Monday, March 07, 2005


As I write this the 109th session of congress is deliberating over what they perceive as the last piece to the puzzle of homeland security. I doubt that they will make any headway with the weak and understated proposals on the table. The Real ID act is a waste of paper that will only cause illegal aliens to be driving illegally. The Dream Act, which allows illegal aliens that have gone through our school systems to get in-state tuition at colleges, is a slap in the face to security. Even the field act, the one that permits law enforcement to work on immigration issues, falls short of doing any real good.

No, I'm not going to whine about the sorry state of immigration and how the government is wasting our time. I'm going to offer some solutions. They are my solutions, and I come from a place that has an intimate understanding of the front end of immigration control. So let's get this ball rolling at the source: The INS:

The INS (Immigration and Nationalization Service) has been traditionally one of the slowest and most ridiculous branches of the government we have. Go down to your local INS office and try to get something done on your lunch hour. Unless you've got all of your paperwork completed and bribed your way to the head of the line you will not make it in time.

The painful slowness doesn't end there. Imagine you need to do something other than get a simple visa. Imagine you need to file your paperwork for permanent residency. Your one time, two hour long wait has now turned into at least three separate two hour long waits and potentially a three hour long interview after the year and a half you've waited for them to complete your paperwork.

If it sounds like I have some personal vestment in this waste of agency you're right. My wife is a Korean national. The two years from entry in country to permanent resident status was my wife's. It was not three visits with an interview it was six. Three of those times were to get the proper paperwork (still with a two hour wait) because they didn't understand what a PDF was. Fortunately, our interview only took 30 minutes to an hour. Eventually she wants to get her citizenship but if we have to deal with those knuckleheads again I don't know if she'll ever be sworn in.

The reason that politicians don't go really dig into immigration is because the entire system needs to be completely redone from the top down. Let me explain in detail:

To their credit, the INS has made filing and printing most of your paperwork much easier to do. Much of their paperwork is now in PDF format and capable of being filed online. However, everything sent to them via e-file still has to be printed out and ferreted around to their paper laden desks. Hearken back, if you will, to the newsy days when your inbox was actually a wooden box and not sponsored by Microsoft Outlook. This is where they still sit. It is still done by pen and ink, not pixels. The solution to this is quite simple to anyone smart enough to have heard of a digital signature. Take away the paper and make their processes electronic.

Now what does this have to do with aliens? How does that help terror at home? Remember this: Many of the terrorists involved with the actions of 9/11 were already on an international watch list for terror. The slow and inefficient paper filing of the INS allowed them to live in this country unadulterated for years. There was, and is, no digital database for all of the INS paperwork. It is still put on pieces of paper and stuffed in one of many filing cabinets to collect dust. With digital filing and processing they could create an instantly accessible database nationally or even internationally.

I know a little bit of work has been done with this but it only catches a few people, like Cat Stephens. Some have said the system they have is nearly impossible to keep up with, and unlikely to be of any use. Knowing that Cat or Allah or whatever his alias is this week, donated tens of thousands of dollars to the Hamas is good enough for me. Keep him in Europe where they sympathize with moonbats. The system is flawed and does need improvements, vast improvements. Oracle has a good product that could easily be used to database everything in the INS. They could even tie it in with Social Security. For those out there that believe this is an impossible task ask yourself how credit card companies do it. If MasterCard can find you when you miss a payment then why can't the INS if you stayed late on your visa? They're dragging their feet. Don't let them fool you.

Now that I've gotten that piece off my chest let me address the three aforementioned proposals:

At 8 to 12 million aliens there is absolutely no way to send them all back to where they came from. Much of our land was once their land. L.A. stands for Los Angeles, the city of Angels. It was named by the locals and not the cowboys that took over and sent them all to Mexico. There was a war about it and unless we want to declare war on L.A. I think we need to take the suggested approach and streamline a system for undocumented workers.

Here is my approach for doing this:

We need to have a moratorium for undocumented workers in America. All those in the country without paperwork would have a set amount of time in which to find a job and file paperwork for moratorium status. They would not be provided full citizenship but would be protected as a migrant worker residing in the United States. I would give a period of three months in which to find a job and file paperwork as a migrant worker. Anyone unable to comply with this would be subject to immediate deportation. If we have to rent busses or semi-trucks for one mass drop then that's what we'll have to do. They will have been given their golden opportunity and if they choose to ignore it they can suffer the consequences.

