Immigration & Green Card Law Firm, Lawyers, Attorneys: San Franscisco Bay Area to San Jose: King for a Day: An Immigration Solution

Sunday, December 16, 2007

King for a Day: An Immigration Solution

Let's say I became King. What would my immigration policy be?

First, I would not shut down the border, build a fence, nor stop issuing visas to students, tourists, investors, or others. I would likely increase technology and personnel.

More importantly, I would instantly fund, then finish or develop an employer verification and ID system.

Next, I would advise everyone in the country, legal and illegal, permanent residents - "green card holders" and non-immigrants alike, that they have 3 months to sign up for the new ID/verification system and smart card. For US citizens who do not have a new 'smart' passport, or a new smart driver's license, they too must obtain a new ID/verification card - but we might give them a longer time to do so.

Why would anyone 'sign up' and be issued one of these cards? Well, if one is a legal resident or non-immigrant, they'd have no choice - lose their status or be removed. For illegals, this would be their "last chance" to not be removed (in the next phase). Those that do come forward, would not be rewarded with a 'green card', but would be eligible for a smart driver's license, the ability to obtain employment, and have 10 years to find a way to lawfully become a permanent resident and then U.S. citizen, that is, "get in line". Of course, to be eligible for the progam, they must not have been convicted of a serious, or in my mind, any crime, and must agree to learn English. That is, they must have generally behaved themselves. In extraordinary cases where bona fide spouses might be separated, and/or there are U.S. children involved (in an intact family) waivers should be possible for minor past criminal activity. Aggravated or multiple felons, sexual predators, or violent criminals, however, should not under any circumstance be granted waivers.

The concept above is not amensty, it is about cleaning up the present mess, and even more importantly identifying those that will not or cannot sign up and those that enter after a 'sign up' period (for which there will be a huge 'outreach' to make certain everyone in the country is aware of this last opportunity). Of course, those that do not identify themselves will obviously be those that cannot.

Phase two will involve the issuing of IDs, documenting the millions who have behaved (but did indeed enter illegally for work, or did fall into an undocumented status - but otherwise have been good residents), deploying the employer verification system, and identifying and removing everyone else.

This last part of phase two, enforcement, will utilize not only the resources and reach of the Federal government, but local governments too. The computer and verification systems deployed with employers will also be tied into local police, state, city and other administrative entities (IRS, banks, SSA, Highway Patrol, etc.) as well.

I envision those entering the US as non-immigrants in the future (with the intent to depart) to check in at kiosks with their smart ID and then do so periodically so that they can continue their lawful status, that is, be a foreign student or visitor. If these temporary visitors do not 'check in', they would have their status automaticaly cancelled, and they would be subject to removal.

OK, what about those who do 'get in' (across the border, or do not check in), which is inevitable, and end up in the underground economy or just disappear here?

First, we'll also be constructing a new and better immigration system that will make sense and be realistic to the needs of our economy and business interests. To this end, we'll need a "guest worker program", which will help stem the tide of illegal entry. There is no question that cheap labor is necessary in a successful economy such as ours. For those that don't use the system, or overstay, or enter illegally, or don't go home when they should, they'll more easily be caught and removed - for example, being picked up by local police or the highway patrol. Yes, fewer people will be able to remain "under the radar".

Oh yes, our future lies in innovation, new industries and technologies, so why not make it easy for the world's "best and brightest" to come here (and stay).

Worried about 'Big brother'? It is already here if you have a credit card, buy gas, etc. Should there be oversight to prevent abuses? Of course.

Well, that's my plan. Love to hear about yours.

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