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Illegal Aliens

(NOTE: this rant assumes that the illegal alien situation is something that we actually want to correct. I am not dealing with the issue of quotas or how many people should be allowed to immigrate – this rant is only about people in the US illegally.) 

Disclosure: My maternal grandparents and paternal great great grandparents were legal immigrants to the US.

I’ve been listening to the debates about the whole illegal alien issue for a few months now, and I’ve finally hit capacity. Rant:

First of all, lets get our terminology straight: they are Illegal aliens – not “undocumented workers” or “undocumented immigrants”. Using PC terminology to hide the fact that these people are here illegally is simply a lie.

Next, the simple fact is that every single person that enters the US illegally is a felon. They have broken federal law. If they have gotten a job, they have become a felon twice over (at least). This kinda blows away the argument that illegals don’t contribute to crime, doesn’t it? With 10 to 15 million (that’s the low estimate of numbers of illegals here now) additional felons in America, they *are* making a significant contribution to crime.

So, what do we do about all these felons? The simple “ship them back wherever they came from” method is unrealistic – we can’t send them back fast enough to make a difference. We can’t throw them in jail – we don’t have enough room for our own criminals. We know that the current laws don’t keep them out, so something new is needed – but what?

How ’bout some starting points:

  1. If someone is here illegally, they are a felon. Accept it, and treat them as such. If you’re an illegal, and you get caught, you get the felon label. This means you will lose access to many social programs (Social security disability for one), and if/when you do finally attempt to become a legal citizen, it will be more difficult.
  2. If you are here illegally now, don’t expect a free pardon. We tried that once already, and all it did was encourage more illegals to come here. Either accept the fact that you’re a felon (and will be treated as such), or get your fuzzy little butt back where you came from, and find some way to get here legally.
  3. There are legal ways for people to enter the US. They are used all the time by honest law-abiding people. We have quotas on immigration for a reason. Just because you don’t agree with them is no reason for us to let you ignore our laws.
  4. If we are going to make a real attempt to resolve the illegal immigration issue, we need to do something to make it truly unpleasant for the people that enter the US illegally. If there is a strong dis-incentive for people to enter the US illegally, fewer of them will do so. The more unpleasant the results, the fewer illegals there will be.

So, the tough nut: What do we do about illegals that are already here, and what do we do to keep the situation from continuing to spin out of control?

For the ones that are already here, a couple of fairly simple options have been presented. Here are the ones I like:

A simple process is put into place for a fixed period of time. This is the “amnesty” program. It does the following:

  1. You are tagged as a felon.
  2. You pay a fine of $x,000 per year that you were here illegally.
  3. You pay all back taxes, including penalties, for the entire time you were here (assuming you worked)
  4. You pay back the actual cost of all social programs you collected while here illegally.
  5. You prove that you can speak English well enough to communicate effectively.
  6. You meet all of the citizenship requirements that a legal immigrant would have to meet.
  7. Once all of the above requirements have been met, you become a legal US citizen.
  8. There is a time limit to meet the requirements – if you don’t meet it, you are sent back where you came from, where you can apply for legal re-entry. If you are accepted, you must still meet all  of the above requirements.

I know this sounds harsh, but if an illegal doesn’t like this path, they can always go back. Of course, there needs to be an incentive for the illegals to actually participate in this program, so there needs to be some pretty severe repercussions if they don’t. Once the “amnesty program” expires, an illegal will face the following:

  1. First offence:
    1. Any assets you have are seized to offset the cost of your prosecution and deportation.  Any excess funds will be used to offset the costs of running the amnesty program.
    2. You are tagged as an illegal immigrant, and will be denied any legal entry to the US in the future.
    3. You are returned to your home country.
  2. Second (and future) offences:
    1. You are enrolled in a “work program” for 5 years (an additional 5 years is added for each subsequent offence – 2nd=10 years etc). The work program will allow you to work in the jobs that “Americans are unwilling to do”.
    2. You will be housed in a closed community (low-security prison), and your wages will be used to offset the cost of your upkeep.
    3. “Escape” from the camp will result in federal prosecution as a federal fugitive (prison escapee). If convicted, you will be moved to the federal prison system. Your time in the federal prison system will be your sentence for escaping plus any time left on your work camp sentence.
    4. At the conclusion of your sentence, you are deported.
  3. Multiple repeat offenders will skip the work program, and be moved directly to the federal prison system.

Draconian? I dunno. History has shown pretty clearly that illegals come here – presumably because the situation here is better than wherever they come from. If we truly want to discourage illegal entry, we need to figure out a way to make it unappealing. The reality is that our economy (for now) is better than the economies of most of our southern neighbors (where most illegals come from). As long as that is the case, there is a reason for them to come. It is silly to think that we should adjust our economy to match theirs, or to think that because we have a better economy we are obligated to support them. Because we cannot remove the draw, we need to find some other way to balance the equation so that they think twice about coming here illegally. If the penalty for getting caught eliminates the advantages of coming here, we will help eliminate the reasons for illegal immigration.

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