The argument over immigration and amnesty has a great many layers. Some of which I have a little personal experience with. Not as an immigrant, but meeting and working with immigrants from several different cultures over the years. I do not support amnesty when it comes to illegal immigrants for one very specific reason. They are breaking the law. Any of us would get arrested or worse if the situation were to be reversed in some of their countries.
Our country has a long and colorful history when it comes to immigration. Depending on who your ancestors might be, your point of view is probably quite skewed to conform to whatever historical, political or media bias you are susceptible to. However, even before the original colonies signed the Declaration of Independence and established this sovereign nation called the United States of America, there have been rules and laws governing immigration to these shores. These laws haven’t always been fair and sometimes outright prejudice towards certain ethnic and culturally different civilizations, but there have always been basic laws. Common sense Laws that not only regulated the number of people from a particular region, but common sense laws that insure the safety of our citizens and our way of life. These same laws also encompass the means and instructions on how to earn citizenship in the United States of America.
Now I understand that there are some special circumstances with what I refer to as “technically” illegal immigrants. These are the migrant workers and students that have had their visas or permits expire and just haven’t reapplied for one reason or another. While still “technically” illegal, I don’t necessarily believe that they need to voluntarily leave the country or be deported. Unless they have proven themselves as undesirable in some fashion. As with any other violation, they should face some sort of penalty for ignoring the renewal date on their papers. Most if not all of them know that their permits have expired or are about to. I once had a young man I was working with tell me with a smile how he wasn’t worried about getting deported. He would be back in three weeks, maybe six. America was easy.
Then we have the illegal immigrants that have been here so long that they own property, businesses, and have children growing up as American citizens. These people are an exceptionally hard situation to deal with, because they have realized the American dream. The one really big problem is they did it all illegally. America isn’t the country of the great hand-out, at least it shouldn’t be. While these people probably worked very hard to achieve what they have, they also broke the law in doing so. As heart-breaking as it might be, their children are also illegally in this country. The media will try and convince you otherwise, but there is no such thing as birthright citizenship in the United States and hasn’t been since we abolished slavery with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. While some will argue for the 14th Amendment as being applicable, it is not. The 14th Amendment was put in place specifically addressing the Dred-Scott decision by the Supreme Court and granted full citizenship to all black americans. Now I don’t believe we need to confiscate property, close down a viable business and deport the whole family, but there should be a penalty for committing any crime. It will be a long process, but they will need to be audited for any taxes they may or may not owe, assess the value of any property and billed for any benefits that they received. Eventually given a payment schedule and going through the naturalization process to become full citizens.
Then we have the “true” illegal immigrant. The person who just ran across the border with completely unknown intentions. Some of them are really good people who are just trying to find a better life for themselves and making a poor decision. Others are the ones who make headlines and the 6 o’clock news with their actions. The murderer, rapist, smuggler, or gang member with nothing but evil waiting to be unleashed on an unsuspecting American town. We should have zero tolerance for the presence of these people. As they clog up an already overwhelmed welfare, medical and charity system. They deprive many people of a chance for employment by working for a sub-standard cash wage. As well as bringing in an influx of criminal activity that we would be better without. Those that have not committed any crime, other than crossing the border or coming ashore should just be shipped back at the earliest opportunity. If any of those are discovered to be escaping justice in their own country they should be delivered to that countries appropriate agency as hastily as possible. Those committing crimes within our country, should be considered terrorists and dealt with severely.
Lastly. Refugees are not immigrants. They are people that have been forced to flee from their homes and countries in order to escape war, persecution or natural disaster. While it is part of our duty as civilized humans to care for our fellow man, it is not our civic duty to give them a free ride. Ideally, these people should always be encouraged to return to their homes and native countries as soon as their need for asylum is no longer necessary. Under no circumstances should we be bringing in refugees from countries that are openly hostile to the United States.
If it is known that these refugees have a desire to maintain citizenship to their sovereign nation, then we could and should establish one or several refugee camps within the borders of their own country. If that proves to be too dangerous for one reason or another, we could establish a safe haven at one of the several closed military bases across the country. These abandoned bases are virtually complete cities that could provide all the requirements needed to assist these refugees recover and prepare to return to their homeland. They could also serve as an acclimation point for those refugees that desire to become American Citizens.
If they choose to stay and become citizens, then they should adhere to the current Immigration Standards and Laws that have already been established. To become naturalized , they will have to apply for residency. Live in the United States for at least 5 years. Complete the citizenship application process, which can take up to a year. Then take a citizenship test and finally be sworn in as a United States citizen. Its just that simple!