Bob Barr

Congress must work hand-in-hand with the business community to ensure that “reform” does not result in higher taxes and compliance costs for small businesses, as we are seeing with ObamaCare. Additionally, Congress must take reasonable measures to ensure businesses hire only legal immigrants. However, restraint is needed when implementing some form of “E-Verify” scheme so as not to result in de facto national ID cards, and so we do not force companies, especially small, family-owned businesses, to obtain Uncle Sam’s permission before they hire every employee.

The debate about legal immigration – how to manage it and how to make it work to the benefit of workers, businesses and the country as a whole – is crucial. The Democrats’ focus on “a pathway to citizenship” is and ought to be a non-starter. Citizenship must not be the goal for individuals unlawfully here in the first place. Ironically, citizenship is not the desired goal toward which the majority of those who have unlawfully entered the country aspire. They simply want to work here. How to manage, monitor and enforce such a system, is key.

Potential immigrant registrants must submit to fingerprint and background checks to ensure no criminal record here or in their native land. Further mandatory requirements must include proper and regular registration for appropriate work permits or visas; and a mechanism to ensure periodic compliance checks. The H1-B temporary skilled worker visa numbers need to be increased; and the student visa system needs to be adjusted to retain rather than reject foreign students who comply and develop skills needed for our nation’s economic vitality.

Under this system, the most such an immigrant could achieve would be “green card” status, not citizenship. The benefit to America would be renewed respect for our borders and our legal system, far fuller knowledge of who is within our borders, dramatically enhanced job opportunities for lawful immigrant workers, and a higher and much needed degree of certainty for America’s businesses.

Liberal Democrats like President Obama and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer -- who, along with the liberal advocacy groups who support them, are the real force pushing the notion of citizenship for illegal aliens -- are highly unlikely to ever support such a pro-business, common sense approach as noted here. They much prefer the politically-motivated “Obama-Gration” to meaningful reform. That, however, just might be one of the best reasons to pressure the Congress to pass such measures.

Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.