I am starting with admittedly the most divisive and difficult policy question we face. The solution is complex but easily understood when the principles relating to it are clear.
Here are the principles that I believe apply to this problem.
1. This is a problem that is the responsibility of the Federal Government. If they refuse to take that responsibility, it creates severe problems for the states and the citizens of our country.
2. Every country has the right to protect its borders and determine who to allow to visit, for how long and who should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship
3. People have a right to seek to improve the health and well-being of their families - even if that means moving to a new area or country (unalienable rights to life and the pursuit of happiness)
4. People who demonstrate willingness to reform/repent should be forgiven and be given assistance and opportunity - they shouldn't, however, be given more than those who continue to live in integrity.
5. A Citizen should always have more rights, freedoms and opportunities than illegal aliens and other non-citizens.
6. Economic status and education should not be deciding factors for those applying to enter the country legally. Our country was built by those who had neither, but came here to build a better life through hard work and determination. (Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.)
1. Arbitrary quotas on legal immigration must be removed or greatly expanded for a time as we provide an adjustment to the broken system we have been living under. We can no longer state that the country cannot assimilate the 12-20 million illegals living here, because we are doing it now. People wading through the system to immigrate legally are waiting as many as 15 years to complete the process. This makes it impossible for those who need to feed their families now to go through the process legally.
2. Deportation should cease for a period of one year while the changes below are instituted. This does not apply to those who break our laws, especially driving without a license or insurance, violence, theft and other serious crimes.
3. During that year, those who are here illegally can present themselves for expedited processing. No penalties will be invoked unless they are guilty of serious crimes. We will assist them to return to their country of origin and work with their government to bring them back legally as quickly as is possible, after criminal and background checks are completed.
4. Those in this program will not be placed in line ahead of those who have already applied to come here legally.
5. At the end of the deportation moratorium (1 year), those who have not taken advantage of the program will be considered criminals and treated as such. They will be deported. If they are found in our country again, they will be incarcerated and work at hard labor or domestic/institutional service/maintenance in government institutions such as prisons or to rebuild our roads, bridges and other public works until such time as they choose to return to their country of origin. This will provide them with the room and board they need to survive while acknowledging their status as illegal aliens with no rights except those that other criminals receive.
6. Those who take advantage of this program will be forgiven only for entering the country illegally. For them only, there will be a possible path to citizenship if they are not guilty of other crimes.
This is an example of how applying true principles to problems can help us to arrive at solutions that are creative, sensitive to peoples situations and have moral integrity. I welcome your comments and suggestions.