Monday, February 4, 2013
A simple proposal
I keep hearing our elected officials speaking about the coming Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Generally, they are all speaking about a "pathway to citizenship" that will involve numerous obligations for the applicants, such as a requirement to prove you are paying taxes, a requirement to show that you know English, and they want to charge a fine as well . Elected officials also talk about putting all the applicants at the "end of the line" for permanent residency.
Do they not understand what they are proposing? This supposed pathway to citizenship would create an enormous government bureaucracy. These steps and pathways will require applications, adjudicators, lawyers, appeals courts. None of these probably exist right now. They are talking about creating an entire new framework. "End of the line" may mean 25 years for certain nationalities.
This is idiocy. There is a law on the books right now that can be used to solve the immigration reform problem. It is Registry, and it basically says that if you have been present in the US since 1972 and are a person of good moral character, you are entitled to lawful permanent residence in the US. Registry became an option in the law in 1986.
All Congress has to do is update the date of Registry. Congress can easily make it so that anyone who entered the US before a certain date, say 2008, may apply for permanent residence using the new registry date. Congress may also feel free to define "good moral character" in a way for registry that would require knowledge of English (using the already established naturalization test) and five years of tax history. In this way, immigrants who have already played by the rules by paying taxes may get residency immediately. Those with no tax history will be able to establish one with a work card while they work towards permanent residence. And Congress can satisfy their desire for a fine by charging whatever they wish for permanent residence under this method.
There would be no new forms required. There would be no new tests required. There would be no new bureaucracy required. The existing apparatus that handles applications for adjustment of status and naturalization can handle the applications that would be generated under this relief.
I urge elected officials to consider my simple proposal.