Just days after the election, President Bush announced a major immigration initiative. The ‘high priority’ initiative would grant legal status to millions of illegal immigrants as part of a migrant worker program. Wasting no time, President Bush met with Senator McCain of Arizona while Secretary of State Powell was in Mexico meeting with President Fox. As the debate begins on immigration policy, it’s important to keep several things in perspective.
Neither Republicans nor Democrats have all the right answers on our country’s broken immigration system. America needs an enlightened immigration policy that transcends political parties and the right/left partisan spectrum. A wise immigration policy would promote our country’s economic self-interest and our traditional values as a nation of immigrants (i.e., family unity, free enterprise, cultural and ethnic diversity, and a haven for those fleeing persecution).
Our current immigration laws and policies are dysfunctional. They defy the “reality-on-the-ground” since they fail to account for:
• The shortage of highly skilled individuals to fill the newly-created jobs in the sciences, arts and business;
• America’s bidding war with other developed and developing countries for talented workers;
• The 8 to 12 million otherwise law-abiding people who are here now and who will not willingly leave because they have developed strong family and work ties;
• The lack of government funds, resources and political will to deport this huge population of mostly good people;
• The complexity of the immigration laws, the regional inconsistencies in decisions on immigration benefits, and the backlogs in virtually all immigration offices throughout the country; and
• The disproportionate cost imposed on certain states (including California) caused by the Federal government’s failure to absorb the full costs of the current immigration system.
I call for an open debate on the benefits and costs of expanded immigration. We of course need secure borders and homeland protection. We also need to counteract out-bound offshoring with enlightened, in-bound immigration policies. The 9/11 Commission revealed only some of the flaws in our country’s immigration system.
As an immigration insider with over 25 years of experience, I have seen the problems close-up, and can offer intelligent policy solutions. Thank you for your time and log back to www.nationofimmigrators.com for future updates.