The immigration issue is a complex one, as is this question. It cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” An explanation is required. Immigration has always been a good thing, bringing new ideas, perspectives, and talents to our country. Illegal immigration, however, is one of the biggest drags on our economy.
There should be no incentives in this country for people to immigrate illegally. Offering amnesty or the various DREAM acts proposed throughout the country, or giving in-state tuition to illegals, or even allowing illegals to rent housing and have jobs in this country are all incentives promoting illegal immigration. Granting citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants only encourages illegal immigration. But addressing these issues alone would not solve the problem; we need a comprehensive immigration reform package. Tough border security and law enforcement coupled with a modernized immigration system and an approach that welcomes and encourages legal immigration are key to solve the problem.
Immigration law needs to be amended and streamlined to make it easier for people to enter this country legally. With modern technology, there is no reason we can’t receive an application, run a background check, and if there is no criminal history, issue a Visa the same day. Immigration offices should be coordinated with workforce development offices to ensure that no one crosses the border to stay permanently unless they have secured a job. Learning English within a year of receiving the Visa should be a requirement for entry. If we allowed only immigrants who had secured a job prior to entering the country, we could levy a temporary tax on their payroll checks to fund the English language program.
A REAL, physical wall should be built along our border with Mexico, and illegal immigrants who break the law here should be sent back to their home country to serve jail sentences. The United States cannot afford to jail the criminals of other countries; we have enough of our own. A deal could possibly be made in which the United States would build and fund the up front costs for a prison along Mexico’s border to house illegal immigrants, and the Mexican government would take over control and management after the U.S. finishes constructing it. It should be a jailable offense to be in this country illegally. It should be a separate jailable offense for an illegal immigrant to seek work, housing, or education.
Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana for personal use should be legal in the United States. This would be a huge step in reducing border violence and drug wars in our border states. Marijuana is a multi-million dollar industry, and drug cartels are more than willing to kill, kidnap, and resort to other means of violence to secure this income. Legalizing marijuana in this country would put an end to the demand for imported marijuana from Mexico and end a revenue source for drug cartels and Mexican gangs. The revenue gained from legalizing marijuana could be used to help fund the English language program, the workforce development program, or for border security. Money could also be used to help curb the hard drug problem, or to pay down the deficit.
In short, the United States needs to welcome non-criminal immigrants as equal members who have an opportunity to better their own lives while contributing to the greatness of our country. If we made it easier to get in the country legally than it is to get in illegally, we would encourage legal immigration.