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.


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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America Needs A DREAM

The problem with the immigration debate in this country these past several years has been the discussion is taking place on two different levels.

1) Immigration is bad for AmericaAmerica Needs a DREAM
2) Immigrants are people and deserve rights

Because our national discussion is happening on two different levels, it will just go around and around in circles, never really getting anywhere, until we start having the same discussion. It’s true that immigrants should be given equal rights in this country, but we need to defend our position on the same grounds we are being attacked.

Check out “America Needs A DREAM” for FREE in Amazon lenders library!

I have written an ebook that focuses on responding to the arguments the anti-immigration movement dishes out. We need to be talking about how immigrants are beneficial to the US, and how badly we need to correct the laws that are currently not serving our best interests.

w/ bonus Interactive DREAM Act Discussion Guides

In the back of the book are a few interactive discussion guides that will help keep this discussion on the same page and take away the arguments that the anti-immigration movement would like us to believe are truths. They are not, and I include links to studies and articles that back up these arguments, taking the wind right out of their sails, and exposing the lies.

Please go to and buy America Needs A DREAM, or, if you have an Amazon Prime account, you can check out the book for free. The interactive discussion guides in the back is well worth the $1.95 all by itself.

Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list to be notified on important the Dishwasher’s Son events.

We all need to dig in and let our politicians know what we want them to do, and why they need to be doing it. Until we make this crystal clear, we are going to be living this debate indefinitely.

Mike J. Quinn
America Needs A DREAM
The Dishwasher’s Son