IMMIGRATION: Lawful Immigration That Benefits Americans
Immigration is a very volatile subject in this campaign. As a nation, we need to have some kind of limits and controls on immigration or we could end up with billions of people moving here, some of them dangerous or undesirable. The Democrats have no immigration policy at all except for non-enforcement and open borders. This is very dangerous. It is causing great tension. It cannot continue.
On the other hand, it is clear that, as a nation, we have always benefited greatly from the orderly, lawful immigration to our shores of hard-working, talented persons drawn by our liberty and opportunity. Nowhere is this more evident than here in Silicon Valley, the multi-ethnic technology capital of, and economic dynamo for, America and the world.
Our immigration policy should be, first and foremost, for the benefit of Americans. We need to allow in those who will create jobs and prosperity for Americans, abide by our laws, and raise families that contribute to the strength of our society. It is naïve to think that America can take in everyone in the world who needs a better life when we have millions of Americans who dream of that better life. Our first responsibility is to our own Dreamers.
As for unlawful immigration, border walls and guards are necessary but not sufficient. Half of the unlawful residents in the U.S. came in legally and just overstayed their visas.
Once someone is here unlawfully, we rely on the deportation system to deal with them. But, deportation is a too often a lengthy process that clogs up our judicial system. It now takes as long as four or five years to get a hearing date in an immigration case, and then most of the subjects of those hearings fail to appear with no particular adverse consequences. The deportation process needs to be streamlined. Those who are apprehended on suspicion of being here illegally should have two weeks to show that they have a right to be here and be detained for that time. If they can’t show that they are here lawfully, they should be deported to their own countries where they can continue the process from there.
Many economic immigrants are taking advantage of our asylum laws. Asylum should only be available to those coming from countries that our State Department has determined cannot or do not protect their citizens from harm. If we and other countries are getting too many refugees from a country because it is in turmoil, we should assert the right to defend our borders by establishing sanctuaries in those countries for the refugees, by force of arms if necessary. We are not the sanctuary for the world.
We should require local authorities to report arrests of unlawful residents to the federal immigration authorities immediately so that appropriate holds can be put in place. Local authorities cannot declare themselves to be sanctuaries from federal law and harbor those here unlawfully.
We need to fully implement the E-Verify system for new and existing hires. Currently, all employers are required to check the immigration status of their new hires but they don’t have to file those forms with the government, just keep them in a filing cabinet. That does not work. I would make it a requirement that employers use the E-Verify system for both new and existing employees. Sanctions would fall on employers, not on workers.
What to do about those who have been here unlawfully for many years and have deep roots in the community? I would be open to a one-time only Reagan-type amnesty where those here unlawfully for four years or more could come forward, establish that they can support themselves and their families, that they are and have been law-abiding other than their immigration status, pay a fine and back taxes, and then be given work and residence permits. Those permits would be valid as long as they can support themselves and their families and abide by our laws. If not, they would have to leave, even if it disrupts a family unit. If an American citizen breaks the law, they have to go to prison even if it disrupts the family unit. Why should non-citizens get more favorable treatment than Americans?
As far as a path to citizenship, those who entered illegally but are allowed to stay here on work permits need to follow the same path as everyone else who has to wait in line for the privilege of becoming a U.S. citizen. There should be no shortcut to citizenship for those who entered illegally.