I want to weigh in

UK biometric passport on pile of Euro currency

on this immigration debate.  But first, realize that I have lived and worked outside the US in 2 different countries over the past 6 years.  In one, Serbia, I didn’t speak the “official” language we had to deal with the government in.  In the second, I did; however, not everyone got a “pass” on the English Language test necessary to get a visa.  Here’s what I think we should do (and why):

  1. If you get caught in the US illegally, you get sent back to your home country.  You are forever denied a legal entry visa.
  2. If you get caught overstaying your visa, you get sent back to your home country.  You will be denied a legal entry visa for a period of time (10 years perhaps).
  3. If you want a visa to come work, you (or your employer/sponsor) must prove you can provide for your needs for 6-8 months (either by pledging to support you or showing bank statements)
  4. Your visa will be marked as “no public funds” or “assistance.”  Only citizens are eligible for welfare (I’d make exceptions for genuine refugees)
  5. If your parents are illegally here and are caught (but you were born here) you can stay as long as any rules are met (regarding care for minors, etc…).  If you are an adult, you can stay no problem.  You can even apply to sponsor your parents (but see numbers 1 and 2).
  6. There’s only one pathway to citizenship and that starts with a legal visa.

I don’t get why this is so hard.  Sure, people want to come to the US.  Sure they can get work in the US but not their own country.  Sure it isn’t nice.  But getting to go to another country isn’t a right….it is a privilege.  Living and working in another country isn’t a right…it too is a privilege.  I don’t understand the move for amnesty and legalization.

[Update 2013-06-22 10:34:23] I just wrote both of my senators and urged them to vote NO on Monday.  Is reform needed?  Yes!  But making a whole segment of lawbreakers legal isn’t the answer.

Image from Christopher Elison via flickr

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