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It's a Gray Area: There's an easy fix for immigration

March 02, 2013|By James P. Gray

One of the easiest problem areas to resolve is our failed immigration system.

In fact, had the politicians really wanted to fix this system, they would have done it decades ago.

The problem is that they don't want to. Why? Because some powerful Republicans continue to want the cheap labor; and some powerful Democrats want large numbers of people to continue to enter the country, because eventually they will vote for Democrats.

But this situation has resulted in severe and unnecessary harm being inflicted upon millions of people.

I never get upset at people who come here illegally because they are only doing what our ancestors did: They have come here — often at significant peril and expense — to work hard and thus have a better life for themselves and their children. Furthermore, I try never to use the term "illegal immigrant," because people are never illegal. So, although imperfect, I find the term "undocumented workers" to be more appropriate.

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But now there does seem to be a change in the political winds, such that politicians are beginning to talk seriously about fixing this broken and heartless system. And it's about time.

How can it be fixed? In three steps.

First, our government should issue work permits to anyone who wants them. The process will simply require the payment of an appropriate administrative fee and a background check for criminal, disease and mental health problems. In addition, if the applicants can show that they can provide financially for their family members, they can bring them too. But no one here under this system will qualify for things like welfare, non-emergency medical care, etc.

Second, everyone who is issued a work permit, as well as their family members, will be furnished an identification card that cannot be counterfeited. Technology now easily makes this possible through fingerprints or the iris of one's eyes.

Third, any company or person that hires anyone that is not a citizen or holder of a valid green card or work permit will be subject to prosecution. Today's system of identification is so filled with holes and fraud that it is inappropriate to punish employers for non-compliance.

There will be a phase-in period, maybe a year, for everyone to adjust to and comply with this new system. But thereafter, anyone present in our country illegally will face permanent banishment.

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