As I work through the issues and arguments, and I must say that I am often led by the opinion of Hugh Hewitt, I am finding that the building of the Southern Wall is more important to me. And boy do I want to see some Mexican Americans be a part of that.
Hewitt has introduced the term to my vocab of 'regularization' by which he means some process of illegals working off their debt to society. I say classify them as felons first, and make that clear. Again, I am making the distinction between those illegal immigrants who came on legal papers and are overstaying, and those Mojados who conspired and crossed the border illegally with forged or no documents. In both cases, neither class should ever vote, nor be expected to get citizenship, but at some point they and their families should not have to look over their shoulders. This establishes a permanent second-class citizenship, then again a felony is a felony. I think it is reasonable to expect that anyone who willfully shortcuts the legal process should pay that price.
A program of regularization is different from that of amnesty. And in fact it ought to address previous grants of amnesty as well. If we have some 20 or 30 million people living in America who will never be American citizens, we ought to know exactly who they are and what they can do. In that regard I am in support of a second form of ID that would be appended to personal income tax records and required of all employees, similar to the I9 requirement. This is your work ID.
Call it a Work ID. This could be a set of five 5 digit numbers on a credit card secured with a PIN to be used by all Guest Workers. This would tie employers, tax agencies and immigrants to one system that would track that entire economic sector. I think that from a pure security perspective, a second national ID used in combination with the SSN would improve all kinds of things. Again, I'm thinking of this as a real-time authentication kind of system, not just papers.
As has been suggested widely, I agree with and support a fast track path to full citizenship through service in the armed forces. I've heard six years bandied around. That's seems a bit much, but I guess I don't have a good feel for how long it takes to fully immigrate. I've heard eleven years. That's obscene. I can't imagine why it should take a day over 7 years to be granted full citizenship, and I recognize how the length of this process defeats the hope of many who would go the whole nine legally if it wasn't eleven.
Regularization, not amnesty is, acceptable. Let's see what comes out in the legislation...
If there are about 1 million Mexicans of whatever mix getting across to the US per year and normal regularization takes 11 years, then there are concievably many millions more wanting to come. I seem to recall the poll saying perhaps 40 million more from that country alone. That's geopolitically strategic, and that's another angle we need to consider in regularization. That is to say Mexican regularization would be a special case, and yes it should apply retroactively.
It is clear to me that as much as I'd like to see plenty low wage workers make the US competitive in global markets, that is not what this influx is producing. Rather, it is producing a labor black market that depresses living wages American citizens wouldn't take so easily given our minimum wage laws.