Immigration law modifications are a daily topic in the news and part of the current administration's agenda. According to estimates, there are over 11 million undocumented, or de facto, illegal immigrants, along with currently documented immigrants, i.e. legal immigrants, in the United States.
Legal machinations, especially for undocumented immigrants are inevitable; it is logistically impossible to deport all undocumented immigrants including millions under 18 and categorized as such since they were born in the States to an undocumented parent. To use an old expression, 'the horse has left the barn', despite ‘undocumented’ meaning illegal and illegal meaning law breaking.
Studies show illegal immigrants fill low paying and mind numbing tasks like picking crops, janitorial services and simple manual skills. It is still open if this takes jobs away from Americans and legal immigrants, but restrains costs of food and services, permitting more bang for the buck of disposable income. Undocumented immigrants pay income taxes, sales taxes and payroll taxes including Medicare and Social Security over and above received government services. The overwhelming number of undocumented immigrants are law abiding. However, many undocumented immigrants 'hide in the shadows' and can be crime victims but fail to report the crime due to fear of being deported.
Proposed current administration legislation realizes the inevitable: the need for a path to citizenship. The proposed path is eight years long. The legislation's components include an identity card with biometric information, a new legal status termed 'lawful protective visa', use of English for documentation and demonstrated proficiency in English. Note this legislation solves two issues raised by immigration reform advocates: ending the onus of being called 'illegal' and providing documentation to be eligible to apply for other types of paperwork, such as a driver's license.
The proposed legislation should propose:
- All undocumented immigrants must obtain an identification card indicating 'lawful protective status' by the age of sixteen.
- The identification card will include blood type, a thumb print, and if the holder is an organ donor.
- People with a 'lawful protective visa' status will receive citizenship after receiving an honorable discharge from the military with a minimum of three years of active service.
- All currently documented immigrants will be able to achieve citizenship before any immigrant with ‘lawful protective status’ with the perviously noted exception.
- Currently documented immigrants with medical skills will be given a preference considering the inevitable deficit of trained medical personnel as the Affordable Care Act, alias Obamacare, takes effect.
Civil liberty advocates will object to some of this legislation since identified status on a Government issued identity card could be abused and construed as an invasion of privacy. However, this too is a case of the 'the horse has left the barn'. Undocumented immigrants want to be identified. Government identity is prolific with the use of Social Security Numbers (my card states 'not for identification purposes'), driver's licenses, military identifications, passports, etc., so everyone is already on the grid.
Given these facts and the proposed identification card for undocumented immigrants, the United States should have a national identification card, as in many other nations. The card would include blood type, a thumb print, if the holder is an organ donor and citizenship status (lawful protective visa, in process, citizen). This would aid in employee verification, determining if someone's eligible for government benefits, legitimize identification of previous undocumented immigrants, crime reduction, increased efficiency in emergency medical care and shortening the time to wait for donated organs.
To reiterate, given data bases, we are already on the grid. The national identification card would not be 100% foolproof since some creative, nefarious element could produce counterfeit cards as now, but would be more beneficial to our nation than the current fragmented identification system prone to proliferate abuse such as in underage drinking, voter identification, welfare fraud and firearm purchases.
And, while we are at it, English should be designated as the official language.