In Support of the Undocumented

Let me start by saying the Arizona law is just stupid, invites racial profiling and is probably unconstitutional.  It’s bad for Arizona and bad for the country as other states try to take matters into their own hands like vigilantes.  Building walls won’t stem the flow of the undocumented across the borders.  Deportation won’t help – people will come back.   Incarceration makes little sense.  Jails are overcrowded as it is.

The solution is comprehensive immigration reform.  But hear me out.  I’m not just throwing down talking points.  My idea of immigration reform is simple.  Tear down the walls.  Open the borders.  Let anyone who wants to work cross, for a fee of course.  Let the states get the money the border crosser would have had to pay a “coyote”.   No criminals.  No drugs.  No guns.   Think of the border like an airport.  You have to purchase a ticket to get in.  Get searched.  Have bags x-rayed.  Even random body scans.  We have the technology.  Why not put it to use?  Once here, the now documented immigrant would have to have a sponsor and be required to get a job within a certain period of time.   Families welcome as long as they have some means of support.  As documented immigrants, they’d be free to travel to whatever state they like for work.   This would take the burden off the border states.  Don’t think that all border crossers want to live in California, Arizona and Texas.  Maine is nice, Arkansas too.  Montana is big.  Florida has great weather, South Carolina nice beaches.   Massachusetts has lots of history; Idaho lots of potatoes – Jersey is a garden paradise with the Big Apple just across the way.

Now there would have to be a quota system.  A certain number per year.  It couldn’t be just a mad rush across the border.  Also, those currently living in the states without papers would have a chance to adjust their status.  They’d have to show they can support their family or have a sponsor.  They’d have to pass a criminal background check too, and pay a fee.

Legalizing takes the criminal element of smuggling out of the equation.  It keeps people from taking dangerous risks, often ending in death, to get across the border undetected.  And I’d go one step further.  Legalize pot.  Tax it like cigarettes and alcohol.   This would take a chunk of the market out of the hands of the drug cartels.  Reduce the demand in the U.S. for hard drugs like heroin and cocaine with intensive drug education campaigns and expanded treatment programs for addicts.   Lets put the drug cartels out of business.

One thing to remember.  Undocumented immigrants are here and here to stay.  It would be impossible to find and deport them all.  In fact, it would damage our country irreparably.  We are a nation of immigrants, not just of some immigrants or the right immigrants.  And don’t forget that undocumented immigrants do pay taxes.  They do buy food, pay rent, shop at local businesses, work the fields, clean buildings and hotels, bus tables, care for children, work construction.  And many who perform unskilled labor every day are doctors, engineers, architects and entrepreneurs in their native country and would thrive here and contribute tremendously to society if given the chance.   And they do pay sales taxes, property taxes, tolls, parking tickets and a great many pay income tax with a tax identification number. Immigrants also send money back to their families helping to keep their native countries economically stable.  Children of immigrants, many of whom are high school valedictorians are being denied a chance at higher education.  A mind really is a terrible thing to waste.

We are a big nation, a nation of immigrants.  There’s room for all who want to work and live the American dream.

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