Plan A- Equality

There has been a lot of talk about what needs to be in our upcoming immigration bill. I have been debating this issue for a couple of years now and see that a sixth imperative needs to be added in order for any new immigration legislation to be truly successful.

Equality.

Without Equality an immigrant will find this whole process less than fulfilling and almost certainly harmful.  If they are not 100% a part of our community, an immigrant will have no vested interest in helping us succeed. They could go back home at any time and compete against us, or otherwise help another country’s economy. With the recovery from the recent recession taking so long, we need all the help we can get right now getting our country back on track. We need more people creating jobs and providing affordable services.

Every US citizen needs to be equal in the eyes of the law and our government.

taxation_without_representationIf there is a sub-class of citizen who lives among us, works with us and pays their fair share of taxes, but who cannot vote or otherwise fully participate in their destiny, we will have failed to give all of our citizens equal access to the American Dream. If they can’t vote, they would be vulnerable to be treated like second class citizens by our government, police, and other institutions and groups of our society. If we have learned nothing else from our civil rights era, we should have at least learned this.

no_taxation_without_representation_mousepad-p144410742047262307envq7_400Taxation without representation was one of the precursors to our struggle for independence from England. If not being able to control our own destiny was a good enough reason to rebel against an oppressive government and seek our own self-determined solution, then why would we subjugate a portion of our society to suffer that same fate? This would be about as un-American an act as we could possibly inflict against a part of our society.

In order to appease the more conservative among us, if we accepted someone into our society and they committed some horrible act that warranted their expulsion, we should also have the right to revoke their citizenship and deport them, never allowing them to return. This should be the only difference between someone born on American soil, and someone adopted into our family. This would prevent them from becoming a disenfranchised part of our community, as well as protect us from someone who would do us great harm.

1115Q_CIVILhousing1_35p Equality should be the number one goal for all of our society. There are those among us today who are fighting for this very freedom and it should shame us to no end that we continue to allow this type of behavior to endure. A hundred years after the civil war gave slaves their freedom, African-Americans still had to fight for equality. Many still struggle today.

 

 

National_Association_Against_Woman_SuffrageAlmost a hundred years after women won the right to vote, they still fight to gain equal footing with men in many areas.  The rights for Gay men and women are being fought today and there is little sign that this will end any time soon. Dare we add another group of  Americans to this sad list of  persecuted and under-represented citizens?

What will it take for us to treat each other with dignity and respect, and become a truly civilized society?

Next week- Conclusion

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US Immigration Reform Plan A

 

If we don’t want the House of Representatives to hijack our immigration reform efforts, we need to tell them what we want. Right now they are taking it upon themselves to tell us what they are going to give us, irregardless of how adversely it affects our country. Every credible study that has ever been done regarding our country and its immigrants has shown that they are a valuable part of our society and indeed, have made us the great nation we are today. The Republicans are the only ones saying otherwise.

Stand up and let them know you will not be beaten into submission. Read this ebook and join the conversation.

Click Here to download the free ebook

US Immigration Reform PLAN A Conclusion

Before we finish there needs to be something addressed here that is not in the US Immigration Reform PLAN A ideology.

Some of the conservatives in the audience will notice there is no mention of border security in this bill. There are two very sound reasons for this:

1)   The border is more secure now than at any time in our history. More resources, money and manpower have been shifted to the border than during any other time in our history. As a result of our extensive efforts to stop people at the border, we are apprehending a record low level of  people not seen since 1971.  People crying about securing the border before working on any new immigration bill are really just stalling. No border in the history of the world has ever been 100% secure, and our border with Mexico has never been more secure than it is right now.

2)   When you focus on compliance and making it easy and financially accessible and ultimately highly beneficial for everyone to participate, the need for prevention will be greatly reduced. As compliance passes 80% the need for our current border forces will also be reduced, and the remaining force’s day to day activities will shift to rounding up drug runners and criminals, as all those who have nothing to hide will rather do things the easy, inexpensive, legal way. Catching fewer people should be easier than trying to stem the tide of a million immigrants a year, so our border security should even increase, while we reduce our expenses and shift our resources where they will be needed most.

