January 16, 2021

Dealing with No-Fault Immigrants: Suggestions to the President

Posted on 16. Jun, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics, Social/Cultural

Question: What do you call someone whose car gets t-boned proceeding legally through an intersection? Answer: a victim. And what do you call the children of illegal immigrants in the U.S.? Illegal immigrants.

But just like the passengers in the t-boned car who weren’t driving the vehicle, didn’t own the vehicle or chose the route it traveled, the children of illegal aliens have another name…no fault immigrants.

Doing the executive ‘slow walk’

On Friday, the President chose to ratchet up the stakes in the immigration debate by announcing that his administration would, essentially, ‘slow-walk’ enforcement of deportation of a group of approx. 800,000 illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as teenagers and who now are under 30 years of age.

Let’s take a look at the problem from a political, legal and humanitarian standpoint. Politically, this decision will increase support for the President from some ethnic communities. The one the President most wants to curry favor with is the Hispanic community (but he’ll take the support of any other ethnic group that will give it to him), and the decision will probably earn him some votes.

However, the President’s people forget that most Hispanics are law-abiding citizens and look down on those of their own ethnic group (and others) who break our laws. They don’t support just any old measure to legalize the 12-20 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., but they do support some.

Si, se puede

I firmly believe that most Hispanic voters are like most any other voter in any other ethnic group; they vote their conscience not their skin color or ethnic background.

Legally, the President probably has the right under the “Immigration and Nationality Act” to set the pace and the procedures for identifying illegal aliens and deporting them, but that goes for individuals not sub-groups like no-fault immigrants. To challenge this authority politically or legally would be a colossal waste of taxpayer money and the Congress’ time not to mention political capital from both parties.

This is not to say that the issue of immigration shouldn’t be discussed. It should, but it should not be done piecemeal.  And therein lies the rub. Neither party really wants the whole issue debated just months before an important election because both parties could lose important votes.

And while this decision may be a convenient and temporary diversion away from the economy for the President, there is an aspect of his policy that could end up hurting him and that is the infusion of 800,000 new workers into an already dismal and growing unemployment situation.

This will clearly anger all those who’ve been looking for work for years and can’t find it. And while these people may be unemployed they do vote, and they could constitute up to 23 million voters if you count those who’ve given up looking.

From a humanitarian standpoint, the plight of the no-fault immigrant is clear. They are not to blame for the sins of their fathers (or mothers). Deporting them would be justified in the eyes of the law, but it would hardly be consistent with the culture of a compassionate country.

Some tips for you, Mr. President

What to do then? There are a few actions that could be taken. A special status should be created for them. Those who have no felony convictions, are under the age of 21 and who can demonstrate that they are here solely as a result of involuntarily accompanying a parent who came here illegally would be permitted to stay.

In order to do so they would have to register with Homeland Security and the State Department within a specific time period and then apply for a temporary residency card (not citizenship) as a no-fault immigrant. Then they would need to get a social security number and a work permit from a special office in either HS or the Department of Labor.

They would not be allowed to collect food stamps or welfare benefits (or vote) but would be allowed to collect unemployment benefits if they held a job and were let go within the legal time frame.

Finally, they would be issued a special forgery-proof ID card, be fingerprinted, submit to annual interviews by HS for a five-year period and have their income tax records reviewed by a special office within the IRS, also for a five-year period. Before the end of five years they would have the choice to either return to the country of their birth (deported if they refused) or apply for U.S. citizenship.

Should they choose to apply for U.S. citizenship within the five-year period, they would need to follow the same procedure that all would-be citizens follow and that is to return to their home country, submit an application at the American Embassy and wait their turn (for them in the U.S.) to be processed behind those who came before them. Once citizenship has been granted they would not be able to retroactively petition for their parents or other family members to become citizens.

The United States should be not be in the business of breaking up families but neither should we turn a blind eye to our existing immigration laws. Surely we can find a solution that will please both the absolutists and the relativists in this debate. If we don’t, we will soon have to deal with the next generation of no-fault immigrants.

- Editor

































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