Immigration is one of, if not the most, important issue facing our country today. And there is a clear, workable and comprehensive solution set that has been ignored for decades. Why? Because politicians don’t want a solution that works for America. Politicians on both sides want a solution that works for them at the expense of the country.
That is the subject of today’s 10 minute episode.
The key to a comprehensive immigration plan is insisting on having secure borders. Anything less is nothing but a plan to have open borders. Open borders add the voters that some want, and the cheap labor desired by others. The logical end point to an open border policy is to cease being the United States as a sovereign nation, becoming the State of America in the United States of the World. With an unsecured border, every town is a border town and every state is a border state. And some people actually want that. I do not. (Do you?)
Donald Trump got it right in wanting secure borders, but he blew it with how he handled the issue. Talking only about building walls while promising that Mexico would pay for them made his otherwise sound secure borders policy appear silly. Then he added that the wall would stop the “rapists and murderers”, allowing the Democrats to pretend that they, too, wanted secure borders, just in a more practical and humane way.
The Dems responded with “Walls don’t work; build a 20’ wall, and the hungry immigrants will show up with a 21’ ladder.” Walls have worked everywhere, e.g., the Russians used one to keep freedom-loving people in, and Israel uses them to keep suicide bombers and other lethal threats out. But a wall running down the middle of the Rio Grande would be silly. High tech walls supported by human observers and enforcement along with high tech electronics could work well elsewhere along the border. There is no need to create a border security plan in this episode. Experts create plans for things like interstate highways, dams and bridges; they could do a fine job creating a plan for a secure border. But do we really want a secure border?
Ronald Reagan came close with his amnesty plan, but forgot to insist on having the secure borders part first. All he got was amnesty. Presidents from Bush on have tackled this issue, with no success. With a solution set this clear and effective, and we’ll get to that, why has it been ignored?
To get to the truth here, we need to ask one simple question, hoping for a simple, truthful answer: “Do we want open borders?” We have open borders between states. Travel is unrestricted; one can become a citizen of a different state by merely showing up and staying. We are one nation, with free movement among the states, and free access to the benefits, including a variety of government-supported services, that the various states offer. Is that what we want for our country? Do we want to offer the type of free, permanent access to residents of other countries that we allow residents of other states?
If the answer is yes, then we must have the courage to say it clearly and out loud. “The simple truth is, I want open borders. National boundaries should mean no more than state borders.” We could stop spinning our wheels in smokescreen arguments about the effectiveness of walls and who is and who isn’t inclusive. And we could stop wringing our hands about terminology like “undocumented” vs. “illegal”–everyone would be legal. Declaring the simple truth “I want open borders.” would take the debate to a very different–and honest–level.
I don’t want open borders. No nation can exist for any length of time like that. And I don’t want to be the State of America in the United States of the World. What I do want is a secure, prosperous, welcoming America; an America that can continue to be attractive to and lead the way for the rest of the world. Here’s how we do that:
- First, secure our borders. Stop using the term “wall.” We don’t need a wall everywhere; technology, human observation and intervention, and natural boundaries can be very effective.
- Insist that employers use E-verify prior to hiring. E-Verify is an Internet-based system that compares information entered by an employer from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to records available to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration to confirm employment eligibility. No more paying illegals under the market wage, and under the table.
- Use technology to track those who overstay their visas; by most accounts some 50% of those who are here illegally have simply overstayed their visas.
- Create a path to citizenship for those who are here illegally. Put them behind those who came here legally. And no voting; that’s a bridge too far for anyone who snuck in. Yes, this is amnesty. But with secure borders, it will be the last amnesty. Repeat amnesty is nothing more than a painful—and dishonest—way of creating open borders.
- Allow in a generous number of legal immigrants every year based on 1. Merit–who we want–and 2. People who need to be here, regardless of what they can contribute. It seems like an 80/20 mix of merit and need is about right. The exact number of immigrants and percentages are not the key here; they can be altered as our thinking and circumstances change in the future. But a secure border is key. Without that, what we think and what is right means nothing. The people sneaking in make all the decisions.
With this in place, no one who came here would have to take the legal and physical risks of sneaking across the border. No one who came here would have to hide. They could walk tall and be proud to be here. And we could walk tall and be proud to have them.
I have no problem with working with other countries, spending limited amounts of money along the way, to try to make those home countries more attractive, therefore making coming to America less attractive. I am not optimistic, but it is worth a try. Set a plan, with checkpoints to monitor progress and spending, as see if it works.
But it still comes down to having and maintaining secure borders.
Tell me what you believe. I and many others want to know.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.
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