If we begin here, we can begin to create a program that is good for the both the US, and the immigrant, is weighted more towards benefiting us, can be easily (relatively speaking) setup and maintained, won’t cost us anything, and quite possibly help us monetize and protect a resource of income, spending, and taxes, as well as protect and nourish a great part of our communities and culture.  With the emerging markets producing vastly more competition around the world, we could use all the help we can get. Immigrants of all kinds are needed to keep us leading the world in engineering, innovation, economy, and quality of life.

     Lastly,

The only thing I loathe more than censorship is hateful comments that contribute nothing to the conversation. The only comments that will be removed are the hateful, non-helpful ones, (trolls) and people who love to post the same comment over and over and over and over and over. . .

Please remember, any jerk can complain, and most usually do, but only those who genuinely care about helping, will offer suggestions as to how to make something better.

We need to hurry. Congress could surprise us and come up with something sooner than later. If that happens, the compromises that inevitably will find their way into the bill will likely cripple it, and hinder any future progress we might otherwise enjoy.

So tell me, do you have confidence in our government to put forth a well thought out, truly beneficial and successful bill that will propel our country forward for years to come?

Join the conversation now, before we have to suffer through what congress manages to cobble together, for the next thirty years.

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US Immigration Reform PLAN A Taxable

I want you to pay your taxesTaxable is a great way for this program to pay for itself.

There needs to be a way for our immigration system to be able to be self-supporting. Sure, the immigrants will add value to our society by purchasing goods and filling jobs, but we need to be able to set up systems that will ensure both the immigrants and US citizens are taken care of. Think of it as an “immigrant work tax” program.

Being able to track and tax the income of all people within our borders is very important, citizen or not. Today there is a shadow society of people who do not pay income taxes, or those that do cannot reap the benefits for which they are being taxed. Both situations need to be addressed if we want our new immigration policy to be effective.

The new immigrant work tax should be above and beyond what citizens are required to pay. Immigrants who are not citizens may have needs that US citizens do not, such as legal services, court fees, incarceration costs and deportation costs. The fees for participation should cover the expenses to administer this program, see to it that every immigrant inside our borders complies, and to fund the system that deals with the people who refuse to participate. Our new immigration program should not be a burden on our society.

The normal taxes collected by the IRS should go to the same programs that US citizens fund with their taxes, as well as unemployment and disability insurance. In order to attract and retain great workers, we need to show our possible future citizens what it’s like to be a US citizen. Having the same programs in place for immigrants, as citizens, will also help us keep things simple and affordable.

This same program should also have the same requirements for immigrants to join health care programs for obvious health and financial reasons. Ensuring compliance with all of the programs an immigrant is expected to participate in is an expense in and of itself and should be funded the immigrants themselves.

Finally, what would welcoming new people into our country without equality?

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US Immigration Reform PLAN A Actionable

Actionable

 

imgres-4If we’ve followed Plan A this far we will have a simple, inexpensive and highly accurate immigration process.  Added all together we now have information regarding our visitors and immigrants that we can actually do things with.

  • We can deport those who affect our society in negative ways.
  • We can block bad people from coming in.
  • We can import people we want and need based on any number of criteria, to achieve any goal our society needs.
  • We can defend the stability of American families by not deporting the wrong people.
  • We can tax new workers who are not fully citizens and allow them to pay into a system that looks after them.
  • We can verify eligibility of special programs for non-citizens.
  • We can protect our immigrants from abuse by those who would try to take advantage of a shadow labor force.
  • We can protect our workers from an unfair competitive advantage by those who otherwise wouldn’t have the additional costs of taxes, medical benefits and social security payments and underbid those who work within our system and do carry these costs.
  • We can track the numbers of workers in an industry and actively seek out specific types of workers depending on our needs.
  • We can do a lot of things with highly accurate data.

Our immigration system could actually work for us instead of against us like it does today.

This cheap and easy system will pay huge dividends in social and economic benefits. Immigrants will actually WANT to participate in our program as it will benefit them immensely and protect them from those that would abuse them, ensuring a high rate of participation and enabling us to identify everyone within our borders.

Only those who don’t qualify for our system will be the ones who try to work around it. These people will easily stick out and be much more easy to deport as there will be much less of them to deal with.

