Monday, April 03, 2006

Turn Immigrants into Citizens instead of Felons

Bush's motivation for a "Guest Worker" program is just to benefit Big Businesses that depend on low wage immigrant labor such as the Agribusiness, Hotel and Fast Food companies. Bush's program would do exactly what the Conservatives are afraid of and ranting about. Bush's program would depress wages for low skilled US workers by freeing Big Business to replace US Citizens with "Legalized" Immigrant Labor.

The Senate proposal is better because it contains a provision allowing immigrants to seek US Citizenship, but the Senate proposal doesn't go far enough.

If immigrants become US Citizens they will inevitably demand better wages, which will reduce or eliminate the downward pressure on wages that illegal immigrants are blamed for causing.

The Just and Ethical way to handle illegal immigration is to openly acknowledge that certain US industries depend on immigrants who come to the US to work at low wages (and who then frequently send back money to support their families). Such immigrants should be given a clear path to US Citizenship that addresses US Security requirements and the principle that immigrants seeking to become US Citizens must demonstrate that they understand "What it Means to be an American".

All immigrants seeking entry into the US should be required to prove their identity and to submit to a thorough criminal background check. Immigrants who have been convicted of any crime that would be a felony in the US should be denied entry. Previous illegal entry into the US should not count against the immigrant.

Very few US Citizens even with a college degree have a true understanding of "What it Means to be an American" but it is proper to require that immigrants seeking to become US Citizens understand.

All immigrants seeking to become US Citizens should be required to study and to demonstrate that they understand at least these subjects:
  1. to speak and understand conversational English
  2. to read and write US English at the level of a US High School graduate
  3. to be able to handle arithmetic at the level needed to complete an IRS Tax Return form.
  4. to know and understand the history of the founding of the United States from 1765 to 1805 including The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, The Constitutional Amendments and The Federalist Papers.
  5. to know and understand the recent history of the US from World War I to the Present.
  6. to know and understand the structure and purpose of the three branches of government as they were defined in the Constitution and as they have evolved since then.
  7. to know and understand how political parties work in the US at the Local, State and Federal level and to understand the civic duty to participate and to vote in elections at each level.
  8. to know and understand how the courts work at the Local, State, Federal and Supreme Court levels and to understand the civic duty to participate as a juror when called to jury duty.

Federal funds should be provided for schools to teach immigrants to pass their qualifying exams. The funds should come from a tax on industries where immigrants make up more than 20% of the work force. The funds should be provided to any High School, Community College or State College or University that offers the courses.

Immigrants who send remittances back to their home countries to support their families should be given precedence over those that do not.

Immigrants who are seeking to become US Citizens and are studying to pass the qualifying exam should be given precedence over those that are not.

Immigrants who serve in the US Military should be given any and all training required to pass their qualifying exam as part of their basic training and should be granted US Citizenship upon completing one tour of combat duty or two tours of non-combat duty.


Blogger Bob Waters said...

But they are already criminals.

Why do you want to reward people for breaking the law?

8:18 PM  

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