A comprehensive solution to immigration issues

A comprehensive solution to immigration issues

Immigration is an issue that has torn this nation apart for far too long.
We need to reach a comprehensive solution that resolves the issues relating to those here illegally, strengthens our borders, ensures a strong vetting process and monitoring of those who seek to enter the country on a visa, and respects the rights of lawful immigrants.
As a nation of immigrants, America has always been a beacon of hope for those who seek
freedom and justice. That must never change. Immigrants are an essential and vibrant part of the American saga.
The vast majority of those who come to America leave everything they know behind to give their children a better life. Most, naturally want to cling to their own traditions, but their children want to learn the ways of their American friends.
We must also address the reality that we have millions here illegally, yet be mindful that for years we did not enforce our laws, largely because of businesses’ desire for a ready, cheap labor force.
Something else has happened over the past 50 years: legal immigration rates have significantly increased our immigrant population from around 5 percent in 1970 to 14 percent today.
The immigrant workforce – legal and otherwise – while supplying businesses with reliable labor, has allowed us to ignore deep problems that have developed in American culture among those who lack more than a high school diploma. This additional workforce also tends to suppress wages of working Americans, which have remained stagnant over the last 40 years, despite enormous gains in worker productivity.
Today in America, there are an estimated 10 to 12 million Americans of working age who are neither working nor looking for work. Some key reasons are: untreated mental illness, addiction, lack of a work ethic or a felony record that makes it hard to find a job.
We are supporting them and their children through our government aid programs, and their absence from the workforce hampers economic expansion. Worse yet, their children often struggle academically and themselves fail to learn a work ethic, and, importantly, personal
responsibility.
Unless we address their plight, those of the generations who follow us will not be able to afford the monetary or the societal costs they will bear.
All this means that we must address the pressing and divisive issues of immigration in a way that is humanitarian and also respects our laws and its borders. I support these tough but sensible measures:
1. A grace period of 12 months for every adult in the nation illegally to apply for permission to remain working in the country, without a path to citizenship – the price of illegal entry – so long as they hold jobs and have no felony record.
2. Strengthening border security with continued development of the decade-long border fencing program, smart walls and increased numbers of border agents.
3. Institution of federal laws making it a crime to hire an illegal alien, imposed against a company’s CEO, with the first offense constituting a misdemeanor-level offense, but the second a felony level crime, with a defense for any company that used E-Verify showing lawful status.
4. Enacting laws that allow those who came here as children of those here illegally to remain in this country and apply for citizenship if they meet basic requirements and have no felony record.
5. Reducing the number of legal immigrants over the next decade and at the same time focusing on efforts to restore adult Americans not in the workforce to working status, so that they are supporting themselves and their children.
If we’re serious about ending illegal immigration, let’s show it by enacting and enforcing stronger laws that honor legal immigration but safeguard our borders and nation.