10 Steps to a Legal NationAmerica must be a nation of laws.
Everyone in the United States should be here legally.
America also is a land of immigrants, and our lives, economy, and history have been enriched by immigration.
There has to be a robust and attractive program of legal immigration. There are major positive economic and social benefits to streamlining and simplifying our convoluted, broken visa process.
At the core of being American is a thorough understanding of American exceptionalism. We are a nation not defined by place or ethnic heritage, but by the collective understanding that we are “endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." It is precisely these rights, freedoms and opportunities that have drawn ambitious, risk-seeking immigrants to our shores for four centuries.
It is essential that every native-born American and every immigrant learn about this exceptional heritage and our exceptional history.
Three Principles1. No “comprehensive” plan can work. President Bush could not pass one during six years with a Republican Congress. President Obama could not pass one with a Democratic Congress. Immigration reform can be outlined as a complete proposal but has to be passed in a series of steps, with each one understood and passed on its own merits.
2. Under no circumstance can a path to citizenship be created which would allow those who have broken the law to receive precedence over those who patiently waited to become residents and citizens via the legal process. Those who adhered to our immigration law cannot be usurped by those who violated it.
3. We must reconcile the goal of legality with the reality that there are millions of immigrants currently here outside the law, some with a long set of family and community ties, and some with no ties. A system has to be established that establishes legality but no citizenship for those with deep ties, repatriates those with no family or community ties in a dignified way, and quickly sends home those who have committed criminal and other destructive acts.
SOLUTIONS1. Control the border.
The United States must control its border. It is a national security imperative.
Every nation has the right to control its border. Historically, every country that has been determined to control their border has been able to do so.
Controlling the border is a matter of resources and will...
2. Create a 21st Century Visa Program
Our current visa program is inadequate, inefficient, and outdated. Americans and newcomers deserve a system that works.
Americans will benefit from a fairer, more secure, more efficient system, which will ensure that foreign visitors, students, workers and job-creators alike provide as many positive benefits as possible to our economy and society.
Future visitors and future legal residents will be drawn to the most efficient visa system in the world, whether one wants to come to the United States to travel, to study, or to work. – and especially to bring talent and capital to create American jobs.
A huge element of this reform will be to dedicate the necessary resources to eliminate inefficiencies for all visa processing at our consular facilities.
A Brazilian tourist who wants to visit Disney World and spend thousands to support American jobs should not have to wait four months to get an interview for a tourist visa.
- A foreign entrepreneur who wants to establish legal residency and immediately create American jobs should not have to spend tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees first.
- A brilliant graduate of an American engineering program should not have to go all the way home to initiate the process of applying for a high-skilled work visa.
- An American farmer in California should have efficient, legal means to hire temporary, legal labor to support the American economy.
3. “In-source” the best brains in the world
...Unfortunately, Congress still sets rigid caps on the number of highly-skilled foreigners who may come to work in the United States per year, and it is increasingly onerous for both employers and employees to obtain H1-B high-skilled work visas. This is wrong and economically misguided, and if America wants to continue to be a haven for the most talented people in the world, this program needs to be vastly expanded to meet our economic needs
We have the best universities in the world, but many foreigners who come to study are turned away and sent back home as soon as they get their degree. It is foolish to educate someone well enough for them to start the next job-creating startup, only to force them to leave America and start their business overseas. We want the jobs here and that means we want the job creators here.
This could be done by allowing easier transition from an F (student) visa to an H1-B (high-skill) visa. Currently foreign students who want to work in the United States must leave the country and begin their application process from scratch. We should remove this inefficiency and allow qualified foreign students to transition immediately into the American workforce...
4. Allow foreigners who want to spend money, invest and create jobs in America to do so.
There is no shortage of foreign nationals who want to come to America to sightsee, to invest, and to create jobs. It is up to us to implement policies that ensure that our economy is as enriched as possible by these individuals.
If citizens of other nations want to invest and create jobs in America, then we should be making it easier for them to invest, work and potentially gain citizenship through an expanded EB-5 program. The EB-5 program grants permanent residency to overseas investors who create and maintain at least ten American jobs.
5. There has to be a legal guest worker program, but its management must be outsourced to a sophisticated manager of anti-fraud systems, such as American Express, Visa, or Mastercard.
We want American businesses that need workers to be able to hire.
Today, the visa program for unskilled workers is cumbersome for employers and workers, and completely inflexible to the labor demands of the American economy. The number of temporary work visas granted stays capped, regardless of how many workers American businesses needs at any point – this is why, when the demand for additional labor is high, many foreigners come here to work illegally.
The solution to this problem is a well-regulated, robust guest worker program...
6. Create a path to earned legality for some of the millions of people who are here outside the law.
There are currently anywhere from 8 to 12 million people living in the United States who entered illegally.
These people range from day laborers who arrived recently, to grandparents who have been paying taxes, supporting their families and obeying the law for decades.
We need a system that enforces the rule of law, ensures that those who broke the law pay a stiff penalty, but also acknowledges that it is neither optimal nor feasible nor humane to deport every single illegal immigrant.
We need a path to legality, but not citizenship, for some of these individuals who have deep ties to America, including family, church and community ties. We also need a path to swift but dignified repatriation for those who are transient and have no roots in America...
7. Deportation of criminals and gang members should be efficient and fast.
We must end the practice of “catch and release,” under which dangerous criminals here illegally are caught by law enforcement, but then quickly returned to society.
When someone is here illegally and is dangerous, there should be expedited procedures to remove them from the United States as rapidly as possible.
The current system is so cumbersome and time-consuming that many arrested non-citizens are released back into society and simply break their word and disappear. This is wrong and dangerous.
8. Ensure that every new citizen and every young American learn American history and the key principles of American Exceptionalism.
America is a learned civilization built on ideas, and the relentless efforts to eliminate American history and American Exceptionalism from our schools has weakened the very fabric and vitality of our civilization.
A key step in our future strength as a country must be to reinstate the importance of America in our citizenship process and our education process.
9. English must be the official language of government.
Teaching everyone English creates a common commercial and political culture.
We want people to come to America to become Americans.
For over 250 years there has been an emphasis on learning English as part of that process.
10. Young non-citizens who came to the United States outside the law should have the same right to join the military and earn citizenship.
Individuals who came to the United States as minors with their parents did not willingly break any laws. These individuals should have the opportunity to obtain legal residency/citizenship by serving their adopted country in the military.
Only the children will be considered for legal residency, and, unlike the so-called DREAM Act, there will not be an option to petition for legal status and citizenship for their parents who entered illegally as adults.
11. Once the new guest worker program is established and the "path to legality" system for those here illegally is in place, anyone breaking the law to get into the United States should face very severe penalties. Anyone facilitating illegal entry should face even more severe penalties. If these rules are enforced, the era of illegal immigration will be over.