What Should Congress Do Concerning Immigration Reform?

First of all we must reject the Gang of Eight national immigration bill (S.744) as currently written. It is a replay of 1986 in which the US Congress granted an amnesty for illegal immigrants with only promises to control our borders and more promises to do real enforcement of our laws. The promises were not kept and there is no reason to trust Congress this time. The Gang of Eight bill actually increases legal immigration to two million immigrants each year when we have over 18 million citizens who are either unemployed or cannot find a full-time job. This is nothing less than ridiculous.

It is a both a right and responsibility of our government to manage immigration so that it serves the national interests of the USA, as eloquently spoken by the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and former Chairperson of the US Commission on Immigration Reform. Obviously we need to stop illegal immigration (steps to take on page 2), but we also need to reform legal immigration for our knowledge-based society and have it built upon very high skill-levels and advanced education with the exception of allowing a traditional number of refugees per year. Less legal immigration, almost exclusively based on very high skills and advanced education, would benefit the USA. The key point is advanced skills and education, the smartest of the smart. Outside of some small shortages of STEM workers in spots around the nation, there is no shortage of college educated workers in the USA. One can look at statistics as real proof. And we have over sixteen million citizens who are either unemployed or cannot find a full-time job. In the past we have had too much unskilled legal immigration and illegal immigration. Mass illegal immigration in particular has caused an increase in unemployment and driven down wages for low-skilled citizens and created more poverty. Among the top legal immigrant sending countries of legal immigrants, welfare is the highest for households headed by immigrants from Mexico (57%), Guatemala (55%), and the Dominican Republic (54%).

Should we consider a pathway to citizenship (amnesty in reality) for illegal immigrants? Robert Rector, a senior research fellow of the Heritage Foundation, says legalization of illegal immigrants will cost more than six trillion dollars net over their lifetime for the total public benefits they will be entitled to receive minus taxes paid. How will we really determine the amount of “back taxes” owed by illegal immigrants to the federal government…..under which illegal immigrant’s fake name? How much will this analysis cost the taxpayers? How do we do an effective background check since again illegals have so many aliases? How much will that investigative work cost taxpayers? What is the amount of the so-called fine the illegals will pay? How many would-be legal immigrants waiting in line now would gladly pay a “fine” to be able to jump in the front of the line of others? And the biggest insult is the notion of illegals getting in the back of the line. Is it the end of the line that would-be legal immigrants enter while still in their native country? Or is it the end of an imaginary line inside the USA as if the illegals had green cards? We have a backlog in paperwork and processing today while admitting one million legal immigrants each year, but how is it that we have plenty of time and money to process paperwork for thirteen million illegal immigrants, while at the same time, continuing to admit the one million legal immigrants each year? Isn’t it interesting that those proposing amnesties never mention the punishment that citizens will endure with an amnesty, only the suggested “humanitarian” benefit the illegals will receive? Citizen taxpayers are being punished by having to fund the huge cost of public benefits of illegals and their dependents. And every social services dollar going to illegal immigrants and their dependents is one less dollar going to our own poor, since there is not an unlimited amount of taxpayer money. Low-skilled citizens are punished by lost jobs and driven-down wages due to illegal immigration. How humanitarian is it to keep granting amnesties (since the IRCA amnesty in 1986 the USA has granted six “mini-amnesties”) while would-be legal immigrants wait years and years in line? Any action other than illegal immigrants returning to their native country and getting in the back of the line is in fact an amnesty.

Should consideration be given to the so-called “Dream or Achieve” Act amnesty? Both of these are marketed as helping children of illegal immigrants. Children aren’t really deported. They simply follow and go with their parents. 18-32 year old persons are adults, not children. As young adults, those illegally in the USA can go back to their native country to attend trade school or college and/or work legally. The only persons hurt with such an amnesty are young adult citizens who, one for one (as college is a selection process), will be disenfranchised for every illegal immigrant allowed to enroll in a U.S. college or take a job in the USA.
We need to reduce legal immigration and make it much more advanced education-based AND diverse (ten sending countries hog most of the legal immigration slots). More diversity automatically makes it likely that legal immigrants will learn English and not easily reside in ethnic enclaves in America. Use the opportunity of reforming immigration to do welfare reform at the same time. Reduce legal immigration to a total of 150,000 per year until our high real unemployment rate (use U-6 data per the Dept of Labor) is significantly lowered. Why are we allowing nearly one million legal immigrants to the USA each year to include this year, while over 16 million Americans are either unemployed or want and cannot find a full-time job? Maybe we need to listen to citizens instead of the whining of the US Chamber of Commerce and other cheap labor advocates.

We have no shortage of poorly educated citizens who have done and will do manual labor. The highest unemployment rate is for low-skilled and poorly educated citizens. In the case of agriculture, farmers can legally acquire all of the seasonal migrant workers they want through the H-2A visa program (H-2A’s are unlimited, but temporary). We could certainly improve the process for H-2A visas. We should also insist that farmers mechanize where possible, as this is 2014 not 1914.

Our nation must take action against illegal immigration. There are six million illegal immigrants in non-agricultural jobs in the USA. In short, 96% of illegals are in non-ag jobs. With 18 million Americans unable to find a full-time job, insist on “attrition through enforcement” to combat illegal immigration and require all businesses to use the federal E-Verify system to check new and existing employees. Make sure compliance is enforced. This will free-up several million existing jobs now being held by illegals and, with a slightly tighter labor market, increase wages for our low-skilled citizens and help them become the working instead of the working poor! Continue to implement the federal Real ID Act which makes drivers licenses more secure and prevents illegals from acquiring a driver’s license (also helps with voter ID and national security). Who can stay in the USA mid to long term without a driver’s license and a job? Tighten up our borders and complete dual fences on the southern border in areas more easily crossed (dual fences properly constructed have worked on our southern border). The U.S. Supreme Court allows local law enforcement to be involved in immigration enforcement, so continue to encourage the use the DHS’s Secure Communities program. Complete and implement OBIM, the former US VISIT program, to track who enters and then leaves our nation. One third of illegals are visa overstays who initially came here short term with a visa. In total these actions could free-up many of the six million non-ag jobs being held by illegal immigrants and it drastically reduces illegal immigration. These recommendations should be framed for the general public for what they are: a plan to reduce the unemployment rate, help low-skilled citizens who deserve jobs, protect social services dollars for our own poor, free-up education dollars for our own disadvantaged instead of the dependents of illegal immigrants, and improve homeland security.

To recap, less legal immigration being more skill and advanced education-based will create a scenario in which these high-skilled immigrants will help our economy without increasing the unemployment rate. Using the earlier mentioned “attrition through enforcement” to stop and reduce illegal immigration will give low-skilled citizens of all ethnicities a better chance of getting a job, making more money, and saving some of it. To provide an amnesty for 11-13 million illegal immigrants and allow them to acquire legal status or citizenship is just plain wrong. Polls have shown the American voter in general supports the above measures. Our government should listen to citizens and not the cheap labor interests and ethnic-based advocacy groups.


Ron Woodard
Cary, NC
(919) 460-8156


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