Last night President Obama decided that the new Congress which will be sworn in come late in January of next year had been dragging their heels and not addressing legislation proposing solutions of comprehensive immigration reform. Since he will be giving his speech after my deadline for submitting my article, I will just assume, always somewhat dangerous but I feel confident my assumptions will prove safe and valid, it is distinctly possible that President Obama might give everyone a surprise, potentially a pleasant surprise, and actually suggest or even, drum roll please, promise to take his pen and enact any of my proposals. The first thing which must be resisted is the urge to take grand sweeping steps aimed at solving everything all with as few steps as possible starting with any form of blanket amnesty, especially a general amnesty with only the smallest of punitive requirements or inconveniences such as fines or complex forms. Unfortunately, President Obama has given indications that he will at least propose rigidly stringent guidelines he will expect, even demand, Congress meet within a relatively short deadline and put legislation on his desk meeting every last iota of his expectations or expect his veto followed by him using his pen and phone to enact exactly what he desires without Congressional input. We can expect some form of amnesty for the large number of those labeled ‘youths’ which were part of the huge tens of thousands of illegal children and young adults all unaccompanied by adults who entered the southern border to much media coverage, almost fanfare, this past spring and early summer. How much further President Obama may decide to go will be revealed before this article gets posted, but why guess when it will only serve to be anticlimactic, so on to what we believe is not to be expected but would have been a better course to have followed.
The first step to begin to solve the immigration problem has to separate those who are in the United States and are seeking to work within the legal system since their arrival, are gainfully employed, are paying taxes and simply desire to make a better life for their family from those who are here in pursuit of illegal activities, are chronic lawbreakers or are here to take advantage of government support programs designed to assist the needy and disabled such as welfare, food stamps, disability programs and other similar programs. Basically, one need differentiate between those here to gain from the system from those here who are working and contributing to the system. The American people are usually a forgiving people but not if they feel somebody has betrayed their trust and is out to game things and taking advantage of the Americans’ generous nature. Where the American people might be persuaded to accept somebody who may have entered the nation illegally in order to make a better life for his family and has worked steadily and even paid taxes, paid their rent, utilities and other daily bills, provided health insurance and were not causing any undue strain on the society, such a person would be more acceptable than anyone who had not shown such respect for the society and abused the systems instead of being fellow contributors to that system. This brings into consideration reports that the Justice Department gave its blessings, some even claim facilitated, the release of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who were incarcerated on felony charges across the nation. It was rumored that these illegal immigrants were released in a preparatory move in order for making them legal in some expected subsequent amnesty, an amnesty which, in all fairness, has yet to have occurred. There is an initial step which could be used to separate out those who are working within the system and being a contributive member of American society from those who are taking advantage of the various support safety net systems within that society. This would be to require that everyone who applies for government assistance give proof and be required to pass a citizenship check before being given any support. This would remove those on such programs who were unable to pass such a background check and might be sufficient incentive for many illegals realizing they would likely be dropped from any forms of government support to return to their nation of origin or perhaps become contributing members of society seeking out gainful employment. Either result would be a positive result which most American might find acceptable and possibly even advantageous.
The next phase would require formulating what is referred to as a path to citizenship for those illegal immigrants who would be capable of providing sufficient evidence and desire to become documented and even take on additional requirements as further proof of their honest desire to mitigate for their initial illegal entry. They might be required to also take and pass a one year comprehensive American history course on a college or community college level designed by judges and professors specifically to provide a general knowledge of the important points in American history as well as stressing legal codes and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and the important themes and origins of the triumvirate of America’s founding documents, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and their effects on the government and the legal code. They should be subjected to a full background check and also have to take the full citizenship courses and pass the test for citizenship all before being considered for final citizenship. The path should be more strenuous than the normal track to citizenship to make them have to pay a price as proof that they are aware that they have been granted a privilege which their effrontery of knowingly breaking United States immigration laws by entering the nation by illegal means. There have been discussions that those illegal immigrants permitted to seek citizenship should also be made to pay a fine as well as make good for any back taxes they may owe. The fine should be determined to some extent on a case by case basis on some established sliding scale which would take into consideration whether the illegal immigrant had paid taxes or avoided paying taxes amongst other criteria. Whatever the cost demanded from an illegal immigrant in order for them to achieve citizenship, that price will prove astonishingly low as it grants their family a prize others have applied for and waited what must seem to be a lifetime to achieve legally, a wait made that much longer by the numbers of illegal immigrants who reduce the numbers of legal immigrants accepted each year, they owe those people a debt which is impossible to repay or even determine a sufficient price. Whatever the United States government decides about what the price and path if any should be demanded from those who entered their country illegally, the people would very likely have demanded a much higher price if they would allow any price other than expulsion back to their nation of origin made to begin the legal immigration path from square zero. Whatever would be decided by the Congress, any such decision would better represent the people than whatever edicts fell from President Obama’s lips last night, but then President Obama has been showing a steadily growing lack of concern for the American voters which will only grow as his time left shortens. No matter what immigration policies the President will have introduced the world to last night; such ignominies will only pale when compared with what he has in store over the last two years in office. After all, did not President Obama claim that he will be listening to the two-thirds of voters who failed to vote in the midterm elections and would he not be able to claim that his intimate familiarity possessed with these silent voters is far more accurate than even they might know as he has already channeled their desires, he said so.
Beyond the Cusp