Point – Counterpoint
A weekly discussion of the issues by Walton County party leaders.
Florida is one of several states that has been affected by mass immigration by illegal aliens. What can been done to lessen the adverse effects of illegal immigration?
A growing problem of epic proportion facing the United States is illegal immigration. This problem has been felt all over the country and is, indeed, of major concern in Florida. This problem is one of many that crosses party lines and is echoed in the minds of the majority of Americans. Many businesses embrace illegal immigrants due to the fact that they are “cheap labor.” This not only promotes the current problem, it also deprives hard working American citizens of job opportunities.
There are many ways of stemming illegal immigration. The first step in this process is to secure our borders. The current administration has done little to remedy this situation. The next president should immediately enlist the help of the National Guard to provide support for the border patrol. A “human wall” would be much more efficient and cost effective than building a $1 billion actual wall that would still have to be “manned.” Any immigrant caught trying to cross the border illegally should be immediately deported.
The next step is to crack down on businesses in the United States that seek out and employ illegal workers. Stiff fines should be imposed on all businesses caught hiring illegal immigrants. Along with fines, these same businesses must be closely monitored in the future. If repeated violations occur, then mandatory prison sentences should be required of the businesses operating officials. A system should also be introduced that would make it easier for businesses to determine if their applicants are legal residents, guest workers, or illegal immigrants.
The final step is to address the millions of illegals who are currently working and residing in the United States. It should be mandated that all illegal aliens be made to register with the government as foreign residents. They should be able to do so without fear of deportation. However, any illegal alien who fails to register would be immediately deported back to their country of origin. If illegals are not registered, it is impossible for the government to keep track of them and collect income taxes.
Once registered, the foreign resident would be issued temporary working papers so that they may earn a living. However, every non-registered person should have to pay a fine ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 for breaking the immigration laws. This money could be deducted from their paychecks over a period of time. After three years, the foreign resident could apply for citizenship, although it would not be guaranteed. These immigrants would have to be in line behind all the others that went through the proper procedures for citizenship. Perhaps a “guest worker program” could be introduced for businesses to draw from. This list could include people currently residing in foreign countries who wish to enter the United States legally. This would be an opportunity for this to happen. It would also enable the government to properly tax these individuals. Any immigrant that was found to be evading taxes in any way would be immediately deported.
These are just a few steps that many Americans feel would curtail the growing problem of illegal immigration. It is not solely up to our government to secure our borders in order to eliminate this problem. Every business must do its part to insure there are no incentives to enter this country illegally. America has always been the land of opportunity. Policies and procedures must be enacted and enforced to keep it that way.
Walton County Democratic Party
I believe, first and foremost, we must enforce existing laws. If we don’t, we are just encouraging lawlessness. I think the first thing we should tackle is this horrible gridlock over a broken immigration system by reclaiming control of our borders and reforming our immigration policies. Every country has the right and the duty to decide who may enter its borders and who may become a citizen. We cannot allow continuing massive illegal immigration for the reasons of both national security and our integrity as a nation. We must not give amnesty to those here illegally, as that would undermine the rule of law and encourage more illegal immigration in the future. It is also unfair to those who are working within the existing system to obtain U.S. citizenship.
With the lack of any agreement in Congress about immigration reform, the government should at least enforce the laws we already have, such as requiring businesses to verify the citizenship of those they hire. Some states and localities have enacted their own laws to discourage illegal immigrants, and they should be supported.
As for legal immigration, the system badly needs reform. Applicants who would bring valuable skills and desirable qualities to the United States are forced to wait for years and spend a fortune to become legal immigrants here, while they watch millions of people who sneaked over the border or overstayed their visas take up residence and earn their livings with very little trouble.
Some ideas that could be implemented are to ensure high-skilled workers who are trained and educated in the United States and have the opportunity to stay here and work upon graduation. Also, reduce the bureaucracy and waiting times for workers to arrive in the United States. We need to make sure qualified American workers are given adequate and fair opportunities to apply for available positions. Foreign workers need to return to their home countries after their temporary period in the United States has lapsed. Allow for appropriate visa renewals to assure that the employers have stability in the workforce.
Tim Norris, Chairman
Walton County Republican Party