NJ For Change

Monday, May 15, 2006

The President's Immigration Reform Plan

I watched President Bush’s speech tonight on immigration reform and thought it sounded like a comprehensive and balanced approach to the problem. But, I need to think about all the components outlined in his plan before I can intelligently give my opinion on the subject.

One thing I did notice, Bush used the term illegal immigrant, instead of undocumented worker and he acknowledged many problems caused by those in this country illegally.

Successful politics is about intelligent compromise. I suppose it’s necessary to put forward a plan that has the best chance of achieving the intended objectives and gaining bipartisan support. I need to keep that in mind as I review the major points in the President’s speech:

Secure the Borders

Increasing the number of border patrol agents from 12,000 to 18,000

Use the National Guard (6,000) to support border patrol agents until additional agents can be hired, trained and deployed

Construct high-tech fences in urban corridors and build new patrol roads and barriers in rural areas

Employ motion sensors, infrared cameras, and unmanned aerial vehicles to detect and respond to illegal border crossings

Increase federal funding for state and local authorities assisting the border patrol on targeted enforcement missions

Send home illegal immigrant caught crossing the border

End catch and release – expand the capacity of detention facilities and reduce the average deportation time

Create a Temporary Worker Program

Guest worker program would match willing foreign workers with willing American employers for jobs Americans are not doing

Create a legal path for foreign workers to enter the U.S. in legal manner for a limited period of time

Guest workers must pass criminal background checks and temporary workers must return to their home country after permit ends

Hold Employers Accountable

Enforce of employment laws – no excuses

Biometric identification card for every legal foreign worker so employers can verify the legal status of prospective employees

Deal With The Millions Of Illegal Immigrants Already Here

Increase the annual number of green cards that can lead to citizenship, but the President is firmly opposed to amnesty

Defining a rational middle ground between granting an automatic path to citizenship for every illegal immigrant and a program of mass deportation

Illegal immigrants who want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law

Required to have an otherwise clean record, pay their taxes, learn English, and work in a job for a number of years

Be able to apply for citizenship but approval will not be automatic, and they will have to wait in line behind those who played by the rules and followed the law

Assimilate Into Our Society

Demonstrate an appreciation of our history, respect for our country and its values

Be able to speak and write the English language
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