Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rand Paul's Common Sense Immigration Reform Proposal

As an immigrant myself (who is also married to another immigrant), I'm obviously naturally pro-immigration.  But, I've never really liked the idea of allowing the hordes of people who are coming over the border to just get amnesty, citizenship and hence welfare payments just for showing up.  I'm also well aware that every time we grant amnesty, it doesn't solve the problem at all as it just incentivizes more to come over the border as we refuse to secure it (making many border states quite dangerous I might add).  The gang of 8 proposal, as Byron York points out, focuses on immediate legalization for illegals already here and only then deals with border security.  Rand Paul's, conversely, deals with border security first and only then allows legalization in a measured manner.  Therefore, if the border starts getting porous again, no more visas for illegals.  I think this is a great compromise that should garner the support of most conservatives.  All our families were immigrants to this country at one point or another after all.  

Here are some key excerpts from Rand Paul's great speech on immigration.  I only focus on the policy portions here, be sure to read the whole thing, it is clear he is speaking from the heart and from his own personal experience.  I also like how he is linking education reform with all this as well.  School choice is something that anyone who has children trapped in failing schools will want:

The first part of my plan – border security – must be certified by Border Patrol and an Investigator General and then voted on by Congress to ensure it has been accomplished.

This is what I call, Trust but Verify.

With this in place, I believe conservatives will accept what needs to come next, an issue that must be addressed: what becomes of the 12 million undocumented workers in the United States?

My plan is very simple and will include work visas for those who are here, who are willing to come forward and work.

A bipartisan panel would determine number of visas per year. High tech visas would also be expanded and have a priority. Special entrepreneurial visas would also be issued.

Fairness is key in any meaningful immigration reform, but this fairness would cut both ways:

The modernization of our visa system and border security would allow us to accurately track immigration.

It would also enable us to let more people in and allow us to admit we are not going to deport the millions of people who are currently here illegally.

This is where prudence, compassion and thrift all point us toward the same goal: bringing these workers out of the shadows and into being taxpaying members of society.

Imagine 12 million people who are already here coming out of the shadows to become new taxpayers.12 million more people assimilating into society. 12 million more people being productive contributors.

Conservatives, myself included, are wary of amnesty. My plan will not grant amnesty or move anyone to the front of the line.

But what we have now is de facto amnesty.

The solution doesn't have to be amnesty or deportation-a middle ground might be called probation where those who came illegally become legal through a probationary period.

My plan will not impose a national ID card or mandatory E-Verify, forcing businesses to become policemen.

We should not be unfair to those who came to our country legally. Nor should we force business owners to become immigration inspectors-making them do the job the federal government has failed to do.

After an Inspector General has verified that the border is secure after year one, the report must come back and be approved by Congress.

In year two, we could begin expanding probationary work visas to immigrants who are willing to work. I would have Congress vote each year for five years whether to approve or not approve a report on whether or not we are securing the border.

We should be proud that so many want to come to America, that it is still seen as the land of opportunity.

Let's make it a land of legal work, not black market jobs. Let's make it a land of work not welfare. Our land should be one of assimilation, not hiding in the shadows.

On immigration, common sense and decency have been neglected for far too long. Let's secure our borders, welcome our new neighbors, and practice the values of freedom and family for all to see.

Some say to generalize about any ethnic group is be a racist.  There is a hilarious Seinfeld episode where Jerry admits that he loves Asian women but he frets and worries,  "Is it racist to like a certain race?"

So it is with trepidation that I express my admiration for the romance of the latin culture.  I am a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

In Love in the Time of Cholera, Marquez gives some advice that Republicans might consider,

". . . human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, . . . life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves."

Likewise, Republicans need to give birth to a new attitude toward immigrants, an attitude that sees immigrants as assets not liabilities.

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