- The dreamers (a really dumb name) that are currently here need a pathway to citizenship. That starts with them getting their legal status and should be tethered with the process of becoming a US citizen. The process of becoming a US citizen via naturalization requires one to have a resident status for five years, have established a residence for five years, and be present in the US. These requirements should be subject to the same lesser requirements as anyone else (marriage to a US citizen, military service, etc.) The application for citizenship should be filled out and given a ‘pending status’ for the duration of the green card issuance. If the requirements are not fulfilled in this time, save for serious extenuating circumstances, then said “dreamer” becomes subject to deportation under the law. In this system the green card should not be able to be renewed.
- The green card system over all needs to be overhauled. There should be allowed one five year renewal after the original issuance, and that is all. The end goal of residency in the US should be permanent citizenship. This should also apply to those with refugee or asylum status. After one year, such individuals must apply for a green card anyway, then they become subject to that system as well.
- For those here illegally, there needs to be a short window to rectify the situation. After said window, I believe that we should pass legislation that will make it impossible for anyone who has been here illegally from ever becoming a citizen or obtaining a work permit or resident status.
- I believe that we should use and require mandatory E-verify systems for all employers with stiff penalties for those companies that refuse to comply or who knowingly hire those here illegally. Those penalties should be significant enough to matter requiring the company to pay fines in excess of the estimated profit they garnered from the illegal workers as well as the salary paid them. In extreme cases, such as a company that is running primarily on illegal immigrants, assets should be seized and then auctioned off. I seriously dislike regulations and asset forfeiture, but the reality of where we are, that is decades of bad policy, require some extreme measures to be taken.
- A non-citizen stamp should be applied to drivers licenses and state ID cards. This would require a non-citizen to provide their work permits or legal resident documentation for even the simplest of financial transactions. This helps prevent illegal immigrants from travel, from working and receiving money, etc. I do not like over burdening individuals, but this seems to be a necessary step.
- At the boarder, for those crossing illegally, we should track with fingerprints and photos compiling a database of those trying to enter. Upon capture, the individuals should be printed, and photographed. The option should then be given them to apply for asylum, leave to the country they crossed from with the understanding that should they attempt to enter a second time, there is criminal prosecution, or to face prosecution. This should be done the first time only. At this time they should also be given, upon request, the proper forms and instruction to enter legally if they so chose to fill them out upon returning to their country of origin.
- In cases where there is a crime, the children should be allowed contact with their parents in much the same way as children can visit their parents now who are incarcerated. Currently, this is not the case. Parents and children often do not even know the location of each other. Unless the crime is felonious and/or violent, I think that they penalties should be handled with fines, or even civilly, to prevent the separation of families.
- For those seeking asylum, if the policy is to be detention until their case is heard, then such detention should be in a family setting. Something like FEMA trailers are not ideal, but are better than separation and treating those coming form help like criminals. Something along those lines seems to be compassionate but also serve the perceived current need to detain asylum seekers. I also think that should those seeking asylum have family here, that releasing them to their families pending their hearing should also be an option. I also think that churches could play a role here in perhaps establishing temporary housing for those coming seeking asylum in some way.
There is no silver bullet. We have a mess that has been decades in the making and it will likely take decades for it to be straightened out. The above I think reflects the justice tempered with mercy that Christians should be desiring. It also reflects, I think, the best of America in doing all that we can to welcome those who come. We are a nation of laws, of course, and there needs to be justice, but justice that is acceptable to Christians should only be that justice that is tempered with mercy.