Immigration Reform

By Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa, (On Twitter) @c_tamirisa

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Issue

Reforming immigration, a Federal prerogative, because foreigners are admitted into the country by the United States through the Department of State for reasons of public diplomacy and other strategic purposes, not by the individual states.

Relevance to the People

Immigration to the United States has become a source of frustration for the American people because of: (a) unlawful entry of foreigners, particularly from across the Mexican border south of the Rio Grande river; (b) the smuggling of narcotics and other legally prohibited substances of abuse; (c) the rise in violent crime as a result; (d) lack of rigorous entry and period of stay procedures for legal migrants on visas resulting in events such as 9/11; (e) dissatisfaction among legal migrants to the United States because of longer wait times; (f) hindrances for employers to source scarce skills in the global labor market to better leverage the global production chain; and (g) the impact of both illegal and legal migration on the social safety net, social cohesion and stability because of state-Federal incoherence as evidenced in Arizona and California and increasingly so in other states across the country.

What the Congress and the White House should do?

(a) Replace all local, state and Federal identification documents with a biometric national identification document with safeguards for abuses of civil liberties. The national ID is an idea from the Reagan administration attributed to Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson. The national ID: (1) has the potential to significantly reduce costs to government for the provisioning of public services and social safety net services at all levels of government; (2) can be used by the Department of State as a visa document for admitting both legal non-immigrants and permanent residents; and (3) can be used for employment eligibility verification.

(b) All migrants without a US national ID must be subjected to humanitarian, unbureaucratic deportation proceedings and asked to politely apply for a visa at the embassies in their home countries to re-enter the United States legally, their illegality bearing no repercussions for legal re-entry based on established transparent criteria for admittance, unless they did not obey other laws, civil and criminal, while in the country illegally.

(c) The Department of State must simplify the various types of visas, transferable between types both within and outside the United States, to group them into: (a) non-immigrant tourist for no more than 6 months for each visit; (b) non-immigrant student unassociated with any specific educational institution for duration of stay but subject to student admission/transfer reporting and renewal requirements both by the educational institution and the student; (c) non-immigrant worker unassociated with any specific employer for duration of stay subject to employment/employer transfer reporting and renewal requirements both by the employee and employer; (d) immigrant permanent resident; (e) intra-company transfer; (f) diplomat.

(d) The Department of Labor must produce monthly statistics of labor scarcity in the various occupations and require American employers desiring to hire foreign workers on work visas to post those jobs at and through US embassies abroad to source workers. American corporations must prove that the labor scarcity within the borders of the United States is persistent in any given occupation. Annual ceiling on work visas must be removed.

(e) The Constitution must be amended to make English the language of the United States government.

(f) Proficiency in the English language must be a requirement for receiving permanent residency.

(g) Permanent Resident visas must only be issued to legal migrants who commit to becoming US citizens within 10 years (subject to revocation and transfer to non-immigrant visas if not in compliance) after the minimum citizenship waiting periods from the date of receiving permanent residency based on their work in the military (3 years) or marriage to US citizens (2 years) or the current standard wait time of 5 years for the rest.

(h) Only US citizens must be eligible to receive public services, including public education, and social safety net benefits.

(i) Payroll taxes must not be collected from foreigners in the United States on both non-immigrant visas and permanent resident visas.

(j) All non-citizens must be prohibited from participating in the political process including making campaign contributions.

(k) Dual and multiple citizenships must be discontinued. The United States must require renunciation of foreign citizenship before admitting foreigners as US citizens.

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