Monday, May 3, 2010

Democrats offer reasonable proposal for immigration reform

Democrats have put forward a proposal for comprehensive immigration reform. It is not perfect, but it is a starting point. Responsible members of both parties should be able to build upon this proposal to get things done. Among other things, the Democrats propose:

· Increasing the number of Border Patrol officers and U.S. Immigration, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to combat smuggling of drugs, contraband and illegals across the borders.

· Expanding the use of high-tech ground sensors and other technology throughout the southern border.

· Providing grants to local towns and counties to mitigate the impact of unauthorized immigrants crossing the border.

· Equiping all ports of entry with the United States-Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (“US-VISIT”) system to keep track of whether foreign nationals have overstayed their visas.

· Checking all criminals in federal, state, and local prisons to determine their immigration status and deport those who are here illegally.

· Requiring all foreign nationals to provide the U.S. government with biometric information for identity verification.

· Increasing penalties for violation of immigration law including increased penalties for employers who exploit unauthorized labor.

· Developing biometric social security cards that are fraud-resistant, tamper-resistant, wear resistant, and machine-readable which contain a photograph and an electronically coded micro-processing chip which possesses a unique biometric identifier for the authorized card-bearer—This card could only be used for verifying legal employment status. Employers would be required to ask for this card from all applicants and would face stiff penalties for failing to do so. Employers would be able to swipe the card and get verification electronically within 24 hours. The system would be paid for though fees for obtaining the cards and employer fees for using the system as well as fines for violation of the law.

· Making a green card immediately available to foreign students with an advanced degree from a United States institution of higher education in a field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, and who have a job offer from a U.S. employer in their related field.

· Adding penalties for abuses of existing temporary high-skilled work visas.

· Reforming programs for importing lower-skilled agricultural and seasonal workers to ensure that businesses only obtain foreign workers when American workers are unavailable.

· Giving priority for immigration for spouses and children of lawful permanent residents to reunite families.

· Allowing existing illegal immigrants to be registered, fingerprinted, screened, and considered for an interim “Lawful Prospective Immigrant” (LPI) status that would allow them to work in the U.S. legally. After 8 years, they would be eligible to apply for Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) status.’

These proposals seem to me to be a perfectly reasonable starting point for serious discussion between Democrats and Republicans. Don’t you agree? Republicans have said they aren't interested in discussing immigration reform this year. Sad, very sad.

You can review the complete Democratic proposal at:

No comments: