Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fred Thompson On Immigration

Thompson finally came up with an immigration policy. Below are some of the highlights of his policy along with my reactions.

The Ones I Like:

1: Increased Border Security: Doubling Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents handling interior enforcement, increasing the Border Patrol to at least 25,000 agents, and increasing detention space to incarcerate illegal aliens we arrest rather than letting them go with a promise to show up later for legal proceedings against them.

Border security is inseparable from national security.

2: Maximize Legal Immigration Program Efficiency: Reduce the backlogs and streamline the process for immigrants and employers who seek to follow the law. Also, simplify and expedite the application processes for temporary visas. Caps for any category of temporary work visa would be increased as appropriate, if it could be demonstrated that there are no Americans capable and willing to do the jobs.

3: Modernize Immigration Law/Policy: Change the nature of our legal immigration system to welcome immigrants who can be economic contributors to our country and are willing to learn the English language and reduce the scope of chain migration by giving family preference in the allocation of lawful permanent resident status only to spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens, and no one else (no siblings, no parents, no adult children, etc.).

The system is long overdue for streamlining.

4: Preference for American Military Service: Place those foreign persons who are lawfully present in the country and who serve honorably in the Armed Forces of the United States on a faster, surer track to U.S. citizenship.

Anybody willing to die for this country is OK by me.

The ones I don't like:

1: English as Official Language: Make English the official language of the U.S. to promote assimilation and legal immigrants’ success, and require English proficiency in order for any foreign person to be granted lawful permanent resident status.

Haven't needed it before. Don't need it now. Children of immigrants are normally pretty well assimilated if they are born in this country or arrive here as a toddler.

2: No Amnesty: Amnesty undermines U.S. law and policy, rewards bad behavior, and is unfair to the millions of immigrants who follow the law and are awaiting legal entry into the United States.

Deporting twelve million people is almost impossible and extremely costly. Instead allow them to to apply for legal immigrant status (with a criminal background check) and pay a fine. Deport the remainder.

Existing laws that I'm iffy on:

End Sanctuary Cities by cutting off discretionary federal grant funds as appropriate to any community that, by law, ordinance, executive order, or other formal policy directs its public officials not to comply with the provisions of 8 USC 1373 and 8 USC 1644, which prohibit any state or local government from restricting in any way communications with the Department of Homeland Security “regarding the immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of an alien in the United States.”

B. Deny discretionary Federal education grants as appropriate to public universities that violate federal law by offering in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens without also offering identical benefits to United States citizens, regardless of whether or not they live in the state, as required by 8 USC 1623.

C. Deny discretionary Federal grants as appropriate to states and local governments that violate federal law by offering public benefits to illegal aliens, as prohibited by 8 USC 1621(a).

Denying federal grants also hurts legal citizens of the U.S. . However strongly enforcing this this after allowing those here to apply for citizenship (and pay a fine) would only hurt those cities and universities that chose to take a hard line stance on this issue.

What's important here is that Thompson started running for president prior to having a concrete stance on one the major issues facing America. Given the amount of time he had from the point that rumors of his announcement started and the point at which he actually declared he had ample time to come up with policy on this and other issues. However pleasing his immigration stance may be to GOP supporters it'll be hard not to notice that everyone else hit the ground running with policies in hand.