I understand that some people view immigration reform as not only an undeserved free pass, but an invitation to countless others to stream over our border for a golden or (in this case) red, white, and blue ticket.
In these days when there are areas of high unemployment across the nation, fear is a natural response.
If I were unemployed, or underemployed, I may feel threatened by competition from people who would appear to work for lower wages would make our situation worse, not better. That reaction is understandable, but it is not logical.
It's time to get past cries of unfairness or injustice. We're people living in glass houses throwing stones. Let's talk to the Native Americans about injustice.
If you can't embrace the human spirit that drives someone towards a better life, at least embrace the economics of the situation.
People who are living here in the United States but not contributing already place a great burden on all of us. We need them working and paying taxes like the rest of us.
They cost us in other ways, too.
Several years ago, my car was struck by another car at an intersection. The other drive had failed to yield, plowing into the left side of my car. When the police arrived, we discovered that the other driver not only was not insured, she was unlicensed. According to the police officer, she was not documented so she couldn't get a driver's license. Without a driver's license she couldn't get insurance.
My collision insurance covered the damage to my vehicle, but only after I paid the $500 deductible. I was a young mother with 5 children at home. I was incensed but powerless to do anything about it.
Another great price we are paying is the steady loss of our intellectual property. I don't think we've even begun to pay the cost for this mistake.
We allow students from other nations to study at our universities and work for a time at our great companies, then we tell them they must leave. They take all of that precious knowledge with them back to other countries to build companies that compete with U.S. companies. It's not only illogical, it's outrageous.
I've seen posts where people claim that employers want H1B employees because it allows them to hire cheap labor. That is simply untrue. H1B visa applicants must be paid the same wages as U.S. citizens and the process is onerous and expensive for the employer. I don't know a single employer that prefers H1B recipients to a qualified, loyal, hard working U.S. citizen.
Americans, at our core, are hard working people in pursuit of the best life we can provide for our families. When we are at our best we are selfless and courageous with countless examples of heroics every day.
I'd prefer to think we can bring reform as a great gesture and selfless act, but if we can't let's look at self interest. Even if we were to be selfish in dealing with the immigration problems, the economics of our current policies are not working for our benefit. We can't afford to send everyone back, nor can we afford to continue paying the deductibles from someone else's "free ride." There are plenty of United States citizens already on the gravy train.
What about amnesty? In my opinion it's the last thing we need to do. You have rules for a reason, so enforce them or remove them. Just like when you are parenting a two year old. We're running after toddlers saying "you come back here, you come back here." The toddler knows we aren't going to do anything about the misbehavior.
I think the solution we design has to provide a path to citizenship. We should grant everyone who applies a temporary work visa. Get them working and paying taxes. There is unemployment in this country but there are also unfilled jobs. Everyone should be working, in school, or both. Anyone who doesn't want to participate with a work or education visa should not be allowed to stay in the United States.
Throughout our history, Americans have faced adversity with determination. When jobs and opportunities weren't available locally, families packed up and relocated to greener pastures.
Many of us trace our heritage back to other nations left behind by our families in pursuit of a better life.
Today's immigrants are no different. People still come to the United States to seek those greener pastures. We should welcome them as long as they were willing to join us in working hard, paying taxes, and defending us from those who terrorize us yet enter our country legally.
There will be consequences for any action we take, but I have to believe that the outcome of every system that encourages work and productivity is reward.