I have spent years hearing about our immigration problem. I have also seen what people are talking about first hand while we lived in LA. I have two changes I would like to suggest to help with this point of contention among people. Let’s define the problem:
- People are sneaking into our country becoming illegal immigrants.
- They are having children who then become US citizens by default of birth here.
- The illegal immigrants are obtaining public services by virtue of the citizen child.
- Illegal immigrants are often forced to work “under the table” to not get caught and deported.
- Illegal immigrants have a higher rate of crime.
I should further define each of those points. We passed an immigration law closing our borders in 1986. Prior to this if you walked across our border all you had to do was let us know and, bam, you were a citizen. Now you have to apply, wait for years and hope (example). This costs a little money and favors English speaking skilled labor. As a result the poor people from Mexico can’t swing it. So they sneak into the US.
Why? Because we have money, jobs and a higher standard of living. Even the poor areas of LA are better than the poor areas of Mexico and our minimum wage well exceeds the average pay there. Plus they can afford a Wii here. Wouldn’t you do the same? So the problem is not them, it’s us, but more on that later.
If you are born within the borders of the United States, you are a citizen. That’s it, no other requirements. If you have a relative that’s a US citizen it is much easier to become naturalized. The closer the relation the easier it is.
Poor people have more children on average than other people. Catholics have more children on average per family than other Christians. Hispanic people have more children on average than other white folk. So with this triumvirate we have a people sneaking into our country and having a huge number of children. Most of our public services are for children: Food Stamps, WIC, Welfare, CPS, Schools, CHIP, etc.
If hispanic children make up the majority of children in your city you might be annoyed to find out what portion of your taxes are going to them. Especially when you find out that most work under the table to avoid being caught. This means that they are not contributing to offset their own kid’s cost.
Poor people and Hispanic people have a statistically higher rate of crime. Just sayin.
So what can we do to fix this problem? The border wall won’t work. Penn & Teller proved this. Tougher border patrols is also a drain and doesn’t work. Since the problem isn’t them, it’s us, let’s fix US (pun intended).
why do they come here? For all the benefits we offer. The best way to deter an action is to take away the incentive to do so, but then the question is haven’t we been doing that? No, not really. We won’t let them come into the country, get a job, or services. They just sneak in, get paid under the table and get the benefits vicariously through their children. So let’s address the issues in that last sentence.
If we changed the Constitution to require that one parent must be a citizen for a child born in the US to be a citizen. With this an illegal immigrant would get more services for their children in Mexico and will have incentive to leave them there killing the drain on us. Simple.
The next solution is a little more complex, but not much. Create a second level of citizenship available to anyone that walks into our country. With this they can work here, drive here, claim Police, Fire and Military protection. They would also pay a lower tax. This does a few things to fix the problem:
- No sneaking – why would you need to sneak in when we are willing to let you walk in.
- No drain – since they cannot claim education, welfare, WIC, Food Stamps or other social services there is no extra drain on our system.
- Taxes – We get our money to pay for the few services we allow them to use (ie. roads, police, fire, etc.).
- Tracking – It’s nice to know something about our citizens like who they are, where they live and if they want a free subscription to USA Today.
We then have removed the incentive for good hard-working people to emigrate illegally. The only ones who would sneak in at that point would be the ones connected with crime/drugs and the previously deported. With the INS not trying to deal with the good hard-working folk anymore they can easily focus on what they were trained to do: find criminals.
I think these two solutions will fix most problems we have with illegal immigrants. We still get our cheap labor, we don’t fork out cash we don’t want to and they have no reason to stay. In fact they will probably send money home to where it will educate and improve their own society, reducing their crime rates, produce more skilled labor and help them contribute better to the world in general.