Not having your ID could automatically place an individual in a processing area until their status can be verified by a professionally trained immigration specialist.

One example of how this immigration system could be used is If someone just doesn’t have their ID on them, but they do have one (lost, stolen, left in other pants. . . ) If they are found to be a legitimate member of our society then they can be released. If they are found to be living outside our system, they could be immediately input into our system by being photographed, fingerprinted and have some DNA extracted. If after that information is processed we can either incarcerate those who we were looking for or whose DNA matches an unsolved crime, or we can deport that person and they will be banned from entering the US for a certain period of time. Caught again; and they could be jailed and then deported, etc.

With this type of immigration system no one will have an excuse not to participate, except for those who aren’t able to qualify in the first place. Finding them and taking action to remove them from our society could either put them in jail, court, or on a bus back to the border. End of story.

A system that allows us to act without reproach ensures the safety of every member of our society.

Next up: Taxable. Ensuring our new citizens pay their fair share.

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US Immigration Reform PLAN A Accurate

Accurate

 

bullseyeThe accuracy of our immigration program’s data is of paramount importance. If the information we store about anyone is tainted with mistakes or cannot identify someone with extreme accuracy, then we won’t be much better off than we are today. False positive identifications could get the wrong people deported, or worse.

If we take a look around us at industries that rely on accuracy we get an interesting perspective on how important high rates of reliability are to them. 

 

 

 

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price-cutA quick search for errors on credit reports, an industry that needs a high level of accuracy when people’s borrowing power relies on it shows  a staggering 20% of consumers had an error on credit report (40 million)   http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57567957/40-million-mistakes-is-your-credit-report-accurate/

 

The banking industry is famous for having extremely low rates of error. They process millions of transactions every day. They need to be extremely accurate. A study called, “ The 2012 Exceptions Benchmarking Study”  revealed “0.58 percent of total bill payments (including checks, ACH, cards and cash payments) in 2011 were not able to be posted accurately upon receipt by billers. Based on this exception rate, it is estimated that 130 million payments required exception handling, costing the industry approximately $720 million annually.”

Luckily our immigration system won’t be processing the quantities of transactions the banking industry does, or will it? If every form an immigrant or visitor is counted as a transaction (because it could produce an error itself) and there were say a million applications per month for travel, work and immigration, depending on how complicated these forms are and how many of them are needed, we could actually come close to seeing millions of “records” per day needing processing. A 0.58% error rate could cost us quite a bit of time, money and aggravation as well, but it’s something we should at least aim for when setting up our system so we can achieve a high rate of accuracy from the get-go. https://www.nacha.org/node/1144

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I looked up some more statistics from private industry where accuracy was of paramount importance. These companies live and die by how accurate they process their customers packages.

 

imgres

I quote a report by the public broadcasting system in July of 1999.

“If Federal Express delivered 99 percent of its packages on time, an error rate of just 1 percent, roughly 8 million packages a year would still arrive late.” 8 million errors on immigration paperwork could represent up to 8 million incorrect approvals or denials of immigration and visitor applications. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health/july-dec99/errors_11-30.html

 

imgres-1

Compare this to it’s rival UPS, which handles more than twice the volume of packages that FedEx does. With an annual rate of approximately 15.8 million units; FedEx delivered 6.9 million units. UPS delivered approximately 91 percent of its express packages on time, while FedEx delivered 88 percent of its express packages on time.

So roughly 9-12 percent error rates for this industry. That could mean that 1 out of every 10 immigration or visitor applications could be processed incorrectly.

This is way too high, and these companies are very good at what they do.

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/fedex-vs-ups-ground-14571.html

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Now let’s bring this home. We looked at some excellent companies in some critical industries, but where would our government fall in the grand scheme of things? They would most likely be the ones doing the processing, unless we farmed this task out to a private company that could guarantee the high rates of accuracy needed for this task.

imgres-2

Nearly one quarter (25%) of the mail that goes through the USPS system contains some kind of error.

  • 5.4 billion mail pieces (2.7%) are undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) each year (USPS FY98 UAA Estimated Volumes)
  • 3.4 billion forwarded or returned (63%)
  • 2.0 billion treated as waste (37%)

Correcting the undeliverable portion of these errors mail piece by mail piece costs the USPS nearly $2 billion per year.

