I wake up in an America where Congress is once again in Democratic hands and SC & DTM have tag-teamed on the same side of an issue...
Maybe I am just having a bad dream ;) Unfortunately, I'm pretty much on SC's side of this issue, too.
1) Anyone who uses the term "illegal immigrant" has already conceded a major point to their opponents. It's illegal alien. An immigrant is permenantly changing residency, and if you know you're here illegally, I can't see how you can assume you have a right to be a resident...
2) I'm not so sure it's NAFTA that needs to be re-worked...as it is the trade agreements with China. While I'm not a protectionist...at the same time trade can be a tool of foreign policy, and I'd much rather have a financially stable Mexico on our southern border than just about anything else to do with national security. So yeah, give them more favorable tariffs then China.
3) A fence in places make sense. But not many.
4) A key peice of economic growth is population growth. We need more immigration, not less. More baby making wouldn't hurt either.
5) Make it easy to get alien work permits.
a) Good health & sound mind;
b) No serious criminal history (yes I recognize this could be weak to check in foreign countries)
c) Fingerprint & DNA swab (like criminal history, checked against the U.S. databases)
d) Working knowledge of written & spoken English. Why pay coyotes to smuggle you when you can pay for classes instead?
(And those here already get to apply under the same conditions)
6) Whack the employers if they're knowingly hiring illegal aliens; and come down like a ton of bricks if they haven't been paying the proper taxes.
7) Through having a clear and efficient work permit process, and reducing demand for those who can't get permits but holding employers accountable...
Border Patrol can come down like a ton of bricks on whoever is still crossing the border because there probably is a truly nefarious reason why.
Let's not go down a silly War on Drugs path with Immigration. Legalize them and bring them into the system in a consistent and long-term manner so they're paying taxes and receiving fair benefits.