29 March, 2006

A Chinaman's Chance

Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.

And so Judeo-Christian history takes off--with an immigrant. It's safe to say that leaving one's homeland in search of a better life is not a new concept. The United States was built on immigration, as anyone will rush to tell you. Irishmen fleeing the potato famine were girded for Civil War, and Chinese who took the boats eastward handled the dynamite when building the railroads. In both cases it took decades for those self-sacrificing people to realise their place as rightful Americans alongside the English, Dutch and French who had the fortune to have fled their famines and civil wars a century earlier. Until 1882, all immigration was legal. Since that time our immigration policy has been constantly evolving as it tries to adapt to the shifting economic, political and social geoclimate. As I see it, it's about time for another evolution of our Immigration Law.

No Wall. I keep hearing about a proposed Wall along our Southern border. Something about this makes me see spots. It's a bit too Maginot/Berlin don't you think? I still remember our drunken jubilation at the Little U.N. in Indianapolis when the Berlin Wall came down. It seems ridiculous to now propose that the Land Of The Free build its own monument to NOKD exclusion.

Increased Border Patrol. More bodies guarding the border means a less porous border. It also means greater border intelligence. There are alot of things a guy in a uniform notices and remembers that a large block of cement can't record.

Increased Pentalty for Businesses That Hire Illegal Immigrants. Take away a business' profit motive and watch how quickly they'll comply with the law.

Work/Study Immigration Plans For those who can't afford the cash-up-front fees to emigrate under our current laws, establish a program whereby they can work a number of years to pay the fees required for full legalisation. Until they acheive full legal status, grant them a partial work visa status. It keeps our labour force inside the borders, gives them a long range goal and allows for greater familiarity of the incoming persons. That'll be good for our security.

Reimburse a portion of the costs of immigration paid by all legal immigrants. Should any immigration "amnesty" reforms be enacted to legalise those currently here illegally I think it's only fair that we pay back some of the money spent by those who had the good sense to play by the rules.

Remove all Federal Withholding from Everybody. I've advocated this before, but I think it is the most essential and most often overlooked key to immigration reform. As long as there is a system of enforced collection in place, those who comply will resent those who do not. We've got a problem with businesses paying people "under the table". So. Remove the table. Pay everyone what they're worth and let them handle their taxation directly with the government. And I mean everything. Most workers are surprised to learn that it costs their employer an average of 40% more to employ them than the worker sees on his paycheck. So remove the burden of a fractured payroll from the businesses entirely. Gone will be the incentive to retain off-books workers. Everyone will be off the books, and the builder can worry about building homes, not playing Nanny for the Federal government.

I'm sure these ideas aren't perfect, but they should be a start. I want to see people have a better life. I want it to be easier than it was for all those who gave their lives to live here. But I want it all done within the bounds of the law.


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