by Stephen Smith
For years I have felt that our approach to immigration reform was insane. Both sides of the aisle have failed our country. The time has come to act. I now offer my solution. May it be a beacon shining in the night for rational thought and a compassionate working solution that considers practical reality.
My Immigration Plan
1. No solution, I said no solution will work unless we can manage and control entry into the United States. All passage into our country must be directed through an official port of entry and customs. It is in our best interest if there are screenings for health, criminal history and bad intent. Further if there is a desire to take up residency, it is important to verify that they can be self-sufficient or have adequate sponsorship. Any violators should become subject to instant deportation or incarceration. Period. I see no way to achieve this without some sort of physical barrier. History has shown that where we have employed walls with technology and manpower, they have worked. Nothing works perfectly, but a multi-tactical, strategic approach is effective. Strict enforcement would make our intentions very clear. If you cannot support this one issue, you have disdain for the spread of communicable disease, national security, safety in our communities and sovereignty. Further, without enforced borders, people in our country without our permission will continue to suffer by living in fear and secrecy.
2. After security and public health screenings, visas should be easy and cheap to obtain and be required for all visitors. With proper filing, they may be renewable. They shall consist of these types:
2a. Tourist and short-term business trip. Expires after one to six months, depending on visitor’s needs.
2b. Student Visas which must be renewed annually with verification of school attendance and progress. Upon graduation may apply for permanent visa.
2c. Emergency medical visa for patients and attendants. Time limited.
2d. Temporary Work Visa for seasonal and short-term workers. For three to nine months. Requires exit at end of term. Easy to obtain.
2e. Permanent work and resident visa. Holders have demonstrated ability to be self-supporting through either wealth, work or sponsorship. Renewable every two years with a six-month grace period. Required for transition to citizenship. Holders will be issued Social Security numbers.
2f. Diplomatic and other special purpose, such as touring foreign artist, athletes and support staffs. Flexible depending on circumstance.
3. All visas shall be in the form of a working ATM card with bio-metrics and photograph. Any money earned or won when in the United States shall be paid directly to the ATM card by the employer. Severe penalties shall be assessed to employers who do not comply. Visa types A-D shall be taxed at the time of deposit at a flat rate of 15 percent. 10 percent shall be distributed to the communities where the ATM cards are being used to help provide local services such as police, fire, education and health. Five percent shall be used for administrative costs of banks and government. Holders of type E and F visas will be taxed according to current applicable rates and laws.
4. All undocumented people living in the United States will be required to apply for and obtain the appropriate visa. Those who could only get the temporary visa may appeal to obtain a permanent status visa.
5. Any violation of the terms of the visa will result in the holder being subject to deportation. The ATM will be immediately terminated, and funds in the account distributed at the time of deportation. Appeals may be considered by agents of the U.S. Department of State. Any conviction of a felony or three misdemeanors will result in the termination of the Visa and deportation after serving the applicable sentence and facing any other legal actions.
6. Since they are full participants in our existing tax requirements, holders of type E visas will be eligible for any applicable government programs and entitlements. All others should only be eligible for appropriate public supported emergency medical care. Private charity should be encouraged, especially for nutritional and housing assistance. Government dependency must be discouraged for all visa holders.
7. DACA qualified individuals shall be issued a type E visa, without needing proof of sponsorship and self-sufficiency. They will have three years to take and pass citizenship exams and to be sworn in. If they fail to do so, the visa will begin requiring proof of sponsorship and demonstrate the ability to be self-supporting. Otherwise, they may be deported, subject to appeal.
8. All immigrants who have served honorably for two or more years as first responders or in the military shall receive a type E DACA visa with a fast track for citizenship.
9. Long-term undocumented residents who pay all back taxes and penalties on previously unreported income can demonstrate being good, contributing members of the community and pay a fine not to exceed $5000 will be issued a type E visa. All others who do not have a criminal record shall be issued a temporary worker visa, with all income now being deposited into the visa ATM. They shall be scheduled for a deportation hearing to be heard within nine months, where it can be decided if they deserve a permanent visa. Failure to appear or comply will result in immediate deportation.
I will not address the issue of those seeking asylum and refugees in this offering. The problem is very complex, and we currently lack the infrastructure to properly deal with this problem. Around the world, we have yet to see an approach that is effective.
There it is. Come to this country seeking work, get an ATM visa where all your income is deposited and your income is taxed immediately upon deposit. That tax money is spent in the community where you work and do business. Data can be easily collected so local officials can better delegate to where resources are needed. Access to your money will be turned off when your visa expires. This should help solve the problem of people overstaying legal entry.
The border is secure, and everyone knows the rules. We can screen for health, security and need. Getting the visa is easy and failure to comply is swift deportation. There is special consideration for DACA. All others who have already entered the United States are accounted for. They will either receive a permanent visa or a temporary visa. Under the temporary visa they will have time to close their affairs before exiting or to make appeal for permanent status.
I have yet to hear a proposal better or more inclusive than this one. It is fair and solves the problem of people operating in the shadows. To work, it must be kept simple. Too many additional exceptions and standards will destroy its effectiveness. Remember, the Constitution was only 16 pages before we began to mess with it.
If you like this idea, please share it with your friends and elected officials.