Michigan: I don’t think we can grant a mass amnesty to all illegal aliens in the U.S. We may consider amnesty to aliens who have been here for a certain amount of time, own property, are employed, and speak English. We actually need these people in some of our businesses. We are all concerned that they are not being taxed and that they are a burden on our health and school systems. Give them work visas, get them on the tax train, and make them buy insurance.
Sydney: No. Granting amnesty to an illegal alien is pretty generous. If someone is that keen to get here then presumably they want to make a better life for themselves. They can’t do this without integrating into American society. If we are granting them amnesty they have a responsibility to be proper American citizens. English may not be the official language of the United States but it’s pretty difficult to succeed without it.
These people should be required to undertake lessons in English literacy until they reach a specific level of competency. I’m sure there are plenty of people who would be qualified to teach them either on a paid or voluntary basis.
RMC: I oppose any legislation that grants amnesty to illegal aliens. These illegal aliens don’t have a right to get citizenship just because they’re here. I don’t support rounding up illegal aliens and deporting them en mass, but I do support tough requirements for dealing with them. I think there should be fines levied on these people before they can get on the path to citizenship to compensate for lost tax revenue from their not paying taxes. We need to limit the number of illegals that we’re willing to allow on the path to citizenship and that path should include being proficient in English and some sort of service to the United States, whether it be military service or some form of community service. The rest are welcome to stay as guest workers for a certain period as long as they pay taxes and bear their share of the burden that they place on the system. Hey, the illegals’ kids go to public schools, but they’re probably not directly paying taxes for that if they’re here illegally. They’re going to our emergency rooms and passing on the cost of that health care to the rest of us.
Look, I’m not saying these are bad people. There are a lot of hard working, good citizens some of who have been here for decades. But they came here illegally. We can’t just overlook that and say it’s ok. We really need to make the requirements more stringent for gaining citizenship, particularly for those who have come here illegally. I don’t think we should play favoritism towards anyone based on how long you’ve been here, illegally. Let’s get them in the system, paying their fair share, and keep them from getting benefits until they have gone through the entire citizenship process.
Cartwright: First, there should be no amnesty for any illegal aliens. I don’t support mass deportation, but certainly the criminals should be rounded up and deported. For the rest, there should be a path to citizenship and in the meantime they are on guest worker status. I think the best path to citizenship is through military service, as was already mentioned. Now, that’s not going to be for everyone, but there are other ways to serve.
And, of course, I’m always for making financial obligations for the illegals whether it is in the form of fines, penalties, payment of back taxes, large fees for the path to citizenship, or whatever. I mean, let’s make some money off of this. These people probably haven’t been paying taxes but they’ve been getting our public services. Let’s recoup some of that. Guest workers should be paying at least the same amount of taxes, if not more, than everyone else.
I wrote an article about ten ways to deal with illegal immigration that outlines what we need to do. I’ve mentioned some of the proposals in that plan, and some of them have been mentioned by others here at the symposium. I guess you guys have read my article already?