Solving the Immigration Puzzle

Bruce Bialosky

6/16/2013 12:01:00 AM - Bruce Bialosky

Many people are very optimistic regarding the possibility of a comprehensive immigration bill passing through Congress and being signed by the President. The prospects are good, but there are many stumbling blocks ahead. If we heed a couple of simple principles, we will be able to revamp a broken system that does not serve the American people.

There are many challenges that have developed in the 27 years since we last passed a comprehensive law to deal with immigration. We have an almost nonexistent ability to track people who come here on restricted visas and do not comply with the terms of those visas. Too many people of all ethnicities overstay their welcome. How we choose who gets legal immigration needs to be revamped. Too many people coming here become wards of the state. People bellow that these immigrants do not receive government benefits, but they do. When the federal government is awarding states bonuses for handing out food stamps (SNAP -- or as it is gently called in California – Cal Fresh), strict enforcement is not in the cards.

The entire matter hinges on two issues and this has not changed for a decade of more: what are we doing about border enforcement and what are we going to do about the millions of people already here illegally? If we cannot come to a reasonable agreement on these two issues, then there will be no immigration reform.

Let us start by debunking a consistent mantra among the left-wing press. They often say conservatives don’t want immigration reform. Where they come up with this garbage is beyond me, but we suspect that what they mean is conservatives do not want immigration reform as written by the left-wing of the Democratic Party; thus they don’t really want immigration reform. That could not be further from the truth. Just about everyone realizes we have a system that needs significant revamping.

We will have no new law without effective new border security. It is clear that nothing has changed on this major point. The main problem comes from the southern border. We need to do a lot more than we are doing now no matter what rhetoric comes from the Obama Administration and its allies. The decision cannot and will not be in the hands of Homeland Security. Whether it is Janet Napolitano or her successor, they should not have final say. This is a Congressional law and should have Congressional oversight and approval.

I had an argument with my son about this matter when he informed me that the Republicans will be forced to accept the current Senate bill. Now that he has worked in the Presidential campaign headquarters and is a college graduate, he obviously knows more than Dad. But I know that Republicans went down this road in 1986 and had unfulfilled promises, causing our current huge problem with illegal immigrants. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Not only do we have to secure our borders because of our past problems; there are at least two overarching reasons to do so. The first is for security reasons. Everyone in America should be worried about the danger of people coming to America -- whether legally or illegally -- who have bad intentions, and we believe most Americans are rightfully concerned. Second, we have a right to determine who comes into our country and from where. If people sneak into our country because they have proximity, whether they are from Canada or Mexico or Guatemala, harm is done to others around the world seeking legal admission.

The second matter is we must do something about the millions of illegals already here, and just kicking them out or self-deportation is not the answer. There are no easy answers on this matter. Some of what we heard from the Senate group sounded good, but we have also heard there may be too many loopholes. Getting back taxes from these people is borderline silly. They probably do not know how much they have earned nor does anyone else. Also, limiting the process to people who entered before a certain date is silly. Tell us when you came here illegally and prove it. We can come to a reasonable agreement on this issue as long as issue number one is resolved suitably. But we will never resolve dealing with the illegals that are here without stiff and strong border enforcement.

Immigration reform has been an intractable issue for a decade. We can resolve the issue if we solve the border enforcement issue. Everything will cascade from that. No logical argument has been put forth against completing the fence across the southern border – just platitudes and sideshows.

We need to revamp our immigration system not only for all Americans and the sake of our country, but for the benefit of those people around the world dreaming the American dream.