Now that President Obama has won reelection he wants to solve the immigration crisis. I wish he had worked on this rather than health care in his first term. Health care worked even if costs were escalating. I also don’t like the government controlled system solution. Immigration was and is in much more need of reform.
I know many conservatives just want to send all of the illegals home. That is easy to say but awfully hard to execute in a practical sense. In another breath many of the same people who say “send ‘em all home” also decry the incompetence of the federal government. Well, can you imagine the disaster of 12 million or so people rounded up and placed in some sort of temporary camps run by the federal government. That would be a humanitarian disaster and cost a fortune in food, construction costs, transportation, and guards. As a nation we flat cannot afford to round up all of these people at one time and to send them back where they came from. But we can make some changes and begin to get our arms around the mess.
Legal immigration has to be made simpler. While running for Congress I had people in southwest Georgia tell me that they knew people who could not get family members legally into the country over an 8 to even 10 year effort. That’s crazy. Most farmers do not use the H2A seasonal worker program to bring in immigrant labor because of the expense and government regulation morass involved. A legal immigration process that supports agriculture and allows good people reasonable access to immigration must be established. Our nation was founded by immigrants and has been enriched by immigrants for many years.
Some conservatives will say that people on welfare and even prisoners should be used on farms before we allow immigrants entry. Prisoners have been tried and too many lack the physical ability to perform the work. Thanks to our welfare system, many people apparently would rather sit back and take a handout than perform the difficult manual labor necessary to support agricultural needs. Let’s face it. We’ve raised a portion of the population to be too weak to work hard and more willing to take a handout than to sweat. To remedy these problems as a society we will have to change the welfare system and somehow motivate people to be more physically resilient. Neither of those issues can be resolved in time for the next harvest.
So we have no choice but to develop some way to register the people who are here to work – at least the immigrants working our farms. Amnesty is wrong. Imposing a fine and registering people is not amnesty. An annual registration fee after the fine for some number of years should be sufficient penalty. After a grace period to comply, then we should deport anyone here illegally. Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black has proposed something like this.
Regardless of the solution, immigrants are needed in the agriculture industry. Any solution to immigration must recognize this. A solution also must ease the burden of legal immigration so that people will come here under the rules established. People here illegally also must be deported. Our safety demands it. The expense of human support systems also demands it. Our laws demand it.