This does not look promising. Unfortunately after scouring the internet I found the Government does not provide or publish statistics of reliability or accuracy, prompting me to wonder if they even check. Sometimes ignorance is truly bliss I guess.

http://www.pb.com/bv70/en_us/extranet/contentfiles/editorials/downloads/ed_wpaper_moveupdate_css_WhitePaperMU.pdf

 

imgres-3

One government industry overseen by a watchdog industry has reported that 10 percent of death sentences are being overturned by evidence of innocence. Now this industry is literally a life and death situation. There should be 0 percent error rates tolerated here, yet they are finding a whopping 10 percent error rate. We must do better than this. (they must do better than this too.)  http://www.statisticbrain.com/death-penalty-statistics/

As is painfully obvious, we need to hold higher standards than is currently being achieved today by most industries, but we have to start somewhere. Keeping the process as simple as possible with the least amount of information gathered and tracked as necessary for the efficient functioning of this system needs to be a high priority. This will help us at least begin with a good shot at a low error rate. After we get this system rolling we can fix and refine it until it is the model of efficiency and accuracy.

Who knows where this type of attention to detail might do for the rest of our government.

Next up: Actionable. Getting things easy and accurate means we can actually do things with the information we gather and our immigration process could actually work for us.

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US Immigration Reform Plan A Easy

Our immigration policy should be easy to participate in

and easy to manage

EasyButton

All businesses know that the more complex the process—the more opportunities for mistakes find their way into the product.  There should also be plenty of offices to process applicants so there is no 10-20+ year backlog like the ones that exist for many visas today.

 

What does Easy Mean?

 

  • NO huge applications with difficult to understand language.
  • Many offices to file applications in.
  • No long waits.
  • No retroactive disqualifications.

Disqualifications should occur immediately. Either someone is acceptable for a visa, or they are not. If they are here already and they don’t qualify, send them home. If they are not here yet, don’t let them in.

When-

There are three main time frames our immigration system needs to deal with right now:

1)   People already here- Mandatory participation. Photo- application- DNA sample- held until DNA processed & application approved and ID created. Extra fee for meals & lodging if needed.

2)   Pre-arrival- Just like the passport process, only more detailed. photo-application-DNA sample-  these people will already have been issued an ID card that can be used to identify and track the immigrant.

3)   In the country and Undocumented- These people are already here.  Incarcerate and process into the system. (Anyone caught in the country not in the system one year after it begins is automatically processed (put into the system) then flagged as ineligible and sent home where they must wait one year, before applying again and get into the system.)

Where-

There are many places immigration can be logically thought to be  processed:

  • local government offices;
  • law enforcement offices;
  • passport processing offices;
  • IRS offices. . .

We should talk about the pros & cons regarding each possibility before determining the most convenient, efficient, and financially prudent way to proceed.

How-

This is the area we need to really focus on. I can only give broad strokes here. I don’t claim to know everything about everything, but I do know, at a minimum, our immigration system needs to identify and track the immigrant to ensure homeland security is maintained at the highest level we can aspire to without subjugating an individual’s human rights.  It also needs to be a level playing field where minority or poverty makes participating impossible. The more we exclude groups of people, the more people will not participate and this all will have been for nothing.

We can establish an individual’s identity by sampling their DNA and affixing that code, with fingerprints to a photo ID. This will at the very least establish someone’s ID if they previously have none.

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Some examples of raising the bar too high and hobbling the immigration system to attain mediocre results:

hobbling 5 – 30 year waiting list just to become eligible for a lottery.

This is asinine. How could this possibly benefit our country or our immigrants? This provision is nothing more than the Republicans’ way of trying to punish people who have been trying to work around a system that the legislators themselves have put off for too many years. We should be punishing the congressmen for not doing this sooner, and not the immigrants for having to deal with such a pathetically broken system. Perhaps we should give the Republicans a taste of their own medicine and tell them if this provision stays in the final version of the law that goes to vote, we should vote out of office everyone who supported it. (Democrats included) Let’s see how forgiving they want us to be, when they’re the ones on the hot seat.

Retroactive disqualification.

