Thought Experiment on Immigration

Let’s play a little game on the subject of immigration reform. List your own top five priorities in immigration reform, in descending order of importance, and then list what you think are the top five priorities of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill. I’ll start

  • Admitting the agricultural workers we need into the country.
  • Ensuring that the high-skilled workers businesses are demanding to be let into the country are actually needed.
  • Admitting the high-skilled workers we need into the country.
  • Discouraging anyone else from entering the country.
  • Bringing individuals who were provably brought here as children illegally and have never lived anywhere else out of the shadows.

I can think of some other issues that I think are important but those are probably the top five.

Here’s what I think the priorities of the Senate’s bill are:

  • Immediate legalization of all immigrants already in the country illegally.
  • A path to citizenship for immigrants already in the country illegally.
  • Providing plausible deniability to charges that they’re promoting another immigration amnesty.
  • Incentivizing more immigration.
  • Gaining bipartisan support by throwing enough dough in the direction of states whose senators are leaning towards supporting the bill.

or, more simply stated, re-election.

Your turn.

10 comments… add one
  • Jimbino

    Permit any adult American to sponsor another person for immigration, eliminating the totally unfair preferences shown to the engaged, married and breeding.

    Kill off the “family reunification” preferences in favor of preferences for those of high skill and advanced education.

    Allow any American to offer to trade permanent residence rights with a foreigner of another country. I’d be happy to get the hell out and let a young worker take my place!

    Eliminate all nanny state welfare policies that have the effect of impeding immigration. It’s stupid to establish a system of handouts and then complain that immigrants just come here for the handouts! Obamacare has just made the impediment to sensible immigration so much worse.

  • PD Shaw

    Increasing the admission of the most productive foreigners;

    Decreasing the admission of the least productive foreigners, those likely to be on welfare or labor below legal market rates;

    Issue and mandate use of national biometric i.d. cards;

    Treat employers of illegal labor as pariahs akin to slave-owners with a mixture of public and private enforcement and incentives for the illegal immigrants to report violations (including citizenship).

    Naturalize the dream act candidates.

  • Sam

    My priorities:
    – much more skilled immigration for two reasons:
    — better SS/Medicare math
    — general economic growth
    – Asset / location based open immigration (If you can buy a house outright in Detroit, come on in, but you have to stay there a while)
    – temp low skilled / Ag
    – Mandatory E-Verify for employers, stiff fines for rule-breakers
    – DREAM act or similar

    My “Theirs” is the same as your “Theirs”

  • – much more skilled immigration for two reasons:
    — better SS/Medicare math
    — general economic growth

    The problem I have with that, Sam, was mentioned by Jimbino: family reunification. As long as family reunification remains a priority in our immigration system each skilled immigrant will come along with a spouse, one to four parents, maybe a couple of siblings, etc. There’s no guarantee that any of them will be as skilled as the initial high-wage immigrant which means that the SS/Medicare math will change alright but not in the right direction.

    I’m fine with more skilled workers if they’re actually necessary. Based on my hiring experience that’s not the case. Generally, they’re just a way of pushing wages down. That’s why I’ve proposed the clearing house approach I have.

  • jan

    Revisit, revise the immigration process thru streamlining and updating it, giving those with special skills, or having sponsors guaranteeing work, a fast track approach to green cards and eventually citizenship.

    Have a better oversight over visa expirations. Apply a plan to staple a green card onto those graduating with math or science degrees.

    Make it easier for employers to check on a perspective employee’s legal status. The current e-verify system needs user-friendly and better technology.

    Enlarge the agricultural worker permit program, allowing more people to specifically come over for those jobs legally, rather than what they do now, illegally.

    Better oversight over welfare/entitlement programs so they can only be accessed by those here legally. Must learn English to become a citizen. It won’t happen, but I think the anchor baby provision is something that is a loophole encouraging women from other countries to give birth here so their children can gain an easy and automatic citizen foot hole — some even thinking as far as ahead as accessing college, as an American citizen, when their children reach that age.

    Take into consideration the concerns and suggestions of the current border patrol, in making provisions to tighten up the border. What do they think will work or not work. It’s always the politicians, the admistrative, know-nothing people who make the rules that others have to implement. Why not just go to the on-the-ground sources for collaboration.

    The priorities of the current Senate bill seem to be a competition between the R’s and D’s to appeal to the immigrant demographic for their own political purposes and gain. It has basically grown to be an unwieldy piece of legislation, in it’s sheer bulk, much like the ACA, making it difficult for the layman to sort through, catching all the gimmicks that have been superimposed to make it sweet for the politicians voting for it.

  • Brett

    1. Legal status for the illegal immigrants already here. Five-year temporary status, followed by green cards if they don’t have a felony record and can get vouched for doing gainful employment in that period.

    2. Slashing funding to the border fences which actually encourage long-term stays of employment and residency among illegal immigrants, and more funding towards programs designed to crack down on employers who employee illegal immigrants.

    3. Guest worker program not tied to particular employer sponsors, with mandatory 10% withholding of income from guest worker to be released by wire transfer after they return to their country of origin upon completion.

    4. Incentives for skilled immigrants and rich immigrants, including systems to make it easier for credentials gained abroad by immigrant doctors/skilled workers to be used here.

    5. Immediate green cards given to all of the Dreamer children, with citizenship available if they’re willing to pass the requirements.

  • Jimbino

    Folks commenting on the immigration problem like to talk about granting eventual “citizenship.” I have no idea what special rights citizenship confers over permanent residency (green card) status besides the right to vote, which rational citizens don’t even exercise. I was very happy to live and work in Germany, which has always been stingy in granting citizenship to foreigners (especially non-Aryans), for five years an never found it important to try for citizenship.

    Though I appreciate the importance of learning English, if a person just wants to work, there is no need to master English. Citizenship in Amerika is of questionable worth, anyway, as it is likely to get you killed in many places. In South Austin, I know lots of Cubans and other Hispanics who flourish without English, and I hire every one who comes to my door looking for day-labor jobs. Of course, I never ask for papers, as I have myself worked “illegally” in Latin countries.

    Indeed, at my local Home Depots, I can pick up a crew of three or more Latins, one of whom, usually a young lad, translates for the bunch if need be. In South Austin, everybody and his lover speaks some Spanish.

  • I honestly don’t understand the emphasis on the “path to citizenship” although it’s pretty obvious that for some it’s a sine qua non while for others it’s a dealbreaker.

    I understand how important the idea is to immigration activists and how the prospect of millions of new reliably partisan voters works as a sweetener (or goad, depending on the party). I strongly suspect that a higher proportion of the immigrants of the last twenty or thirty years view themselves as migrant workers rather than new citizens than was the case back in 1986. Only about 40% of those eligible then went on to become citizens. How many of those who became citizens actually bother to vote?

  • PD Shaw

    @Jimbino, I don’t think U.S. permanent resident status is actually permanent; I would call it “indefinite” because you can be subject to deportation proceedings. One may not be eligible for entitlement programs, at least under equal terms with a citizen, and one might be deported if one becomes a public charge. There are travel restrictions.

  • Brett

    RE: Dave

    That’s why I’m in favor of de-emphasizing border security and focusing more on a guest worker program alongside a tighter regime of scrutinizing employers for hiring illegal immigrants. A tighter border just encourages people to settle here after spending $3000 to get across.

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