How to solve the immigration problem. The first thing is the determine what the real problem is. I think real problem is that the American citizenry feels betrayed by the amnesty program created in the 1980's. The 80's reform was supposed to solve illegal immigration instead the citizens feel it accelerated it. By rewarding illegal activity it simply encouraged a new generation of immigrants to make the attempt. From all reports the latest generation has been even more successful than the first. Simply put the citizens of the USA do not trust something called immigration reformed unless the borders are secured first. This distrust is the problem because politicians can not overcome the distrust with rhetoric. The citizens want proof that the 1980's reform will not be repeated. Below is an attempt to outline how immigration reform can be implemented.
The politicians need make a law that can be trusted. The only way that can be done is to establish checks and balances.
This outline will require a bipartisan group of leaders to endorse the proposed steps including the sequence of implementation.
Securing the borders must come first, but with the federal government controlled by Democrats (or Republicans) we must be able to trust whoever implements border security must receive verification that the borders are secure. The new immigration law would only be implemented when, as and if, the majority of the states certify that in their opinion the borders are "substantially secure" The certifying states must include all of those states that are "deemed" by the legislation as border states. At a minimum it would include all states that have a land border with a foreign country namely Mexico and Canada (There are 15 in total so these 15 together with 11 others must certify that the borders are "substantially secure".) This would require the legislature of the states to enact a law enabling the certification and such law would be signed into law by the governor. This methodology would virtually require local bi-partisan support nationwide to enact and implement Immigration reform. The date of Certification shall become the Program Implementation Date (PID) for the implementation of the reform portion of the legislation.
Once a secure border has been has been certified then comes the implementation of reform. The first part of the problem is that there doesn't seem to be any truly accurate estimates of the number of illegal aliens presently in the country. I've heard estimates varying between 11 million and 20 million. To effectively deal with the problem we would have to get our arms around the numbers. To locate, enumerate and evaluate the illegal population I would propose that we create a special social security card for illegal aliens. The cards would be issued with a photo id in a manner similar to the photo id credit cards issued by banks. The creation of a social security account would enable the commencement of the efforts to implement the enumeration and evaluation of the problem. Registration with SSA, would shield the applicant from prosecution and/or deportation until Homeland security processed the case for disposition. However, registration would begin the process as well as prioritize who gets processed (first come, first served)each registrant would be requested to indicate which one of the three options list below he wished to pursue:
1. Permanent residency with citizenship
2. Permanent residency without citizenship
3. Guest worker status
The Social security card would be encoded to indicate the requested status and such status would determine the holder's eligibility to receive governmental services status 1 and 2 would make such person eligible for all benefits and programs generally available to permanent residents. Status 3 would not make such person eligible for any such programs. Individuals states would determine how and when educational and health care services would be provided, except that any such laws may not be discriminatory.
Every undocumented person, including minor children, in the US would be required to register within 180 days of the PID. Failure to do so would subject any such person to prosecution and deportation under the immigration laws. Each registrant would be required to provide the Social Security number to his employer and upon doing so he would be protected by all of the labor laws and regulations of the country and/or the state of residency. Simultaneously, employers would be required to verify and authenticate the SS numbers of all employees whether temporary or permanent. Any one, found to have an invalid SS number would have to be laid off until a valid SS# is supplied. Employers would be required to collect and pay all taxes imposed by the local, state and federal government. Any employer failing to do so within 90 days of the PID would be subject to fines and penalties as set forth in the reform act.
Processing a registrant:
Each registrant must provide name, address ( both in the US and country of origin) as well as define an economic familial unit. i.e. Single, family (naming each member and each member will be issued SS#, as set forth above. Photo id's and fingerprints will be taken at the time of registration and encoded into the SS Card.
The registrant then opts for his status as described above. The familial unit will be required to select the same status except for a so-called "anchor baby" circumstance which will be dealt with separately.
The SS card will serve the same function as a "green card" currently does but any and all employers must verify and authenticate the card upon employment.
All wages payments will be accumulated in the Social Security system as is presently done. These wage records will be used in determining a person's or familial units continuing eligibility to pursue permanent residency or citizenship.
Each person or familial unit must maintain financial capabilities sufficient to support their continuing presence in the US. For example, a familial unit must maintain income at least equal to 135% of the federal poverty level or show other financial resources that demonstrate the ability for self-support at least equal to 135% of the federal poverty level. Only wages reported under the SS system and only other income reported on 1099's would count. Financial resources sited outside the country must be verified by bona-fide financial institutions domiciled outside the country. Each person or familial unit must maintain sufficient funds to sustain themselves while in USA and/or a proven steady income. Proof of funds and/or income is usually requested by means of bank account statements, proof of investment income, credit cards, or a combination of these. Income reported on a person's or familial unit US tax return may be counted. Failure to maintain adequate financial capabilities shall subject the person or familial units to deportation and/or denial of permanent status.
In the event that such person or familial unit is unable to prove adequate financial capabilities, a deportation or denial order shall be issued. Within 90 days thereafter, the person or familial unit may appeal such order by providing such proof as may be required to prove financial capabilities or must leave the country. Failure to provide proof would require such entity's SS card to be invalidated. Notice of invalidation shall be sent to any employer that report income or wages to the SS system.
Failure to leave the country will constitute a felony violation of the USA's immigration laws.
Other disqualifications for status of presence in the US:
Any person who has received eligibility status as described above shall become disqualified and ineligible if:
1. He is convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor which may be punishable by a fine of $1,000 or more or a jail term of nine months or more
2. He declares his intent not to seek a status set forth above
3. Establishes a permanent residence in another country
4. Fails to maintain adequate financial capabilities as set forth above.
Exception for "Anchor babies"
Any person who is a natural born citizen of the US shall not be subject to the provisions of the immigration reform laws even if such person is a member of a familial unit. The legal parents or guardians of any such minor person who become ineligible for continuing presence in the US may:
1. remove such citizen from the US upon their departure from the US in accordance with the immigration laws
2. Appoint a guardian for such person, who shall be a person eligible for residency in the US or an agency of the state, local or federal government of the US
If such minor person is abandoned in the US, the parents or legal guardian of such minor shall be permanently barred from entry to the US.
Any person removed by a parent or legal guardian may return to the US upon attainment of majority or is no longer subject to control of the parents or guardians.
Guest Worker Program
A person who has requested guest worker status must identify any familial unit of which he is a member. All members of the familial unit must have SS cards. A guest worker, together with any members of a familial unit, shall be permitted to remain in the US at all times so long as the total income of such person or the total income of the familial unit would be equal to 135% of the federal poverty level. If the guest worker and/or the familial unit were employed at least 25 hours per week and at such a rate of pay that would provide income equal to 135% of the federal poverty level.
Upon termination of employment, for any reason, at the proscribed level, such guest worker and/or familial unit are required to leave the US within 30 days of termination. A person reemployed, at the proscribed level during such 30 day period, may remain in the US and the 30 days cycle would restart. The SS card would be invalidated, if, for a period of 30 days, no income is reported to the SS system.
Any person in the US without a valid SS card would considered to be in the country illegally and would be subject to prosecution and deportation subject to their right for a hearing. Any proof which would indicate that their presence in the US would be considered. Failure to produce adequate proof and compliance with the requirements of permanent residency or guest worker would be cause for criminal penalties and/or deportation, as determined by the court.