To disqualify someone because they arrived here on an arbitrary. Again, what does this get us? This will most certainly guarantee a percentage of undocumented immigrants for future complaining of a “failed immigration bill” by the very people who insisted on hobbling it.  Even strict parents know you have to give someone an opportunity to succeed before you can punish them for failing.

Setting a stiff penalty for compliance.  

This will surely keep people who can’t afford the penalty in a position for further abuse and misery.  There are other ways to monetize this program and keep it self-supporting, so this little barrier to entry will weaken the effectiveness of the program, not make it stronger. Haven’t the poor been marginalized enough? Shouldn’t they too have the same opportunities as everyone else?

Making only a few offices where visas can be processed.  

Creating long lines and huge distances to be travelled, income to be lost, children to be looked after. . .  This would surely constrain the effectiveness of the program as well. We need to reduce the excuses for non-participation as possible to ensure the program’s effectiveness. If we do everything we can to ensure everyone can participate, and they still don’t enter the system, then the guilt and repercussions will be all on them.

The consistent theme here has been one of simple human nature: the more difficult something is to comply with, the less people will comply with it. Try it at home, at work—anywhere.

images

 

For an example of difficulty reducing a law’s effectiveness, just look out your window the next time you are in traffic.  Are there single people in the carpool lane? Are there people passing you by, ignoring the speed limit? Do people change lanes or turn without using turn signals? We can barely be expected to obey these few simple laws, yet most of us break them every day. How can we expect anyone to wait 30 years for a green card so they can work, or to ensure their family will not be separated?

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Would you wait?

Number in order of preference (Reality should be your guide)

How often would you (or have you) wash your car if you:

 

  • Had only a hose.
  • Had a hose, bucket, soap, sponge, bug & tar remover, Windex, Amorall, towels, a shammy, and a spray nozzel with 7 different settings.
  • Pay the carwash  $15.00.
  • Make your son do it.
  • Wait ’till next week when you have more time.

 

All of these offer a different degree of difficulty. You can easily see that the easier ones would get the highest usage. This is basic human nature, and we all know it exists. We also know what kind of results we get when we force people to be something they  currently are not doing. Do we want that type of result with our new immigration legislation?

We should demand from our lawmakers a new immigration policy that works to identify ALL of the people in our country. Our current underground class of citizen should not be permitted or assisted to continue like it does today. We are intelligent enough to create a program to do this. We just need our lawmakers to get the old chips off their shoulders and work toward that goal, instead of trying to exact revenge on a class of people who have little going for them as it is.

Next up we discuss the importance of ACCURACY to this process.

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Inexpensive Immigration Reform

Inexpensive

 

price-cut

Why is being inexpensive necessary for any new immigration policy to be effective?

To ensure participation.

 

If the majority of the people don’t participate, or even if a large number of people don’t participate, very little will have changed and we will have wasted our time.

When we increase participation of our new immigration laws, it helps ensure the success of the program on many different levels:

  1. It removes the shadow community that is highly vulnerable.
  2. It reduces the number of unknown people who may be a possible danger to our communities and our national security.
  3. It also removes the shadow economy and it’s deflation of wages for everyone concerned. This protects both immigrants from wage and benefit abuse, as well as citizens from any associated wage and benefits reductions in industries associated with undocumented workers.

Barriers to entry, financial or otherwise, will only make the law less effective and therefore less beneficial for all of us.

So what are some of the ways we can reduce the cost of this program without needing immigrants to come up with unrealistic sums of money, or require subsidies from the American taxpayer?

  • Make the fees annual, like auto registration, instead of one lump sum.
  • Take advantage of already built-in infrastructure such as DMV offices. Post offices could also use a shot in the arm with this additional revenue stream, as there are many of them, located all throughout the US, and staffing and services are on the decline.
  • Using data infrastructure already in place ie: crime database, dmv records, tax records, and medical records. All these datacenters can be cross-checked to ensure location and identity of people on an ongoing basis.

If we can keep the overhead down, immigrants should be able to financially support this program by themselves through annual fees and possible payroll taxes. (more on that later)

Using built-in infrastructure would also help speed this program into place. We will need more people to staff these offices, and programmers and data technicians to link up datacenters and expeditiously process and utilize the mountains of data we will be collecting.

