Border Security and Immigration Reform Go Hand In Hand
by Jerry Patterson on April 14, 2014 at 11:39 AM
Critically, I believe that we cannot have immigration reform without border security. I also believe that we cannot have border security without immigration reform.
In other words, immigration reform and border security are mutually dependent – not mutually exclusive. To have one, we must have the other. The condition is an “and” – not an “either/or” – situation. We must have both, and we must have both now.
Our immigration policy and the laws that support our immigration policy must have one objective – to serve our interests – not the interests of citizens from other countries. Sometimes those interests do not conflict but, instead, coincide. In those situations, we need a guest worker program like the program that the Texas Solution envisions.
Our current immigration system along with its laws and policies is a complete disaster. They do not serve us well. Instead, they actually encourage illegal immigration while, at the same time, undermining border security.
One of the critical problems we face is that citizens from other countries – particularly those from countries on our Southern border – who wish to come here on a temporary guest worker visa and to work for honest wages, pay taxes, and comply with our laws – have no viable way to do that. To say that they should go home and get in line would be reasonable if a line, in fact, existed.
However, no line exists for those who want to hang drywall, roof homes in new subdivisions, harvest peaches in Georgia, work in restaurants or for landscape contractors, etc. Obtaining a work visa for low income, lower skilled jobs like those initially sought by most immigrants that cross the Rio Grande is virtually impossible.
Ironically, our broken immigration system encourages even more illegal immigration by the dependent families of illegal workers. An illegal worker who wishes to go home and visit his family during the holidays or between jobs runs great risk in crossing the border to do so. Therefore, he has an incentive to bring his family here to the U.S.
In contrast, if that worker had lawful status and was able to routinely transit the border to visit his family, he would probably do so and, therefore, have less incentive to bring his family here. Money sent home to Mexico allows for a dramatic improvement in living conditions for that Mexican family when compared to the same dollar amount spent on that family in the higher cost of living environment here in the U.S. We need a system that encourages immigrant workers to leave their family at home and not bring their family here.
We also need a system that eliminates the underground cash economy where illegal workers are deemed to be subcontractors instead of W-2 bona fide employees and where no employment taxes are withheld or paid, no workers’ compensation insurance is provided, no social security tax is withheld, and the so-called subcontractor never files a tax return. Billions and billions of tax revenue is lost annually to this under-ground economy. The loss of these tax dollars would be eliminated by a guest worker program that requires employees to work as and receive payment as only a W-2 bona fide employee.
We need a guest worker program so that we can separate those immigrants who are here to work and support their family back home in their country of origin from those immigrants who are here to engage in illegal activity and to use our limited resources while doing so. The guest worker visa application process cannot require years of bureaucracy-induced frustration. I suggest that private sector labor contractors could be used to implement the program under the oversight of the U. S Border Patrol and Immigration & Customs Enforcement.
I think most would agree that if the Border Patrol and other law enforcement resources that we have currently deployed were able to focus solely on the “bad guy” immigrants who are here to commit crimes and not here to work, and those Border Patrol resources were no longer burdened by chasing those who are here to work and have the documentation to prove it, our border security problem would be solved. Shouldn’t the Border Patrol be chasing terrorists, cartel affiliated narco-traffickers, and criminals instead of the kid busing tables at your favorite restaurant or the guy that roofed your house?