Tuesday, May 02, 2006

An Open Letter To Congress & President Bush

I am writing today to express my deep concern regarding the current immigration debate occurring in our country. After studying the facts, I have come to the following conclusions and have determined that I will lend my financial, electoral and personal support to those candidates who adhere closely to my perspective.

First and foremost, I believe that any individual who can provide a positive contribution to the United States ought to be afforded the opportunity to come here and make a better life for themselves and their family. This is indeed the greatest country in the world, providing opportunity to all, and many people wish to come to the US to make a life for themselves and to experience the freedom that many of us take for granted.

I believe however, that immigration must occur in a controlled fashioned dictated by the policies of the United States and in the consideration of its best interests. We will only remain the greatest country in the world by taking measured and calculated steps to preserve that position. To the point, we need a open but sensible immigration policy.

I believe much of the rancor surrounding the current immigration debate stems from the fact that we are actually debating two different but related issues: immigration policy and the enforcement of that policy. The truth is, and current trends bear this out, an effective commitment to immigration policy enforcement is unlikely until we can agree on what our immigration policy should be.

So let's discuss our policy.

I believe that it is inherently unfair to those who are attempting to enter this country via official channels to allow those who have entered the country illegally to "cut in line." I also recognize that there are millions of people who now live in the United States illegally, and that they have made their lives and their homes here. I believe that we can arrive at an immigration policy that takes both of these views into account - a view that blends effective immigration policy with compassion.

President Bush and many in Congress insist that an amnesty (though they appear loathe to call it such) is the only means for dealing with the millions of people living illegally in the United States. I agree. I see no sensible approach that allows for the return of those immigrants to their prior nations without uprooting our economy and the impoverished economies of the countries to which they will return.

On the other hand, what do you say to those who for the last four, five, six or seven years have been waiting patiently to obtain immigration visas so that they can come to the United States? Certainly they have been "in line" for as long as many of those who came here illegally. Compassion for those here illegally must be tempered by a respect for and a compassion towards those who have an equally strong desire to live in these United States, and the fact that they are attempting to do so through proper channels ought to lend weight and credibility to their claims of preeminence over those that would break the law to do come here.

My suggestion would be as follows: freeze immigration requests into the United States through the end of 2007. Immediately grant visas to all those requesting them (provided they qualify for immigration to the United States) and bring them in via lottery over the course of the this year and the next. During the same time, register and admit legally those who are currently living in the United States. These people should pay a substantial fine for their violation of our laws and must adhere to a strict guest worker program to ensure that they are not a burden on the US economy. They should also forfeit any right to public assistance (with the exception of emergency medical care, which should be granted on a loan basis to be repaid over a period of time).

The above policy is just a starting point, but it allows for a compassionate stance toward both those who wish to enter the United States WHILE providing a means for those who have broken our immigration law to pay for their crime and be naturalized as well.

Of course, this IS an amnesty. We are forgiving their criminal debt to society, and as such it should be called what it is. And, as Reagan's amnesty failure proved, an amnesty is only effective provided that strong immigration enforcement occurs to prevent those who would take advantage of our leniency from doing so.

The risk of lax border and immmigration enforcement is manifold. Terrorism, increased drug trafficking, border skirmishes between drug cartels and immigrant smugglers and US nationals, not to mention exploitation of illegal immigrants will occur so long as we do not secure our border. I am in favor of a patrolled, technological-but-physical wall that will prevent illegal immigration so that we never have to have this immigration amnesty discussion again.

I do not understand the current inertia toward border security present in BOTH of the major parties. I understand that electoral and campaign finance incentives exist to maintain this inertia, but it has to stop. Those in the Senate and House take an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of our land, and MUST do so. They should also support strong workplace enforcement of immigration policy, including fines and jail time for those who violate the law by hiring illegal workers.

Finally, I disagree with President Bush's assertion that a guest worker program is necessary because jobs exist that Americans will not do. It is true, a guest worker program ought to be a COMPONENT of a much larger worker program that addresses the need for welfare and unemployment assistance. The truth is, those jobs are unfilled because it is more beneficial for unemployed US workers to draw on their unemployment insurance than it is to take the low wages these jobs offer. At the same time, it is foolish to insist that the US taxpayer continue to pay money to those who could be working instead of drawing unemployment checks.

A comprehensive worker program would not only include guest workers, but a part-time system that pays unemployed US workers to do these menial, unwanted jobs while providing them the time and opportunity to search for more gainful employment.

I stated at the beginning of this letter that my electoral, financial and personal support would fall to those candidates that enact the reasonable expectations that I have toward our elected officials: that they uphold the law, that they protect our national interests over the interests of their own campaigns, and that they demonstrate a willful commitment to the development and enforcement of an effective immigration policy.

I look forward to your comments and questions regarding this letter, and hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you,
Christopher Luka


Blogger LaDonna said...

Wow, very nicely written, Chris. I have to say, I'm getting pretty sick of this illegal/immigrant nonsence myself. They just need to build the Great Wall of the USA and be done w/ it. Hey, next will you write a letter about the "wonderful" things that the NCLB Act has done for our education system?

May 10, 2006 12:24 AM  
Blogger Bryan said...

I keep coming here to read this, then I'm like, "man, this thing goes on forever..." So I quit.

I'll try again later...

May 11, 2006 3:25 PM  
Blogger Rational Icthus said...


Sorry to be so articulate.

May 11, 2006 3:28 PM  

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