Thursday, February 15, 2007

Immigration And Citizenship

The debate about illegal immigration is never ending. The majority consensus is that we have to lock down the border in order to curb the massive influx from Mexico. That's all good and well, but what do we do with the 18 million illegals that are already here?

Those on the left seem to be in favor of complete amnesty, allowing those already here to become citizens, or to at least accelerate the process. President Bush seems to think that a guest worker program is the solution, allowing those already here to perform jobs that (supposedly) most American's won't do and to have a quicker path to citizenship. Those on the far right think that every last person who is here illegally should be charged with a felony and then deported. The reality is that there is no easy answer to this dilemma.

Amnesty is not an option. We can't reward those who have broken the law with automatic citizenship. What does this say to all those who are trying to come in to our country legally? A guest worker program might help curb the flow of illegals, but those jobs Americans supposedly don't want are actually being filled by Americans after the illegals are busted in the workplace. Automatic felony convictions and deportation is completely unrealistic. The cost to the American tax payer would be astronomical, and trying to round up and deport 18 million people, many of whom have been here for years would be a practical impossibility.

So what is the solution? There is no perfect answer to this question. One of the major complaints about the hispanic influx is that they are not acclimating to American culture and society, they are trying to maintain their own cultural identity and bypassing the melting pot.

Here's my idea for the problem. Allow those illegals to gain citizenship automatically if they will volunteer for military duty for a period of two years or more. This would serve a three fold purpose.

A. They would have to learn English and become acclimatized to American culture, proving that they do want to become citizens and not just migrant workers.
B. It would teach disciple and responsibility.
C. It would help to build up our armed forces and increase the security of our country.

With this plan the immediate dependents of the newly enlisted already in America would gain some type of visitor or worker card, and an accelerated path to citizenship. All those found who refuse to participate would be deported.

I know it's not a perfect plan, there's probably numerous holes in it that I have not thought of yet. However, at least it's a plan that would not grant undeserved amnesty, it's not automatic deportation to everyone here illegally, and it takes into account the many families who are here and have nothing to go back home to.

I'd love to hear some feedback on this, pros, cons, alternative ideas, etc.