By Linda Vega
The Texas Solution by the Republican Party in Fort Worth has helped to open the door and stir interest for the many looking to reform immigration in the U.S. With an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S., many argue that passing the Dream Act will affect 16% (of the 11 million) and therefore, has approval problems regardless of who presents it before Congress. The Texas Solution, therefore, seeks to increase the approval probability of the 11 million enough to, impact the U.S. economy, while at the same time providing protection to U.S. Citizens.
In a study by the Hispanic Pew, 25% of those 11 million have been in the U.S. for over 15 years, and 62% have been in the U.S. for over 10 years. With such a vested time frame, these undocumented individuals have incorporated in American society by creating families or building businesses. They have clearly become part of America, while still living in the shadows of uncertainty.
Immigration law is written so as to punish the entry into the U.S. regardless of how successful you become once vested in the American Society. Those who echo that tedious “what part of illegal don’t you understand?” are correct in that it is illegal to break a law. But the U.S. government is just as culpable, after all are we not robbing from people who have contributed into the economy by illegal means? Is the U.S. not guilty of money laundering by accepting taxes from “illegal” workers and those who should not be paying into a system and should have never been allowed to stay here in the first place?
We can begin to address a solution by first acknowledging and allowing admission of the illegal behavior. Those who are in the U.S. illegally should admit it and suffer the consequences. Additionally, the U.S. should be prepared to cradle the economy if those workers are swiftly deported and leave a vacuum of labor, much like what was felt in Alabama and Georgia. If we are ready to acquiesce to the fact that this could be a disastrous consequence of these mass deportations, then we should proceed to the following: The Texas Solution.
First, this new Texas Solution by the Republican Party must now continue toward a well written “offering” to the Legislature that will emphasize on: 1. Immigrant Taxpayers already in the labor market, 2. Educated members already in the higher tax bracket, 3. Skilled workers in the work force, 4. Business Owners/Entrepreneurs, and 5. Unskilled laborers that are in construction/agriculture. All of whom already exist in the 11 million pool supporting the U.S. economy.
Second, we must create a new visa or a Temporary Economic Waiver (TEW) made available for those who are ILLEGALLY IN THE U.S. This would help to account for those who are illegal while at the same time, not encumbering upon those (Latinos) born in the U.S. It will, therefore, counter the blatant racial profiling that laws like SB1070 seek to apply. Eligibility for the Waiver would be based an economic contribution and education only if there is a 6% unemployment rate, 2% lower than the current 8.2%. Those on the TEW seeking an extension will not be considered for Legal Permanent Residency (green-card holders) if the U.S. is suffering from a high unemployment rate. If national unemployment levels continue to drop lower than 6%, those with high skills can apply for and will be considered for Permanent Residency. This will assure that U.S. Citizens are not displaced by Immigrant Workers. In sum, the national unemployment statistic will help to determine the urgency and labor demands for skilled and unskilled workers, as well as who can be granted a waiver. Additionally the following can be used for the determination of granting the TEW:
a. These waivers can be split into 3-cycles, each cycle made up of a 2 year period, and will look to the unemployment rate as a guide. Therefore, the national unemployment numbers will be the main factor in the number of waivers allocated.
b. A TEW can be granted to industries where immigrant workers are concentrated and where the numbers of citizens are less than 30%.
c. After the completion of a three 2-year cycles, or 6 years, the applicant can submit a petition for adjustment to Legal Permanent Resident if the criteria of a “clean criminal record” is met.
d. A fine of $5000 must be paid as processing fees to cover the workload created by waiver applications. The fine must be paid at the beginning of the first wavier application and must be paid in full no later than 1 year.
e. The TEW can be applied for and be granted while currently in the U.S. so as to prevent a detrimental affect on the economy.
f. The applicant MUST have a clean criminal history and will be given consideration only upon this condition.
g. The TEW applicant will be additionally determined or renewed on vested time and economic situation in the U.S.
h. All TEW applicants must have a Mandatory 40 hours of English classes with a written exam to demonstrate proficiency.
The TEW will also consider the following factors: a. Education Degree, b. Business Ownership, c. Skill, d. Unskilled Labor. The higher the education degree and economic contribution, the better there is for the renewal opportunity.
The criteria and approval of the TEW is not amnesty, but rather is a system that will consider what is best for the U.S. economy as we currently have 11 million who may be contributing to the our Entitlement System. It will also bring out those living in the shadows and giving fear to many who question the status and motives of the “usual suspects” that “appear” unlawful. Moreover, a temporary work visa is not applauding the unlawful presence in the U.S., it is working to correct it without pulling the chair out from under our economy that requires life support at the moment. If we can move past the emotion and admit a wrong, we can gather the courage to correct it and make it right.