Raoul Lowery Contreras
Special to El Observador
Thousands of Muslims striving to come to America can cancel their plane tickets at noon January 20. The largest immigrant cohort to the U.S., Mexicans, legally and illegally in the U.S. can start looking over their shoulders at noon January 20 because most are “criminals” and “rapists.” Some Americans including Donald J. Trump think this is true.
On any given day 14 percent of America’s 324,000,000 people, are not natural born United States citizens; that’s 42 million people. Informed people estimate 11-million plus – one in four – are illegally here. President-elect Trump has stated on Fox News (Bill O’Reilly program) that there are many more.
Contrary to candidate Trump’s inference that all illegally present people snuck across an “open” Mexican–US border, many actually entered the country legally through airports.
Many, as many as 40 percent of those illegally here arrived holding visitor or business visas – some with official legal work visas (H1B/H2B). They are from many countries. When the 1986 immigration reform act’s (IRCA) amnesty provisions were implemented, much to everyone’s surprise – many of the 3.2 million amnestied were from 149 countries other than Mexico.
President-Elect Trump declared early on that he would first prohibit all Muslims — tourist and immigrant – from entering the United States, then he shifted to “extreme vetting” of Muslims. The President does not need Congress to impose “extreme vetting” – problem solved. Vet them extremely.
When recently asked what his immigration plans were for Muslims in light of an attack on Germans by an alleged Muslim terrorist, President-Elect Trump said: “You know my plans. All along, I’ve been proven to be right. 100 percent correct. What’s happening is disgraceful…It’s an attack on humanity. That’s what it is. An attack on humanity and it’s got to be stopped.”
The vast, overwhelming majority of people illegally here are not violent criminals. Nonetheless, for violating immigration laws, they are constantly looking anxiously over their shoulders. If Trump really goes after “criminals” he won’t deport many because there aren’t anywhere near Trump’s numbers.
Reality, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that its National Agricultural Farmworkers Survey (NAWS) concludes that half – 48 to 52percent — of all (2.5 million) farmworkers in the U.S. may be illegally here, thus working illegally.
Almost 20,000 Border Patrol and ICE agents ravenously look at working field hands knowing so many are provably here illegally. Federal courts, however, prohibit farm, field and street sweeps by agents (U.S. Constitution’s 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments).
If Donald Trump wants to make meaningful changes in current immigration, he needs Congress which is specifically mandated by the Constitution’s Article I, Section 8, “To establish an (sic) uniform rule of naturalization (immigration)…
Problem #1 – as it appears that at least one in ten illegally present people are critical farm workers that put food on our tables, a way to legalize is a must… simplify the existing H2B agricultural worker program. Make it employer-based using a new applicant data base at American consulate web sites. Congress can do this in a week.
Problem #2 – illegal entrants and workers outside farms are felt throughout the country; some are dangerous felons, convicted, imprisoned and/or ordered deported, this “class” might number between 600,000 and one million. The federal government with help from local law enforcement can round-up these criminals for immediate deportation. President Trump can do this without Congress under existing law.
Problem #3 – we need an employer-based multi-year work permit system for people in country now that do not have serious misdemeanor or felony convictions. Only Congress can do this.
Problem #4 – as to those brought here as minor children, Congress can legalize them – with conditions – immediately. Only Congress can do this.
Problem #5 – To enable the government to find visa-over stayers, private industry can bid to develop a visa system that includes GPS, chips and other technological advances (a credit card-like card?) … A hefty reward or prize would pay for developing the system. Trump, Congress and private business can do this together.
Problem #6 –develop and put into place an instantaneous credit card company managed E-verify system to come online when these other suggestions are in place. Only Congress can do this.
Some Trump supporters might object to some of these suggestions but if they sincerely want President Trump to solve our immigration problems, they must agree that solving the problems can only be done by the new President and Congress — not public rallies, boisterous chants and fake news on the Internet, Breitbart and Twitter.