Sunday, November 13, 2005

What's sufficient punishment?

Which plan would turn more illegal immigrants into legitimate workers, judging from your experience in employing non-natives?

Plan A would require foreign-born workers here illegally to pay a fine for their transgression. The payment would also entitle them to a three-year employment visa, renewable at the end of that time for another three-year permit. If they fail to naturalize by the end of the six years, they have to head back to their country of origin.

Plan B would require the illegal immigrants to head home first, as punishment for being here in violation of the law. Only then could they apply for a three-year employment permit, which could be renewed for another three-year stint.

Plan A is being pushed by the Republicans. Guess what party has put forth Option B?

Try the Republicans.

Last week, according to a story carried exclusively in The New York Times <>, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is circulating a copy of Plan B as a rigid-right alternative to Plan A, which has been aired by the White House. An initiative similar to the Bush Administration’s has also been put forward by—steel yourself—Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.

Specter, a usually moderate GOPer who first represented the Keystone State during the White House tenure of Ted’s brother, reportedly sent a letter to colleagues, assuring them he was only stimulating discussion, according to the Times. He out-and-out said he doesn’t support every component of his own plan. Huh.

Sounds more like an olive branch to Party hardliners who can’t abide the notion of giving legal temporary-worker status to immigrants who are here illegally. Would they be paying a fine to get a work permit, or posting a processing fee? Isn’t it just amnesty, with a nominal charge tagged on to make the process more palatable to persons who actually heed the law?

You may have a much better gauge on that than the lawmakers in D.C. Do you think immigrant employees would regard a fee of several thousands dollars as a nothing, a low hurdle that would allow them to become legal with virtually no pain?

And how many of them do you think would seek legal status by heading home first, then applying for a temporary-worker’s permit, then coming back? Does anyone truly believe that illegals will take that route, instead of merely staying here illegally?

The industry may be standing side by side with some unusual allies on the matter. But it’s really clear what position it should maintain.


  1. I don't think either will work, they will still work illegally any way they can. We can not as a country exist with out their employment. Only the illegal worker will work for such a low wage. Americans will not. What we do need to do is mandate a law that shows we know it exists, but they should also pay taxes. They can not claim Married w/6 dependents, they should all pay their taxes just as we do. They can not get away with not filing at the end of the year. If they are illegal there should be a seperate automatic payment in taxes to the Federal Gov't added to their paycheck. This way we all benefit, maybe by having them pay, we help lower our taxes by having an influx of more money into the system.

  2. I think Plan A is a great way to get things started however, the question remains: who will inforce this new great idea?!

    Honestly, we have too few government employees in many different departments to follow up on frivilous laws like this, complacent employees at that.

    Just like the lack of reality in true drug control (don't get me started on this topic!), this is 1) way too little too late and 2) dealing with the end of the problem instead of the beginning. If we had enough enforcers on the borders to prevent illegals from getting into the country in the first place we wouldn't be having this discussion.

    Legal American residence needs to be like many countries in Europe - you have to want it and want it bad. You should have to jump through many hoops before even crossing the border and then work really hard to keep your residency. The Bush rule would prefer to turn heads rather than really do something productive about this problem. It's gotten so out of control AND now the Hispanic population wants a voice but yet most aren't even legal.

    Wow, I wish I could have my cake and eat it too.

  3. Why are both options embedded with a punishment?
    We realize the fruits of their efforts in our stock prices. Unfortunately, that contribution is not taxed either.