Column Archives Biography Books/CDs Publishing Info Opt In/Out Feedback Home
The Immigration Solution
by James Robison

05/11/2007  

We must find a better way to allow workers into our country.

I believe I have a realistic approach to begin the process of solving the immigration issue. It is workable, compassionate and fair. (Please understand that it is impossible to adequately deal with all of the important issues in a brief statement. I am simply attempting to help kick-start the process because I do not want to see people mistreated and our laws disrespected.)

The promise of America has, by its very success, created a serious dilemma. Despite the global rhetoric against our country, people want to come here. The ambitious and the needy both view the United States as the land of opportunity. Oceans, rivers and deserts won’t keep them out.

The legitimate need for labor has led to lax enforcement of the borders and immigration laws. We need additional workers during seasonal harvest and other low-wage, skilled labors. Many contractors and corporations have broken or ignored immigration and labor laws. Government has not taken the issue seriously or the penalty for breaking the law would carry significant weight.

This inherent disrespect for our own laws is reflected in the attitudes of many of those who have entered the country illegally. Covert border crossings have become big business. Forged documents are easily obtained.

Many good people have become entangled in this web. In Texas, we rely heavily on migrant workers. Immigrants have always been a part of our heritage. We know that the vast majority of those who cross the Rio Grande, both legally and illegally, come here to work hard and live good lives. We also know how valuable these workers are to farmers, ranchers, building contractors and various businesses. Unemployment is at an historic low and “Now Hiring” signs can be seen all over the state. We are happy for honest, hard-working Mexicans, Central Americans or any other immigrant to take those jobs. In fact, we are grateful for them.

However, the situation has gotten out of control. Politicians seem incapable of sitting down together and hammering out a real solution. Building a wall may put a band-aid on the problem, but we all know that any wall will be met with a taller ladder! As long as we’re hiring and giving out benefits to those who illegally enter the country, they will continue to come in droves.

Vilifying these people does no good, either. Sure, there is a radical fringe that advocates nutty ideas, like reclaiming the southwest for Mexico, but they are a small, insignificant irritation. The millions of good, undocumented people who are already here, as well as the businesses that hire them, need a fair plan to rectify the situation.

Mass exportation will never work. It’s not just impractical, it’s impossible. We cannot put our law enforcement personnel in the role of Nazi-like nationalists, checking the “papers” of every brown-skinned suspect. We would split up good families, needlessly harass some wonderful people and create a level of resentment that would never heal. We would also jeopardize the livelihood of many good citizens who directly or indirectly rely upon immigrant labor.

Blanket amnesty is an equally bad idea. Everyone who understands the importance of our legal system and law enforcement realizes the foolishness of allowing law-breakers to jump ahead of those who have respectfully followed the immigration process. The precedent laid down by such a policy would undermine the rule of law, which only leads to worse problems.

The solution lies somewhere in between.

I suggest we initiate a plan that allows American employers to accept a level of risk and personal responsibility by sponsoring their workers. The employers, whose citizenship and legal standing could be verified, would be required to appear in person at an appointed venue to secure a legal permit for each worker who does not have absolute verifiable proof of citizenship. The time frame could be decided according to set guidelines and determined by a local authority. The worker must appear with the sponsor without the fear of mistreatment.

Those securing a worker’s permit could also apply for citizenship in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of those already in the process. If the federal government requires the worker to return to their country before re-entering, then so be it. That judgment could be made on a case-by-case basis. The order and time frame to get in line for citizenship would be predetermined and clearly stated.

It would also be a good idea for each potential worker to have character references, similar to those on a standard work application, so that upstanding members of our communities could have a voice in the matter. It would also help weed out the drug runners and other criminals who might be able to pay off a bogus employer.

The point of the process is to separate those who have legitimate value and character, but no legal papers, from those who should not be in our country. America loves and needs immigrants, but the exploitation and abuse of our generous system must stop.

Through this process, illegal immigrants who are positively contributing to the growth of our nation could continue working with a proper permit and openly apply for citizenship. Millions of undocumented persons would be identified without the fear of being deported. After a set time frame, any worker without proper credentials would be immediately deported. Any recurring illegal entries would be met with predetermined severe consequences.

This could more efficiently help identify capable and qualified workers, avoid the pitfalls of ill-conceived, shortsighted blanket policies and showcase the beauty and power of American freedom and opportunity. We could then, with a clear conscience, police our borders aggressively and prosecute those who continue to break the law.

We must work together. We both have needs that can only be met through some form of cooperation. Politics, partisanship and pettiness must be laid aside. Let’s take this issue seriously and find a workable solution, and do so immediately.

 

Publishing Information

Author: James Robison

Word Count: 988

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net