I’ve not said much about the whole illegal/guest/immigrant/workers/people thing because I honestly don’t have a solution myself, but ***Dave does:
My two-cent solution, utterly impractical because it requires hard political decisions, spending a lot of money, and inconveniencing folks who can take advantage of the current situation:
- Devise a guest worker program that is easily applied for (including from within the country, initially), is quickly processed, has a very high quota, has strong protections for workers and strict penalties for overstaying one’s welcome. The program should have provisions for good performers to apply for permanent citizenship.
Folks could apply for this from within the country (i.e., if you’re currently illegal, here’s your chance to get on the right side of the law). Yes, that’s an “amnesty.” Suck it up.
Once this program is in place for six months, then the following items would kick in.
- Harsh penalties for companies that do hire illegals. That includes closing the “independent contractor” loophole, as well as companies bearing responsibility for what their subcontractors and subsubcontractors do.
- Harsh penalties for illegal immigration. If there are reasonable avenues for folks to work here legally, then illegal workers can be justly punished. That includes deportatioin followed by escalating prison sentences in this country.
- Improve border security — something short of Fortress America, but still more than what we currently have. Alternately (or perhaps more cheaply) improve enforcement of the above laws, checking on legality status of workers and prosecuting workers and businesses for violation of the law.
Sounds good. Which probably means it won’t happen in a million-jillion years. Which is a shame.