In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote: "The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world."
Fact No. 7: "[King George III] has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither..."
Immigration. Not anti-immigration but pro-immigration. It's in the Declaration of Independence.
In America in 2011, there are those who obstruct the passage of federal legislation to encourage reasonable lawful immigration. And, many of these same persons also push for state immigration laws. And, last but not least, they also push for even higher levels of resources being placed on the southern border of the United States. I'm talking about enforcement.
What about reasonable federal laws to facilitate responsible immigration? When I speak at a public event, I always hear, "Illegal immigrants need to go back home and come back to the United States legally." I ask the audience members if they know what the 10 year bar to reentry is. The answer is always no. I tell them that if you entered the USA unlawfully and stayed here a year or more then you must leave the United States for a period of 10 years before being able to reenter. The 10 year bar is one of the biggest impediments to unlawful immigrants being able to travel to their home country in order to lawfully enter the United States with a visa. There are also other unreasonable bars such as this one. Why do anti-immigration groups who are supposedly for lawful immigration obstruct changes to these bars?
What about southern border enforcement? What about enforcement in general? You can look it up if you want. Brief history: Former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff put Immigration and Customs Enforcement into a heavy enforcement mode in the summer of 2007 after the failure of immigration reform under President George W. Bush. That was back when Sen. John McCain still supported immigration reform and he co-sponsored comprehensive immigraton reform along with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. That enforcement included heavy policing of the border as well as ramping up deportations. The Obama administration has continued this heavy enforcement approach. Despite the border being sealed tighter than it has ever been... Despite record numbers of deportations... Those who are against immigration say more needs to be done despite the country being in a recession and the federal government dangerously close to defaulting on its debt.
That brings us to state enforcement. The recent Georgia state immigration enforcement laws which went into effect have shown that only a small number of U.S. citizens will show up to be paid $12 per hour to work in the fields harvesting crops. There was the idea that parolees would take these jobs. It hasn't happened. I do not know what is wrong with citizens but if you need crops harvested, homes built, roofs put on buildings, yards mowed, then it gets done with immigrant labor in most instances.
I do not know what all the answers are in immigration. I do know though that state immigration laws have the people of Oklahoma or Georgia or Arizona paying for immigration enforcement that the rest of the citizens of the USA refuse to pay. It is utterly idiotic that the taxpayers of a poor state such as Oklahoma or Alabama should subsidize the citizens of Connecticut. Welfare, even among the states, is a disincentive in many instances. This strange welfare that the taxpayers in Oklahoma provide the other states is just well... Stupid.
I do know that the 10 year bar along with the other bars which apply to otherwise law abiding foreign nationals only discourage persons from leaving the U.S.A. so they can reenter lawfully with proper documentation. We can change those misguided laws today. That would go a long way toward repairing over 50 percent of the immigration problem. If you'd add the DREAM Act to the mix, then that'd probably solve another 20 percent of the immigration problem. Otherwise, I guess we can continue living in a system where crops can rot in the fields, where the taxpayers of Oklahoma subsidize those of much wealthier states, and where we unwisely waste resources on over the top immigration enforcement in the middle of horrible recession. Surely, the money and the manpower could be put to much better use to help get America back on track.