Undocumented workers or illegal aliens, depending on your political bias, are merely pawns on the political chessboard. As such, their fate and fortune are strictly tied to the whims of powerful special interests for which they fight as proxies. These special interests (represented by the two major political parties) provide political cover while extorting a tribute (campaign contributions and/or support) thereby enabling the furtherance of the class warfare they had initiated and encouraged.
The Republicans, prodded to protect insatiable corporate appetites for inexpensive labor, stands to object to a citizenship path on moral grounds. The Democrats, equally capable of fashioning moral arguments, pray on the public’s sympathy for those lost in the shadows of society, while stealthily seeking to solidify its voting base through making the undocumented a citizen.
Trapped are the warring peons. The average American citizen who merely wants secured borders and equal enforcement of currently existing immigration laws is set against the undocumented resident who merely wants to get out of the uncomfortable darkness of illegality. Pitted against each other, they physically and philosophically fight each other, rarely conscious of the uncaring nature of their own handlers.
The battles take form in propagandist-like campaign slogans. In truth, both Democrat and Republican interests utilize false and inflated claims as red meat to antagonize the troops against the perceived enemy.
Refusing any compromise, the political leaders thrust the combatants against each other on issues of jobs (or the lack thereof), taxes (or the non-payment thereof), and social services (the lack thereof or the abuse thereof). Each side has mastered the use of articulate rhetoric to fashion lop-sided, tangential claims, often stretched to absurd levels to dramatize injustice and create fear for the purpose of rallying the troops to yet another battle.
Setting aside the political posturing and empty words, there actually exists a very simple, legal, and fair solution to the problem, if only there were to exist the political will to implement it. That solution, one well within the legitimate powers of the United States Congress, is what I will call (for lack of a better term) the X-Visa Plan
Since Congress has the enumerated power over both the creation of inferior courts and the securing of the borders, along with the authority over matters of naturalization, if Congress were to enact the X-Visa Plan as outlined below with slight to no variation, a regulated and functional system of immigration could be restored.
The X-Visa must incorporate ALL of the following elements:
A closing and securing of the borders, with military forces if necessary;
The creation of a streamlined inferior court system which has limited jurisdiction and limited discretion over all deportations of those found without proper documentation;
The creation of a special visa classification, the X-Visa, which is a five year visa issued to any and all undocumented person currently within the boundaries of the United States;
The X-Visa must be obtained by anyone not having proper documentation within 6 months of the on-set of the program (after 6 months all found without an X-Visa are subject to immediate deportation);
So-called ‘anchor babies’ will remain United States citizens, but their status does not impact on the relative’s status or ability to remain in the United States beyond the expiration of the X-Visa, although the United States citizen could remain.
X-Visa recipients may never obtain United States citizenship under the X-Visa classification, however, they may make application for traditional immigration without prejudice and without favor, thus, allowing for them to engage in the traditional process without rewarding the past illegal behavior of entry without a visa;
Every X-Visa will expire without extension five years from the date of its implementation. Anyone found within the United States after that time and without papers or application, shall be subject to the deportation court.
A policy that incorporates all these facets and not just some, would work to eliminate existing tensions by removing much of the political influence over the solution. The citizens and the aliens would no longer be thrust into battle against each other in furtherance of someone else’s agenda.
It is a true win-win situation. The borders would be secured. The Republican interest in cheap labor would be satisfied, albeit temporarily, requiring that the employers wean themselves over five years. The Democrat interest in bringing people out of the shadows and into the society would be realized, albeit their desire to exploit them as a voting block would be stymied.
In short, the true beneficiaries of the X-Visa would be the present warring minions. The illegal immigrant/undocumented resident would be able to participate fully in the society, short of citizenship, for a limited time, but could legitimately apply for immigration rights (old style) without prejudice. This would not insult the integrity of the system in that the illegal currently residing here would not be able to ‘cut the line’, yet would not suffer from illegal entry.
The citizenry will be able to rest knowing that it has secured borders and a clear and logical process for speedy deportation of those found in violation of immigration policy and/or without the X-Visa.
Additionally, the streamlined deportation process would further encourage legal entry and could potentially prove to be a financial boon to the states by alleviating prison overcrowding, social service demands and putting the shadowed workers on the tax paying books.
Unlike a general amnesty program, the X-Visa’s ineligibility for citizenship exacts a real punishment from those who attempted to work the system. While it legitimizes the illegal, it does not reward negative behavior in sort of a ‘punish the sin not the sinner’ fashion.
In allowing X-Visa holders to apply freely for immigration under traditional methods, unprejudiced by the illegal entry, coupled with the speedy deportation of those without or on an expired X-Visa, the immigration process itself is restored to its reliable and viable program regulating entry into our nation.
Further, any undocumented person facing deportation, after having been afforded the opportunity for the X-Visa, should expect no leniency on the part of the deportation court. Still, the five-year window of opportunity it affords everyone will allow the undocumented to exit from the shadows and get their affairs in order within five years. With swift and sure justice following a reasonable period within the county, justice may well be served for all.
Since all sides agree that the current process is not working and is in need of repair, and since most agree that the borders need securing and the immigration policy needs addressing to enable legal entry, and given the desire to bring those in the shadows into the fold, an X-Visa and not a general amnesty may well fit what the doctor ordered.