Border Insecurity

This is a rewrite of a blog I wrote a while back (during the ’08 presidential election cycle).  I’ve revised it slightly.

I once heard the statement “Illegal aliens are to immigrants what a burglar is to a house guest.” So I want to try to talk that out on here and see how that works itself out and maybe float some ideas about the mess we now have on our southern border.

Let’s say I own a house. It’s a large house that requires a large number of people to maintain it. (For the sake of this illustration, let’s imagine it’s an historic house like the Biltmore mansion that attracts a lot of visitors.) I don’t actually hire the help because the personnel director takes care of that.

Over the course of several years, I notice several things about the staff. 1) There seems to be an ever increasing number of people working from day to day and some seem to come and go relatively quickly. 2) Some items have turned up missing and some damage has been incurred and members of the staff are most likely culprits.

I consult the personnel director for information, and what I find out shocks me. I find out that the personnel director hasn’t hired anyone in years. Various people have just shown up to work and, since they seemed to be doing a good job, he just let them stick around. Now, it turns out, the vast majority of the staff is there and has never even been hired.

I can’t prove which of the people is responsible for the missing items being stolen or the damage so the only way to definitively solve the problem is to send the entire staff away. However, doing so will cripple the upkeep and maintenance of the house because I can’t hire enough people quickly enough to take their place.

Here is my solution: I offer the people who are there the opportunity to go through the application process for employment. If they accept, then they will go through the process with the understanding that they may or may not be hired. If they refuse, they are immediately escorted off the property. Any applicants that are rejected must also leave the property. Those who are hired will be put on probation until I can be sure that they were not responsible for the theft and damage that had been done, and even then they are hired with the stipulation that their opportunities for advancement will be limited.

Alabama's new immigration law (HB56) has met significant opposition.

I think a similar tack is best for our current problems with illegal aliens. Many people who are in this country illegally are working in service jobs and are providing meaningful labor. Two issues come to mind here. 1) To gather all of them up and send them back across the border will severely cripple the service industries that have come to depend on them. 2) These undocumented laborers are working and not paying taxes. So, do I propose amnesty? Absolutely not. I suggest probation.

The following bullet points suffice to start the conversation:

  1. Illegals must register with the INS and enter a probation period. (No bonds to be paid though like Northern states required of black citizens entering them in the early 1800’s) No exceptions.
  2. After a probation period of 2-3 years (which is admittedly an arbitrary range) illegals will be eligible for guest worker status or a work visa, but will not be eligible for full citizenship, then or ever. (They forfeited that right when they came here illegally in the first place.)
  3. Illegals who still wish to work must pay their fair share of taxes…starting in their probation period.
  4. Employers must register any illegals they hire that are on probation and should face stiff penalties for continuing to used undocumented workers. No probation or amnesty for employers here.

I realize the illustration is a gross oversimplification, and I also realize that there are many complex issues that are involved in the border security discussion, but the only way to solve the problem is to deal with the illegals that are already here first.  I’m certainly not suggesting this is the answer to the immigration issue but we must start somewhere…this is where I say we start.


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