the argument that illegal immigrants are just willing to do the jobs Americans don't want to do when the one job the government seems to be trying hard to avoid doing is dealing with illegal immigration.

 
At 1:26 AM, Blogger James Polkuote said...

Just a thought: We may have noms de plume, Harry, but we're not claiming we have alternate personalities. Your claim that you "came across" a Trumam Project paper -- excitedly, too! -- rings a little hollow considering the very reason for your pen-name. Who are you, the the Bush Administration? (Wait, this is what took you so long to write?) I suppose this sort of press-release issuance is still a step up from parroting Matt Drudge...

 
At 12:22 PM, Anonymous ChrisP said...

Consider the US Visitor/Tourist Visa situation from countries NOT in the Visa Waiver Program. The applicant to the Embassy is "presumed to be guilty untill they can prove innocence." i.e the US have legislation in force which states that ANY visa applicant is automatically presumed to be an immigrant until they can prove otherwise.

the US visa officer weights it so that the the applicant begins at the very bottom and must prove themselves to the point when the scales tip in their favour.

VERY unfair.
ChrisP

 
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