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 this article.

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.