THE PROBLEM. Recent polls indicate
that the majority of Mexican citizens would emigrate to the United
States if given the opportunity, and statistics on the number
of illegal aliens in the United States would seem to indicate
that a great many Mexican citizens have already acted upon this
desire for northward migration. The normal need for a nation to
maintain some sort of control over its borders is today enhanced
by the fact that some illegal immigrants are seeking not work
or asylum, but an opportunity to kill as many of our people as
possible and/or to inflict as much damage as possible on our economy.
Few would disagree that we need to protect our borders. The disagreements
arise over how this should be accomplished.
Conflicting goals have emerged from our apparent
need for some foreign workers, our need to protect our security,
and the normal human emotion of sympathy for the individual hard
working and law abiding illegal alien (do we deport illegal aliens,
or do we grant them amnesty?). Some illegal aliens have children
who are U.S. citizens; some own real property in the U.S. Is there
a way to satisfy the apparently competing interests of protecting
ourselves and our property while not being unduly harsh to honest
aliens who have come here for no reason other than their inability
to feed their families at home? The answer is yes, if we can unemotionally
analyze the problem, list the goals which need to be reached,
and then fashion a policy designed to reach those goals. The last
part will be the hardest because too many people have already
decided what they want done. Some people want to deport the lot;
some want to grant amnesty to anyone who can successfully elude
the Border Patrol; some are looking for potential new partisan
voters; and some, sadly, just want to do anything which has the
potential of embarrassing the government or showing capitalism
in a bad light.
THE PRIMARY GOAL. Our primary
goal must be security; i.e., the detection and apprehension of
terrorists and criminals prior to their gaining entry to the country.
We have the capability of detecting illegal border crossings through
technical means, but it does no good to detect this activity if
we do not have the capability of stopping it. Right now people
are streaming across the border in great numbers, making it impossible
to apprehend all of them. When they are apprehended they are put
on a bus and sent back across the border for another try. If there
is to be any hope of controlling the border, the number of people
crossing illegally must be reduced to a manageable number. Ideally,
only terrorists and criminals would be attempting the crossing.
If the vast number of people crossing for economic reasons could
be removed from the equation, the Border Patrol would have some
hope of apprehending the terrorists and the drug smugglers. The
answer to our security problem, then, is the elimination of our
illegal worker problem.
CONTROLLING IMMIGRATION. A successful
immigration policy should have the following elements: 1) The
status of permanent resident must be available only through legal
immigration under the established quota system; 2) Illegal entry
into the country must be criminally prosecuted; 3) A guest worker
system must be established to allow foreign nationals into the
country on work permits when their labor is needed; 4) Guest workers
must be registered and must be issued a picture ID card to be
carried with them at all times: 5) Guest workers must leave the
country for at
least two weeks in every six month (or one year) period; 6) Guest
workers must post a bond on entering the country, the amount of
which can be used to defray the cost of finding and deporting
them if they do not comply with the provisions of the Guest Worker
Statute; 7) Guest Workers may be on an immigration quota waiting
list while working in the U.S. as Guest Workers; 8) Guest workers
would pay taxes and have the right to own property, obtain drivers’
licenses, and send their children to public schools (where they
would be taught in English); 9) Neither the children of illegal
aliens nor those of Guest Workers would gain U.S. citizenship
by their birth within the United States.
NO AMNESTY. If the U.S. ever
hopes to get its immigration under control there must be no amnesty
for illegal aliens. Until now the government has looked the other
way while millions of illegal immigrants have flooded into the
United States and then, when the number became alarming, solved
the problem of too many illegals by making them legal. Does anyone
doubt that periodic amnesty plans are encouraging illegal immigration?
If we are not going to grant amnesty, what are we going to do
with all of the illegals in the country? Deport them? We have
probably reached the point in this madness where there is no American
citizen left who has not had some contact with illegal immigrants.
For many of us, they are our friends and neighbors, fellow workers,
people sitting in the next pew at church on Sunday morning. Are
we really going to think of deporting these people, many of whom
own real property here? I think not. Then what? They must register
as Guest workers and comply with all of the provisions of the
Guest Worker Statute which Congress will surely pass after reading
CRIMINAL PROSECUTION OF ILLEGAL ENTRY.
