The Immigration issue is not one single issue, but a series of decisions, actions, and policies to build for a better future. No matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on, that is a simple common ground of agreement. So let’s deal with this in a series of discussions.
The first is a fairly simple one- legal vs. illegal immigration. Most people who come here legally, through proper channels, or/and are brought in for their specific set of skills or education are not the discussion. It is a painfully long and costly process, which is a separate issue since it increases the likelihood of someone choosing an illegal avenue. Also, the illegal avenue- although might be most commonly seen as a “build a wall” Hispanic issue, that is not the case. There are people coming in via boat, across from Canada, or across the Mexican border who are not Hispanic but simply using that route as a path of entry.
Second, the rate or access of illegal immigration is more simple decision- build the wall to completeness, put troops or technology in place to patrol, use diplomacy to increase Mexico’s legitimate help on their side of the border, involve military personnel- DHS technology and multi-government intelligence coordinated input. Remember, as you do this it will put tremendous strain on several industries that currently use (knowingly or unknowingly) illegal immigrants. The cost of what those industries put out WILL go up- you will pay more for landscaping, more for food in restaurants, more for produce and textiles, etc. - Period. Also, the jobs these people do are, for the most part, not jobs typical Americans have or do want. Would you want to be the cheap manual labor? Would you want to be the low man (woman) in the food chain? They do it because it is a step up from where they come from. Americans would do it as a step down based on what they know as normal.
Third, what do you do with the current illegal immigrants in America? Amnesty- do you reward illegal behavior? They currently get benefits like schooling and health care which drains our public funds. Deport them- that would cause a witch hunt of people based on profile or “tips” to law enforcement. Cut off their benefits? Is there the political will (you know how much courage of “leaders” have) to get this done if we believe it to be the best choice?
Fourth, the Federal Government is responsible for the policing of immigration- Period. The fact, that they do not enforce and represent us, does not give states the right to be creative with immigration policy on their own. The States should sue the US Government and force their hands through the courts. This is not a choice to implement but a need to protect our culture, our costs, and our safety (both nationally on a Terrorism level, and on a local crime basis). This is another failure in leadership.
Fifth, once we stop the “cheap labor” coming into our country, we will need to account for that dynamic shift in how we value labor and inflation. Think about the total upward shift on labor costs and the need to produce at a level to protect margins, this would be a major skew in time on how we track labor, cost increase metrics, and fight for cheap labor.
Idea- Amnesty, with a twist, is the best policy. Not because it rewards bad behavior (although that would happen incidentally), but the simple truth is these people currently fill a role in our culture or fabric of society. We cannot tear apart out without hurting surrounding pieces of that culture. The best solution I can think of is to streamline a way to get them legally into our culture, let them pay for the benefits they receive, expect them to behave in the mainstream of our society, and penalize them with loss of citizenship for failing to stay in that norm. If someone who is illegal becomes legal, why can’t we put a “lien” on that status that holds them accountable for their behaviors? IF they behave illegal (felony convictions), don’t prosecute sentence to jail time- revoke their status and deport them. Even a temporary lien (say 5-10 years), this would balance the equation of rewarding the bad behavior of coming here illegally with the incentive to have solid habits that support our culture without the pain tearing them out of the fabric of society.
Side note- this will never go away. No matter what steps we take, the people who want to get in will counter. We need to always police, always enforce, and yet always look to remedy the inadequacies of the policies which are in currently in place with an eye toward tomorrow in a just and systemized way.