I’ve been listening to the subtext to the wall debate, and it really comes down to immigration. How many people should we let in and how should we decide to let in? It isn’t easy, because America has a long tradition of being the beacon of hope for people who want to make a new life. We’ve always accepted, if not easily, immigrants, and integrated them into the larger American ideal.
Some of the issues that I’m seeing: 1. A demand for low-skilled, low-cost labor for some segments of the economy. 2. Democrats hoping to import a large enough voter base to replace the blue-collar white demographic that their current identity politics agenda is alienating. 3. Republicans (under Trump) supporting a backlash against what it thinks is an invasion of illegals coming up from the southern border, as well as a strong nativist element. 4. Humanitarian issues in Central and South America as well as the Middle East driven mostly by corrupt regimes exacerbated by American policies (namely the War on Drugs and the War on Terror). 5. The need to keep out individuals who have a demonstrated pattern of causing harm to others (i.e., criminals, terrorists).
In another of my early morning/half-asleep ruminations, I started fleshing out a system. This is the kind of system I would consider implementing if anyone was foolish enough to give me full autocratic power. Because I have a streak of the patriotic, I’m calling these Blue, Red, and White paths.
Citizenship – Blue Path
My general requirements for citizenship would generally be limited to ensuring the individual does not have a demonstrated pattern of causing harm to others (i.e., criminals, terrorists) and is willing to swear the oath. The reason I would make it that simple is because I would limit the number of people allowed in under the citizenship path each year to approximately 5% of the last census. So, for a country of 320 million, that would mean 16 million slots. So, how to decide who comes in? I break it into three groups.
- Merit-based immigrants – These would be based on a point system designed to find those immigrants who will have an estimated net benefit to society and the economy as well as having few integration issues. Things that would provide high points would be in-demand job skills, literacy in English (it is the current lingua franca of the country), immediate family that are already citizens, willingness to serve in the military, and prior work visas or temporary residency visas with no issues. These would be approximately fifty-percent of the available slots.
- Asylumn Seekers – These are not refugees (which will be addressed later), but those who are coming to America because of dangers in their country of origin and wish to settle here permanently. There should be a demonstrated danger to life. These would be approximately forty-percent of the available slots.
- Fee Immigrants – These are people who may not qualify based on points or for asylum, and are willing to pay for citizenship. The cost should be equal to two years’ of the median salary. So, as of 2019, approx. $96,000. The immigrant or a sponsor may pay this fee. This fee would go specifically to funding immigration processing. These would be approximately ten percent of the available slots, or any unused slots from the above two groups at the end of the fiscal year.
Now, here’s the kicker for Blue Path. I would let the states accept additional immigrants under the own rules. These additional immigrants must meet the basic citizenship criteria. The states would be allowed to accept up to three percent of their last census population. So, for Florida, the state would allowed to bring in an additional 600,000 immigrants based on its own criteria. The states would be responsible for processing these immigrants to the federal standard. Failure would result in suspension of that state’s immigration authority until federal courts were satisfied that the state was in compliance.
Temporary Residency – Red Path
This would allow for people to stay in the United States for a determined period. They must have no demonstrated pattern of causing harm to others (i.e., criminals, terrorists). While here, they can work, study, or travel. They can come and go as much as they like within the defined time period. What they cannot do is vote or receive federal benefits. I don’t like the concept of permanent residency or limited scope visas. If you want to come here for a limited time, I don’t care. I would set these to:
- Sixty-day visas – These are aimed at travelers and short-term workers. These would not be available for renewal. If a person wants to come twice in the year, they would have to apply for a second sixty-day visa. These would be on a first-come, first-serve basis. These would be limited to twenty percent of last census per year. So, for 2019, approximately 64 million sixty-day visas would be issued.
- Two-year visas – These are aimed at longer-term workers, graduate students, and those who want to live in America while applying for citizenship. These can be renewed once for an additional two years and bypass the annual issuance thresholds. These would be issued on point basis with a preference for work or study. These would be limited to twenty percent of last census per year. So, for 2019, approximately 64 million two-year visas would be issued.
- Five-year visas – These are aimed at university students, entrepreneurs, workers, and family members of citizens. These can be renewed without limit and bypass the annual issuance thresholds. Yes, I know this means a person can be a permanent “temporary resident” if they are diligent about renewing their visa. These would be limited to 10 percent of last census per year. So, for 2019, approximately 32 million five-year visas would be issued.
So, what happens if someone overstays their visa? Automatic deportation to their country of origin and a ban on applying for a visa for a minimum of one year, or the length of the original visa, whichever is longer. A temporary resident convicted of a violent felony will be deported to their country of origin after serving their sentence with an additional ten years added to their ban on applying for a visa.
Refugees – White Path
Refugees are fleeing a temporary humanitarian emergency in their country of origin and are expected to return to their country after the emergency is passed. Because of the nature of the emergency, it may not be possible to screen for demonstrated pattern of causing harm to others. As such, refugees will be settled into camps. These camps will consist of no more than 10,000 refugees and provide minimum amenities and basic services. All able-bodied persons above the age of 16 will be required to work in the camps. People designated as refugees may not apply for sixty-day visas, but may apply for any other visa or citizenship. Failure to work will result in deportation to country of origin. Conviction of a felony while in the camp will result in deportation to country of origin. Being outside the camp without authorization will result in deportation to country of origin. Refugees may not stay in the camp longer than the duration of the emergency or one year, whichever is longer.
So, what about those here illegally? I would break them up into three classes.
- Class 1 Illegal Aliens – These are those who overstayed their visas. I’ve already detailed in the Red Path what would happen to these individuals.
- Class 2 Illegal Aliens – These are those who are back in the country after being deported or without ever having a visa. First violation would be deportation with a five-year ban on applying for a visa or citizenship. Second violation would be deportation with a lifetime ban on applying for a visa or citizenship.
- Class 3 Illegal Aliens – Intruders – These are individuals who are back in the country who already have two violations under the Class 2 criteria, those without a visa who are convicted of a violent felony, and/or those who have a demonstrated pattern of causing harm to others. This is going to sound contrary to my opposition to capital punishment, but these individuals would be executed. These are people who have shown a pattern of invasion and/or causing harm to the citizenry of this nation. At that point, they’re intruders. We kill intruders.
For the ones currently in the country at the time of implementation, I would give them thirty days to apply for either a visa or citizenship. After that, they will be treated as Class 2 Illegal Aliens.