When discussion turns to immigration and illegals most of the talk revolves around securing the borders and a path to citizenship. An article about a different approach that appeared in The Wall Street Journal this morning got met to thinking. Are we really on the right track with this path to citizenship business.
The article suggest patterning reform after NAFTA, where goods from the United States, Canada and Mexico cross all borders with impunity. Why not allow workers to do the same?
It's a good point. Back when Reagan gave mass amnesty to 3 million illegals only 17% or 510,000 actually sought citizenship. That means 2.5 million chose otherwise. Today they estimate 11 million illegals are in the country and no one can agree what to do about it.
We have, in this country, a bad habit of making assumptions that don't necessarily pan out. Like how every country in the world wants a United States style democracy. They don't. The Middle East is a prime example.
Why then should we assume that every person who would like to come to this country to work wants to be a citizen? If there was a program that allowed them to cross borders freely with proper identification it would eliminate the need for them to criminalize themselves. It would free up the border patrol from having to hunt them down and free up Janet's beds. It would give the businesses that depend on migrant workers the work force they need without criminalizing themselves and would give Obama more of that revenue he so covets through their taxes.
If at some point if they want to apply for citizenship they go through the same procedure as every one else. This isn't rocket science. It's common sense!
Of course not all those who cross our borders are not so pure of heart, but dealing with them would be a whole lot easier. Those who want to remain citizens of their home country would be free to do so and if they are seasonal workers they might be more likely to leave their families at home if they know they can rejoin them.
The EU operates in a similar manner and has found it far more workable than anticipated. Low wage workers will no more take jobs from Americans then they do now. Face it, we're lazy. We won't do the grunt work. Yet the wages are more than they can earn in their home countries and offers them a legal opportunity to raise the standard of living of their families. It could be win win.
I'll leave it to our erstwhile politicians to work out the details. If they opt not to we should all whack them on the head and tell them to get that V8. They'll be able to think more clearly than with three martinis in their systems. Olives excepted.