Those that have filed paperwork (or e-filed, preferably) would be given the opportunity to file for citizenship in two years time of continuous work with no break in employment greater than four months in total unpaid unemployment. I know the influx of 8 to 12 million filers would be considered daunting to the current INS but again, if the go digital and streamline their aged systems it could be just slightly better than absolute chaos. The standard citizenship procedures would apply including the test and interview but those with an employer's recommendation would get priority in paperwork processing. Hopefully, that would assist in prioritizing processing and additionally aid in reducing fraud.

What about the people crossing our borders everyday to find work?

They do the jobs we don't want to do. They do the jobs that our kids don't even want to do. They pick our cabbages, strawberries, blueberries, and tomatoes. They do all this because it's a better life than they had before. The people who employ them know they're paying them slave wages. They give them no medical support and are not above beating them because they know they won't say anything for fear of being deported. My above solution will help those that are already here, but does nothing for those who flood the borders every day.

Something California has tried to do now and again is create a migrant worker visa. These are people that would cross the border in the morning, work in our fields and go back to Mexico in the evening. Every time this proposition has hit the table it has been shot down by people who don't understand it. They are afraid that it will mean people will lose their jobs and those not losing their jobs would get paid less due to the foreign competition. What I propose is that in order to a position to be filled by a migrant worker it would need to be unemployable to the standard American. With the previous solution we may not have too many jobs available to fill but that will eventually change as those applying for citizenship gradually become more educated and thus retain more technical positions. It would only be used when citizens or migrant residents are unavailable or unwilling to take the jobs. It would also not be considered an "all or nothing" endeavor. If a farm needs 200 people to pick cabbage and half of those positions are filled with teenagers or migrant residents then the remaining 100 positions could be picked up by migrant workers.

This covers the problem of having jobs that no American or migrant resident would want but does little to quell the flow of illegal border traffic. The solution to this problem lies in making it so Mexicans do not need or want to cross the border looking for work. Some things I have become more familiar with as of late are tariffs and import taxes. It appears that one of the things keeping poor countries poor are the taxes levied against them for import goods. If we were to reduce those taxes and tariffs against high migration counties, such as Mexico, we would increase the real Gross Domestic Product of that country and ultimately increase the yearly salary of workers in Mexico and other countries. With increased pay and better living conditions available through the greater GDP there will be less of a desire to cross the border to find work. This may seem very nuanced, but it's really quite simple. If you can get them paid well in their own country they won't need to come infiltrate ours.

The third and final suggestion (Yes, I've got an end to this thing.) was to get tough on the borders. If what I have suggested above does not completely correct the problem, which I doubt anything will completely, we need to enhance the border guards to reduce the flow of undocumented workers/illegal aliens. Something I noticed while living on the border of San Diego and Tijuana was that the only people allowed to touch an unauthorized border crosser was The Border Patrol. The police have absolutely no jurisdiction unless they try to break into your house or make an attempt to harm you. Simply jumping over your six-foot tall fence and looking through your windows as they pass through is not enough to stir up the police.

It reminds me of the separation between the CIA and the FBI. It's a wall that doesn't need to be there. The police should be able to assist in border issues and vice versa. If we need to make it illegal to cross the border without papers for the police to get involved then that's what we have to do. I understand that legitimate police work takes precedence over border issues but I'm sure there could be some assistance in both directions.

Another solution to the manpower problem is the National Guard. Even with the current state of affairs in Iraq, we still have over 150,000 reservists that are cooling their heels at home. Would it be so difficult to have your one-month a year defending the border instead of running around in circles? Besides that, wouldn't the training they get ferreting out illegal aliens better training than any simulation could give them?

Hopefully, other people than me can realize that immigration reform is not going to come in the form of some small policy change or insignificant passing of a bill. It will require drastic measures that affect everyone. It will require politicians to step up to the plate and do what is right, not what will get them reelected.

Cross-posted at BNN

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