Apparently this needs to be said out loud – people who sneak into the country by clandestinely crossing a border or beach, have entered the country illegally. They are here illegally. Their first act as an American resident was to break the law. One of the lynchpins of Western Civilization is an adherence to the rule of law, rather than being a cult of personality, and just looking the other way on a class of people defined by an illegal act, weakens that propensity. Blatant unequal application of law is an earmark of banana republics and juntas.
Also needed to be stated up front – the Mexican government will be of no meaningful assistance in this matter, as money sent back home by working illegals in the United States is Mexico’s second largest source of national income, exceeded only by oil. Part of Mexico’s economic model is the exporting of as much poverty to America as they can, any way they can.
This part of the effort regards what to do with that class of people defined by an illegal act. While I do not favor punitive action – save for those convicted of a felony – but their status is not an insignificant feature to be ignored. The GOP document begins: “Our national and economic security depend on requiring people who are living and working here illegally to come forward and get right with the law.” Felons need to be deported, and this includes those casually discovered in the flow of events. All others should be given a path to legitimization.
“There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws,” the document goes on, “that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law.” I wholeheartedly agree. While that process (the line waiting for citizenship) desperately needs to be modernized and streamlined, all who present themselves for a path to citizenship should join the line at the rear.
“Rather, these persons could live legally and without fear in the US, but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits).” No problem with any of this.
“Criminal aliens, gang members, and sex offenders and those who do not meet the above requirements will not be eligible for this program.” Those whose criminal acts are felonious (and the sex offender would qualify) are to be deported. The rest remain in this country illegally.
“Finally, none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced.” Along with certified border security, yes, I agree.
Well, there you have it. This section concludes the GOP guidelines for sensible immigration reform. In sum, the provisions need to be introduced in phases, both for ease of understanding and sound methodology. Security must come before easement because easement will act as a magnet for yet more illegal immigration. Smarter allocation of visas is overdue, and our competition has been doing this for years. The economy is the backbone of government’s ability to do anything – government creates nothing, before it can give anything to anyone, it must first take it from someone else. Any widesweeping legislation should be sensitive to its effect on the pre-legislation economy. Immediate plans need to be drawn up to modernize the current naturalization process, and it should be done outside government – I would suggest the RAND Corporation, an apolitical research think tank often used by the government to get an objective treatment of a seemingly intractable problem. They pioneered Game Theory, and have “gamed” many scenarios for the US government, military and civilian. They wrote a prescient paper on the operational problems with ObamaCare, down to the late start on programming the interface, predicting software problems with the rollout. Set the DREAM process in motion, and adopt the policy for handling illegals. It needs to be done in sequence and phased-in so that the totality of the reforms does not shock the social or economic systems.
 By casually discovered, I mean situations where immigration status surfaces as a result of non-immigration activity (e.g., license check at a traffic stop).