The following is a benefits comparison chart that should help visually represent the anticipated benefits to both US citizens and immigrants, showing many reasons for both to participate and help ensure the success of the program.

Good for US

Good for Immigrants

   Affordable For both taxpayers and immigrants.

x

Should not place financial burden on us.

x

Increases our border security

x

Annual and payroll fees, helps locate immigrants if needed.

x

Participation fees help pay for ongoing program overhead.

x

x

Affordability increases compliance, which increases the effectiveness of the program.

x

x

Affordable immigration naturally prohibits immigrating illegally.

x

Reduces their dependence on parasitic employers and illicit vendors.

x

x

Reduces fraud.

x

Reduces victimization.

X

Uses infrastructure already in place as much as possible.

As you can see by the above chart, the benefits of having an inexpensive immigration program are even more beneficial for the United States, than it is for the immigrants.

A few other things need to be said about funding, especially when politicians are involved:

  1. Immigration fees sole purpose is to fund immigration programs.
  2. Never raid the immigration coffers for any other program.
  3. Funding is not a punishment, but rather, a pay-to-play fee.

This last part is important; the higher the costs involved, the less effective the program will be.

The importance of inexpensive immigration programs can be argued all day by the most conservative of us- but the facts won’t change.

Here are some everyday examples of financial barriers to entry:

How many people own Lexus?      How many people own Toyotas?

How many people fly in a private jet? How many people fly commercial 

How many people join Country Clubs?  How many people golf on public courses?

Our new immigration policy should be inexpensive to ensure near 100% participation. This will help protect the immigrant from abuse and encourage their participation that much more. Immigration needs to be easier and less expensive than paying hundreds of dollars for a coyote to lead you through the desert. The fact that this option is already often used shows the insanity of the legislation we currently have in place.

Any immigration program should also be easy to participate in, which we’ll look at next.

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US Immigration Reform Plan A

US Immigration Plan A

Currently we are playing a waiting game with a group of congressmen who are referred to as the “Gang of Eight.” They have already missed President Obama’s immigration reform bill deadline, so it’s anybody’s guess as to when to expect their proposed version of the bill. The Democrats want to tell America they are close to a consensus on the bill–but, as usual, the Republicans are putting the brakes on that happy announcement.   Did we really expect congress to produce an immigration bill on time, considering they led us into a government shutdown?   I have come to the realization that the immigration reform bill–or anything else that’s important to America–cannot be left up to congress to take care of. The whole reason we are in such a state of distress right now is the direct result of the dysfunctional attitudes congress has been displaying for decades. If they were capable of creating and passing competent and workable immigration legislation by now, they would have, and should have–many years ago. It’s time for us to step up to the plate and do for them what they are failing to do for us. We need to tell them what we want, or risk having them put together a luke-warm bill, crippled by the ultra-conservatives who’d really prefer there not be a new immigration law at all. For too long, the Republicans have had an “angry father” view of our immigration system, taking out their anger on the “disobedient children.” Unfortunately, this ignores their responsibility in creating and maintaining an immigration structure that promotes this type of behavior. They are really behaving more like a “deadbeat dad,” skipping out on their responsibilities and making the family fend for itself. The situation we’re in right now is the direct result of them not taking care of their responsibility of ensuring America has laws and systems to give it’s citizens what they need. Companies need access to a rich pool of labor to remain competitive, and US citizens want to enjoy a lifestyle that is among the richest in the world. Our “legislators” have been effectively absent for decades and we have been left to fend for ourselves. We need to force congress to get off their duffs and get the job done, or we should elect someone else who will. What we need is a nurturing parent attitude towards this situation, much like the “single mother” our deadbeat dad created. This type of attitude would say, “okay, me and the kids have been kicked to the curb, what do I need to do to get back to having a normal American life for me and the kids?” for US immigration reform, this would mean: how can we get the labor we need by attracting and retaining the best people from around the world?  This is why America, out of all the countries of the world, has achieved world leadership in just a few hundred years. Even before we were a country, people came here to seek their fortunes. They came here, worked hard, and helped shape this country into what it is today: the land of opportunity. I heard on the radio the other day, a conservative politician who claimed America got to where it is today because of it’s “Christian ethics.” I listened to that, and while it sounded good, it also sounded hollow. Name a European country that doesn’t use Christian ethics? Why didn’t they become the leaders of the free world? Because they weren’t as receptive to immigrants as we always have been. Our immigrants saw the opportunities we had to offer them and made something of themselves, and in the process, made us great as a nation. Other countries were working overtime trying to limit the amounts of immigrants they “granted access” to. We were the country of opportunity. We prospered because of it. Going back to the “deadbeat dad” model, conservatives would like to continue punishing the very people who are doing the best they can, given the limitations they are presented with. Many American families have immigrant members, so that means punishing a great many Americans too. Many of us are children and grandchildren of immigrants. Deporting our fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, because we were doing the best we could in their absence of leadership, is inexcusable.  If a missing parent were to suddenly show up again after a long absence, would we want to be punished and lectured by them for not doing things the way they think they should be done? On top of all this faulty logic rests this fact: immigrants are not the cause of our disfunction.  It is our laws that are inadequate for our needs. They cannot fix our problem. We are the only ones who can change our system and make it manageable for everyone to succeed. Why put the onus on dealing with our immigration problem solely at their feet? And when we punish them, we punish millions Americans too. This is not an immigrant problem. This is an American legislation problem. We have let our laws become so out of date that people have found other ways to make their lives more manageable.   Have you ever been stopped at a light that was stuck on red? You don’t sit and wait for a repairman to fix it. You wait a reasonable amount of time to ensure it’s just not “slow,” then you procede with caution and get on with your life. Should you receive a ticket for that? Pay a fine? Go to traffic school? Go to jail?   I have put forth five basic ingredients we need in order to protect our country, prop up our economy, and cultivate and protect the wealth of immigrants that want so desperately to receive a piece of the American dream. For any immigration plan to work, it needs to satisfy some basic requirements. I began with a much larger list of pie in the sky things I thought would be great to put into a new immigration bill. Then I began discarding anything that did not have a major negative impact on the plan after being removed. If the plan didn’t suffer after removing an idea, that idea didn’t need to remain in the plan. It may have been nice, but it wasn’t necessary. The remaining ingredients I have found to be necessary for the legislation to correct the problems, encourage participation, and not need immediate repair legislation. (We all know how long it could take to create that.)

