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Immigration

 

 

This country is a nation of immigrants. We owe much of our vitality as a nation to our ability to welcome and assimilate immigrants. 


Our own success as a nation has created a situation in which we find ourselves attracting more immigrants than we are politically willing to accept.  The gradual growth of state supported, social welfare programs in America has also made it economically unsustainable to have essentially open borders.

Our efforts to restrict immigration have led to a vast underground economy of illegal workers. We need a way to control our borders. We also need to find a way to treat both legal and illegal immigrants fairly and put an end to the underground economy of illegal immigrants.

 

A Fair Path Legal Residency


We propose creating a path to legal residency, for existing illegal immigrants, who are employed and have no criminal record. We have not included a path to citizenship because we believe that to be a politically insurmountable hurdle. The quid pro quo for this path is a period of time before full legal residency, during which they will pay a surtax, above their normal taxes, of  20% to federal, state, and local governments. To do otherwise would be unfair to the legal immigrant population.  During this transition period, these immigrants would also be required to remain employed and law abiding or face deportation. Enforcement requires that we make employers liable to verify the immigration status of their employees. The program would be a one time option. Any illegal immigrant who had not registered for the program within six months of its initiation would be subject to deportation.

  

We, also, believe that the U.S. should establish a formal guest worker program that would allow workers to enter the U.S. and work for a fixed period of time and then return home.


In addition, the refundable health care tax credit, explained elsewhere in this platform, would only be available to citizens and legal residents. Illegal residents, on the path to acquiring full legal status, would be required to purchase health care insurance on their own, unless provided by their employers. Failure to do so would also be grounds for deportation. During the transition period the children of immigrants in the program would be eligible for public education at all levels, with the same rights as legal permanent residents.


If we adopt this approach, it should reduce the demand for illegally immigrating into the U.S. and provide a reasonable basis for transitioning to a fully legal work force.  In general, this would not require mass deportation becasue most individuals would self-deport if they could not find employment.


Special Skills and Immigration


America disadvantages itself in a number of ways by restricting the ability of those with valuable skills in science and technology from immigrating to the U.S. This is particularly true for those who have received advanced degrees in the U.S. and then have to leave. We believe that we should expand immigration opportunities for this source of talent. This approach is consistent with a more "merit" based approach to immigration similar to that adopted by Canada.


Sanctuary Cities


The dispute over "Sanctuary Cities,"  is largely a product of our inability to reach a reasonable compromise on the issues of granting legal status to illegal immigrants. Local authorities fear that undocumented residents my be reluctant to cooperate with the police in solving non-immigration based crimes if they fear being deported. Those who want local law enforcement to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), fear that without this cooperation criminal illegal immigrants, including gang members, may elude the legal system. What evidence there is one the question appears to indicate that crime rates in Sanctuary cities are not higher than in those who do not adopt this approach.


From a completely separate perspective imposing the responsibility on local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law is an example of imposing another unfunded mandate on state and local governments. As such conservatives should oppose imposing this obligation on local governments.


We believe that the proposals outlined above for granting legal status to those who are currently here illegally but who have no serious criminal record would make the issue of sanctuary cities effectively moot.


 


 

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