How Should the US Reform its Immigration Policy?

A post by guest blogger, Santiago J. Valenzuela

Because I’m dissatisfied with both the status quo and the proposed solutions to America’s immigration problem, I’m often asked, “What would real, comprehensive immigration reform look like?”

First, I would like to point out that the US has an immigration problem, not just an illegal immigration problem.  Illegal immigration is a symptom of the core problem - immoral immigration policy.

Our current immigration policy is immoral because it violates the rights of American employers under the guise of being "pro-American."  Instead of recognizing an employer's right to hire whomever he pleases, it invents an imaginary right for American citizens to have those jobs.  Such a right does not, has never and cannot exist.

Businesses do not exist simply to provide jobs to Americans.  They exist to make money.  If a business owner judges that immigrant labor - from Mexico, France or the Moon - will give him the best results for the least amount of overhead cost, he has the right to hire them.  An American citizen who demands via legislation that he be hired instead of immigrants (thereby increasing the cost of doing business which gets passed onto consumers), is demanding a "free ride" at the business owner's expense.

Rational immigration policy would create a new type of visa for people wishing to enter the United States.  There would be no limit to the number of these visas available annually and no limit based on country of origin.  These visas would allow the individual to live and work in the United States without restrictions on who may employ them.  In addition, employers would not be required to first seek native-born Americans for employment or pay penalties for employing immigrants.

The visa-holders would be deported to their country of origin upon being convicted of a violent crime and barred from legal immigration into the United States for a period of time to be determined by the courts.  They would be barred from taking advantage of any welfare program.  As non-citizens, they of course would not have the right to vote.  In all other ways they would have every right that a US citizen enjoys.

Some benefits of this type of immigration policy include:

  • Many US bureaucracies created to deal with immigration could be disbanded, saving tax payers millions of dollars each year
  • Low-cost labor would free up funds for businesses to invest and grow, create more jobs and create newer and better products, which Americans could then purchase at lower costs
  • The immigrant population would cease to be a burden on the US welfare system
  • Illegal immigration would be slowed to a trickle and only be attempted by violent criminals and others that the government has legitimate reasons for keeping out of the country
  • Allow a much-reduced border patrol or the military to actually protect our borders, since the volume of violators will be much reduced

Rational immigration policy will respect the rights of American employers to do business with whom they please.  It will embrace the idea that businesses operate for a profit and reject the idea that business owners exist first and foremost to provide income to workers.  It will help our struggling economy recover by allowing the use of low-cost labor to produce low-cost products.  And finally, it will save the already-heavily-burdened US tax payers millions of dollars a year by eliminating wasteful, unnecessary government bureaucracies related to our broken immigration policy.

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