America's sovereignty, borders, and immigration

an op-ed by
Ruth McClung
June 21, 2010

America welcomes legal immigration, but to keep our sovereignty and protect the people of the United States, Congress has the responsibility towards our citizens, to secure our borders and enforce our laws. It is unsustainable and dangerous to have open borders and allow just anyone to enter.

I have been studying our country's immigration laws. I don't claim to be an expert, but it seems to me the United States has some decent immigration laws already. Let's enforce these laws, and then see what our country needs to improve.

Legal Entry
America's jobs should always be offered to our citizens first, but a secure Guest Worker Program would benefit both our country and help hard working guest workers. By definition, a guest worker is different from a normal legal immigrant. Guest workers come across our border to do seasonal, temporary, and low skill labor, not to live here long term.

A Guest Worker Program should not be complicated. We have the technology now to have a computerized picture ID card for guest workers so we won't have people staying in our country illegally. A person can swipe the card when they enter our country and swipe it again when they leave. When someone reports for work, they can show their picture ID to their employer. Many workers, including myself, have to do this when they enter their place of work. I also believe that cleaning out some of our system's bureaucracy will streamline both a Guest Worker Program and normal immigration.

Illegal Immigration and Protect our Borders
Constitutionally, our Federal Government's main job is to protect the security of our nation. It is impossible to provide this security and enforce our immigration laws, when our border is so porous. I have seen night videos of huge crowds climbing over our border fence and running every which way once they get across. Many of these people just want to work, but some have malicious motives (terrorism, human trafficking and slavery, drug trafficking, etc.). On my tour of the border west of Nogales, the Border Patrol Local 2544 showed me firsthand why more border agents are also needed. California already has double the agents Arizona has per mile of border. The National Guard could also be used to do some of the scouting work. As a scientist I know there are new technologies that could aid the border patrol in stopping the flow of illegal immigrants entering our country. We need to work with and not against the people on the front lines to find out what works and not waste money and time on what does not work. We must secure our borders!

As long as there are incentives to cross the border, people will continue to cross. Ending these incentives will help turn the problem around. Here are some ideas:

  • We need to stop employers from hiring illegal workers. This will include large fines. The taxpayers in our country are paying for the cost; they should be able to recoup it. We should also make e-verify more capable of catching false identities.
  • Entitlements need to be stopped for illegal immigrants. Arizona struggles with meeting its financial responsibilities already, and paying for other countries' citizens is unsustainable.
  • The Federal government needs to get serious about fighting the drug cartels.
  • Border Patrol and law enforcement need to be able to patrol and protect on all US land including all Federal and state lands.

When it comes to the people already in our country illegally: I do not support amnesty. They broke our law and should not be rewarded. I also do not support rounding them up because it is not practical financially and logistically, and it would be an intrusive government bureaucracy that would spill over and infringe on our citizens' rights. President Eisenhower enforced our immigration laws and deported some illegal immigrants. Most of the 3 million illegal immigrants who left during his Administration however, left on their own accord when they realized our government was going to enforce its laws. (This is already happening in Arizona from SB 1070.)

Currently there are now over 12 million people in our country illegally, and they are living all over our country, not just in the Southwest. How do we handle this problem? I do not pretend to have the perfect answer to this problem. However, I believe we need to be willing to reasonably talk about this and come up with a solution. Since I don't believe in amnesty or rounding up all the illegal immigrants, I would be open to any reasonable solution that would take these views into consideration. Here are several avenues I have thought about that might solve this problem.

  • Secure our border and keep it secure, stop incentives, and enforce our immigration and labor laws, then many would go home as happened under Eisenhower. If any of these people break the law in any other way, then we should actively deport them after punishment. We will still have some in the shadows but I believe the problem would solve itself over time.
  • Another idea would be: Secure our borders! Give the illegal immigrants a grace period where they can leave our country without a fine or jail time. Then the ones who decide to stay have to register, by acquiring a picture ID card. This one time opportunity card would only be given to illegal immigrants already in this country. The card isn't to start another immigration avenue. This card will cost a fee, and must be renewed every year with a fee. I believe this fee should go to the state they are living in. This card will allow them to stay in this country but get no entitlements. It will allow them to work if there are jobs (always giving preference to citizens first) and they will pay taxes. If they don't register within 6 months and keep registering every year then they should be deported. If they have a criminal record or commit a crime they should be punished for the crime and deported.

If they want a path to citizenship, they will need to leave the country, get in line, and come back through our legal immigration process. As a country we need to come up with an avenue that would ensure that people married to a citizen could get legal status in a reasonable time. I believe this is important to keep immediate families together. However, I don't believe this should be given to extended family members.

America is a generous nation, but America needs to first and foremost take care of its own citizens and protect its own sovereignty.




Ruth McClung for US Congress Arizona CD 7



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