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July 15, 2008

Immigration Questions

-- by Dave Johnson

This post originally appeared at, Speak Out California.

I want to ask some questions about how to handle our issue of undocumented immigrants. There is very little disagreement that our borders have become unacceptably porous and that we’ve got to change the way we secure them. That being said, how we approach solving the problem of the large number of people who are here already? The debate needs to be a practical and rational one rather than emotional and reactive so we can achieve sound and effective solutions.

Let’s start by asking some practical questions. Some people use the terminology of "illegal" immigrants because the people in question have overstayed a visa (45%) or even crossed the border without passing through immigration and customs. As a result of this terminology -- "illegal" -- people react more strongly than they might if different words were used or if they had time to consider fully all of the ramifications of this issue.

Suppose -- just suppose -- the people who advocate harsh treatment of non-citizens are successful in their efforts, and our government starts an effort to locate and deport them. How do we identify who is here without authorization? This is a practical question.

Americans are not required to "carry papers." We do not have checkpoints, and inside of the country we do not have to prove that we are traveling with proper authorization. We certainly do not have to prove that we are citizens. Many of us could never even locate the documentation necessary to prove citizenship if we were, in fact, required to prove it.

So if we are going to identify people who have overstayed visas, etc. how do we go about it?

This is a simple and serious question that I hope can be discussed here. Please leave a comment with your ideas.

I’ll deal with the next set of questions in my next post.

Ckick through to Speak Out California to join our discussion there.

Posted by Dave Johnson at July 15, 2008 2:17 PM

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