The result is what I call, “Plan A.”

We need just five guiding principals for our future immigration legislation to have a profound and positive affect on our nation. Any future immigration bill we come up with needs to be:

  1. Inexpensive
  2. Easy
  3. Accurate
  4. Actionable
  5. Taxable

These are but guiding principals, and from here we can fill in the specifics with input from anyone else who feels that congress, if left alone, is bound to create a bigger mess than there already is right now.  If you think I missed an essential ingredient, or if you think some of the things I listed aren’t necessary, then says so in the comments.  I won’t be the only person reading them, looking for public opinion, either. Congress will need this in order to stand firm on items that are really necessary, when the conservative Republicans try to push back and cripple the bill, so if you could, email them a copy of this so we can be certain they have all seen it. There will be little excuse for crafting a crummy bill if they have at least seen this. I will be watching the threads too, and if it looks like some good ideas are gaining some momentum, I will include them and update the plan, so if this is important to you, subscribe to this blog so you can be kept abreast of any changes, and any of the other posts on this topic that are soon to follow.  I will need more than just great numbers to alter items in this plan–I’ll need better ideas. I don’t think just one person can come up with something so important all by themselves. This is something we should do together. Regarding comment trolls; if all you can do is complain, save it for your shrink. This plan is intended to get us to talk about how to craft a workable, functional immigration reform bill that will not need major restructuring immediately after it’s enacted, or worse, take us a step or two backwards in our evolution as a society. Let me briefly describe why these items are on this plan, and then in subsequent articles I’ll dive deeper into the particulars of each, so we can begin having an intelligent conversation and come to a consensus of what we actually need from Congress. As you’ll see below, this affects us all, so we need to make sure it affects us positively, not negatively.

Good for US

Good for THEM

Principals for good immigration reform:
X X Inexpensive
X X Easy
X Accurate
X X Actionable
X Taxable

As you can see by the above table, this list benefits the United States more than the immigrant, and so it should. No nation should feel it was placed on this planet to care for all the world’s people. If some people wish to come here and live, they should contribute more to our society than they take out, just like most of us do ourselves.

