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We Must Secure the Border - But we also must do more...
There is no question that the lack of proper border security is a threat to our national security and to our national sovereignty. We must secure the border for a great many reasons. Not the least of which is to stop the flow of drugs across our borders that has led to a disastrous war on the southern side of our border. But securing the border is not enough. At the same time, we must address our broken immigration system that has led to lawless behavior by many Americans and foreign nationals.
Many people say "We must secure the border FIRST!" They are unwilling to even talk about the other broken parts of our immigration and employment systems that plague our country today. Yes, we must secure the border. But, at the same time, we can and must also address these other critical issues.
Currently there is little enforcement of our immigration law within the interior of our country. Every day, people who are in this country legally with visas of various types become illegal when their visa expires. Yet, because all of our resources are pointed at the border, little is done to track down these people. And don't forget, at least six of the 9-11 hijackers were illegally in this country because of visa overstays.
An article in Arizona Central says, "Visa violators represent nearly half of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. But they have been largely ignored amid a national clamor to secure the border..." The article quotes Michael W. Cutler, a former senior agent with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which became Immigration and Customs Enforcement as saying, "It's not that we have too much emphasis on the border. We still need enforcement on the border. The problem is not enough attention to the other issue."
We don't need to wait till the border is secured to start enforcing our laws related to visa overstays. We must improve this process so we know who is still here and why.
Another problem with the "Secure the border first" mentality is it does nothing about the millions of of unidentified illegal aliens who are already here. We have absolutely no idea who is here, where they are from, or why they are here. This is as big of a threat to public safety, if not a bigger threat, than the border being left as it is. Every day we wait for the border to be secure before addressing this problem is another day of millions of people with no form of identification can commit crimes and then simply change their names and move somewhere else to start all over again.
We must begin a process of identifying all immigrants who are in this country and issue them a biometric identification card so that, even if they change their name, we will be able to tie them back to prior crimes committed in this country. We must not wait for the border to be secured to begin this process.
Our current immigration system is broken - especially in regards to non-skilled workers. We have great shortages of manual laborers in this country and need to find a legal way for more employers to find the workers they need to grow their business and expand the economy. There are jobs in this country we, as Americans, simply do not want to do. I used to hate it when people said that, but the more I have studied this problem, the more I realize it is the truth.
We need to develop a guest worker program that will meet the economic needs of our country and stop the current abuses of workers by some employers who currently take advantage of our broken system to misclassify employees illegally as subcontractors when they should be employees.
"The Texas Solution", adopted by the Republican Party of Texas this summer, provides a blueprint for how a legitimate guest worker program might work. It provides for positive identification of foreign workers, a legal process for people to work and hire workers and restricts foreign workers to only work for companies who classify employees properly ensuring the collection of taxes, providing workmen's compensation and compliance with child support collection processes.
Our current system encourages the lawless behavior that has been occuring in this country for many years. In the past, guest workers would travel back and forth between their home country and ours when work was available to them. It was not necessary for them to bring family with them as they knew they could travel freely when needed.
Our new system inadvertently forces them to bring families with them which increases the burden on our schools, hospitals and taxpayers. This is a negative outcome which needs to be corrected now and not wait until the border is first secured.
Yes, securing the border is an absolute priority. But we are a nation of many resources and many talented people. We can do more than one thing at a time. The federal government did not follow through on its promises after the Reagan amnesty. This is, in large part, because we did not stay on their backs to make certain it happened.
In our new Tea Party reality, the people are providing stringent oversight of our government. This is what we should, as citizens and taxpayers, be doing. We must hold them accountable.
Let's get the border secured and do it quickly. But let's also move forward on much needed immigration reform and employment law enforcement. We can do all of these things and we can start now.