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December 2, 2011

So, what is your plan?

Joe Charlebois

What will the next President of the United States do with the millions of people here illegally? Better yet, what will the next president do with those who have been here for decades and have generations of family that have been born here?


Newt Gingrich may have opened a Pandora’s Box for the Republican field of candidates when he promoted the idea that certain members of our society who have been here illegally for decades be allowed to stay under certain conditions. The concept is outlined in the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation’s temporary workers and border security plan outlined in its “The Red Card Solution.” This is the plan that the former Speaker of The House of Representatives referenced in the CNN Debate last week.


Even though Mr. Gingrich was immediately attacked as pro amnesty by Congressman Michele Bachman’s camp, her response to Mr. Gingrich was simplistic and ignored the fact that no one else would address the question asked of Mr. Gingrich. That question was: how would you – and should you – deport all of the untold millions of illegal immigrants no matter their status in their respective adoptive communities?


The issue is not as black and white as many would let you believe.


Contrary to the “path to citizenship” that most on the left propose, this plan would treat those working in the United States as guest workers. They would be required to leave the country and come back and then would be issued with “Smart Cards” after passing a background check. These biometric cards would then be required to be presented prior to employment. This would establish a real guest worker program and not entitle the worker to U.S. citizenship. They would be required to return to their country of origin when the work visa’s expiration.


Of course, as all those in the Republican field have stated, the border needs closed, the incentives need to end, employers must be able to identify legal residents when hiring and held responsible if they knowingly hire illegal immigrants.


Under the plan that Mr. Gingrich referenced these points would be addressed.


Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s plan to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants is necessarily ambiguous. He seems to be playing both sides of the fence. At one point he has been interviewed backing a similar plan to the one favored by Speaker Gingrich. At other times he has been reported to have said that any illegal immigrant would be subject to deportation and then be at the back of the line in obtaining legal residence.


Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s plan may be less confusing, but it lacks in specifics. He definitely takes a more “law and order” stance. In New Hampshire this week, Mr. Perry stated that he would not release any illegal immigrant back into the general public once apprehended on a criminal charge. He stated that his justice department would deport “every” illegal immigrant apprehended by law enforcement. He set up the contrast in his policy to that of the current Obama Justice Department’s policy of letting non-violent criminals go pending immigration hearings.


Mr. Perry also claimed that the border would be sealed in his first year as president. What he would do regarding the millions of otherwise law abiding illegal immigrants is uncertain. He has left the door open for Congress to deal with the details of that half of the plan – the “tricky” part.


Mr. Perry is speaking stridently about eliminating the incentives that either bring or keep illegal immigrants in the country, all while favoring in state college tuition for those in this country illegally.


Congressman Ron Paul (R., TX) is not in favor of establishing a brick and mortar fence between Mexico and the United States’ Southern border, but rather eliminating the incentives for citizens of other nations to come here illegally and take advantage of our welfare system and birthright citizenship. When it comes to those here illegally, Mr. Paul feels much the way as Mr. Gingrich in that he doesn’t know how or if it would be prudent to round up those millions and deport them to their native lands.


Which one of these candidates will actually address the issue beyond closing the borders and eliminating incentives? Who has the courage to effectively articulate what to do with millions of immigrants who have spent a majority of their life within our borders?


Mr. Gingrich is a shrewd politician and he is never afraid to speak to what he thinks in right. This issue is so polarizing that those on the right are afraid to speak of anything but strict deportation no matter the consequences. The Krieble Foundation offers a practical alternative to amnesty and a way to track guest workers and to bring a large sector of our employed workers out of the underground community.


Whether this is the best solution is uncertain, but the plan is bold and pragmatic. It may not be the conservative’s dream plan; but, after decades of looking the other way, there may be few options left in the way of realistic solutions to an enormous part of our social and economic fabric.


If there is a better alternative, I’d like to hear it from the candidates.


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