There is a saying amongst lawyers and negotiators, “a contract is only as strong as the person who is least willing to abide by it.”

If the new legislation were only about doing good things for one of us–the immigrant, or America–it would fail immediately. Why go through all this work if it will ultimately get us nothing?  Any new legislation must benefit the immigrant well in order to attract and retain great people, just as wage and benefits policies attract and retain good employees.

In brief:

Our new immigration policy should be inexpensive to ensure 100% participation. It should also be self-supporting. We shouldn’t have to shoulder much, if any, of the costs with setting up and maintaining this program.  There are a host of other places we could put our money to good use. Our immigration policy should also be easy to participate in, and easy to manage. The more complex the process–the more mistakes find their way into the product.  There should also be plenty of offices to process applicants so there is no 10-20-30 year backlog like the one that exists for many visas today. Accuracy will make this legislation reliable, and therefore highly actionable. This needs to be well architected so the data we receive from the immigrants identifies them one-hundred percent, and allows us to use this data to ensure the best of the immigrants are received, and the worst are returned, or never admitted in the first place. Our security rests on the reliability that if someone leaves the country, they cannot return under a different identity and get away with it. Actionable means we can do things with the data and information we obtain from our immigrants. We can ensure compliance and take decisive actions against persons not willing to abide by the simple and inexpensive rules they must follow in order to receive some of the keys to the kingdom we will offer them to do so. It will also protect the immigrant against people and organizations who wish to take advantage of them. Currently they are under-represented and suffer from many forms of abuse. If we protect the immigrants, they should be grateful, willing, and downright thankful to participate in this simple and highly affordable program. It will be to all our best interests for this to succeed. Taxable is a great way for this program to pay for itself. This should be above and beyond what citizens are required to pay. This money should be earmarked to be used solely for the set-up and maintenance of the immigration program, and any special services or programs they might require.   Some of the conservatives in the audience will notice there is no mention of border security in this bill. There are two very sound reasons for this:   1)   The border is more secure now than at any time in our history. More resources, money and manpower have been shifted to the border than during any other time in our history. As a result of our extensive efforts to stop people at the border, we are apprehending a record low level of  people not seen since 1971.  People crying about securing the border before working on any new immigration bill are really just stalling. No border in the history of the world has ever been 100% secure, and our border with Mexico has never been more secure than it is right now. 2)   When you focus on compliance and making it easy and financially accessible and ultimately highly beneficial for everyone to participate, the need for prevention will be greatly reduced. As compliance passes 80% the need for our current border forces will be reduced, and the remaining force’s day to day activities will shift to rounding up drug runners and criminals, as all those who have nothing to hide will rather do things the easy, inexpensive, legal way. Catching fewer people should be easier than trying to stem the tide of a million immigrants a year, so our border security should even increase, while we reduce our expenses and shift our resources where they will be needed most.   If we begin here, we can begin to create a program that is good for the both the US, and the immigrant, is weighted more towards benefiting us, can be easily (relatively speaking) setup and maintained, won’t cost us anything, and quite possibly help us monetize and protect a resource of income, spending, and taxes, as well as protect and nourish a great part of our communities and culture.  With the emerging markets producing vastly more competition around the world, we could use all the help we can get. Immigrants of all kinds are needed to keep us leading the world in engineering, innovation, economy, and quality of life.

Lastly,

The only thing I loathe more than censorship is hateful comments that contribute nothing to the conversation. The only comments that will be removed are the hateful, non-helpful ones, (trolls) and people who love to post the same comment over and over and over and over and over. . . Please remember, any jerk can complain, and most usually do, but only those who genuinely care about helping, will offer suggestions as to how to make something better. We need to hurry. Congress could surprise us and come up with something sooner than later. If that happens, the compromises that inevitably will find their way into the bill will likely cripple it, and hinder any future progress we might otherwise enjoy. So tell me, do you have confidence in our government to put forth a well thought out, truly beneficial and successful bill that will propel our country forward for years to come?   Join the conversation now, before we have to suffer through what congress manages to cobble together, for the next thirty years.

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