One cannot stop illegal immigration by catching one in ten border
crossers and then sending him home to try again, and one cannot
effectively protect the border from terrorist and criminal infiltration
until the tide of illegal work seekers has been stemmed. The best
way to encourage work seekers to comply with the law is to enforce
it. Entering the U.S. illegally is, by definition, illegal. There
need to be some serious criminal sanctions for illegal entering,
and they need to be imposed with enthusiasm. I would suggest the
establishment of a large prison farm in the desert southwest where
apprehended illegals would spend a month for their first offense.
Subsequent offenses would receive increasingly severe sentences.
Coyotes, the guides who take illegals across the border, should
be charged as felons for their first offense with increasingly
severe penalties for subsequent offenses. All levels of law enforcement,
federal, state, and local, should be utilized to enforce the immigration
laws, and any law enforcement officer, at any level, who fails
to enforce the immigration laws should be charged with felony
obstruction of justice.
GUEST WORKER STATUTE. Congress
must pass a Guest Worker Statute providing temporary alien resident
status to persons allowed into this country on work permits. An
alien registration number should be assigned to each worker. This
number would be printed on a picture ID card issued to the worker.
A computer tracking system must be established to keep track of
Guest Workers, who would be required to report any change of address
or employment. These reports could be made via the internet. The
statute should require that the worker periodically leave the
country. This requirement serves two purposes. It reminds the
worker that his primary ties are to his own country, and it provides
a periodic opportunity for U.S. officials to see the worker face
to face as he leaves the country and again as he returns.
REQUIRING A BOND. Every Guest
Worker should be required to post a bond to insure his compliance
with all provisions of the Guest Worker Statute. This is a reasonable
method of insuring compliance and is not an unreasonable burden
for the worker. To enter this country illegally it is usually
necessary to pay a Coyote, or guide, to get the immigrant across
the border undetected. The premium on a bond issued by an insurance
company should cost considerably less that the fee paid to a Coyote.
EXCEPTION TO CITIZENSHIP BY BIRTH.
The Statute should provide that any children born to Guest Worker
parents while in the United States would not gain U.S. citizenship
as a result of their U.S. birth. This provision would probably
require a Constitutional Amendment. There are some existing exceptions
to the general rule that U.S. birth confers U.S. citizenship:
children of diplomats accredited to the U.S. do not obtain U.S.
citizenship by virtue of their birth here; and should an invading
force occupy a portion of the U.S., children born to members of
that invading force would not gain citizenship by their U.S. birth.
A statute denying citizenship to the offspring of Guest Workers
could (but very likely would not) be effective to prevent such
citizenship acquisition. The argument against automatic citizenship-by-birth
would be that accepting the conditions of Guest Worker status
would be sufficient to raise a contractual bar to citizenship
for children born in the United States.
The basic rule of citizenship by birth is a common
law rule. That was the rule in England at the time of the American
Revolution and as such it is part of our “received”
common law. If that were the only basis of the rule, a well drafted
statute would surely abrogate it. Unfortunately, it is not the
only basis of the rule. The Fourteenth Amendment to the U. S.
Constitution states that “All persons born . . . in the
United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens
of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
This provision was designed to confer citizenship on freed slaves
after the Civil War, but the federal judiciary might very likely
find in it ample reason to strike down any citizenship deprivation
clause in a Guest Worker Statute.
CONCLUSION. The United States
must gain control of its borders if it is to protect itself from
those who would do us grievous harm. In order to gain control
of those borders we must eliminate the flood of illegal immigrants
looking for a better life in the U.S. The only way to do that
is to provide temporary work permits to those who are needed for
work in the U.S., while at the same time strictly enforcing the
immigration laws and imposing severe sanctions on those who break
them. No amnesty for illegals should be considered, but provision
should be made for those already here to become a part of the
Guest Worker Program. As a final note, the contact points for
the Guest Worker program should be in secure enclosures just inside
the U.S. Border. By administering the program entirely on U.S.
soil, its success would not be dependent upon the good will and
cooperation of a foreign Government.