Monday, February 18, 2013

Immigration reforms won’t be as easy for newcomers as ideologues believe

To listen to the conservative ideologues when they rant and rage about immigration reform and related policies being considered by governments these days, we’re on the verge of giving away all kinds of goodies to people whom they desperately want to believe don’t belong in the United States under any circumstances.

Which is a bunch of nonsense. Fixing our immigration policy really gets rid of a bureaucratic maze that creates more problems than it could ever solve. We all benefit.

AND THE REALITY is that the process that these roughly 11.1 million non-citizens now believed to be living in the United States without a valid visa is going to be an expensive one, a long-term one and one that is meant to create so many bureaucratic blocks that there will be many who will try to work their way through – only to fall short.

It won’t be easy. Nobody is going to be given anything. Anyone who actually achieves U.S. citizenship eventually after going through the processes being debated will have earned it.

Earned it in a far more significant way than anyone who has U.S. citizenship purely by the accident of having been born in this nation.

Take the immigration reform proposal that may get voted on in Congress later this spring. The USA Today newspaper came up with a draft proposal that talks of an eight-year process from the time that someone now living without a visa will actually get the “green” card that makes them a “resident alien” who can live here without further interference.

AFTER THAT TIME period would pass even more time before one could try to become a full-fledged U.S. citizen.

There also will be various background checks upon people, and – of course – the “fines” that people will have to pay as “punishment” for having been in this country without the visa.

These get justified as being the equivalent of unpaid taxes these people should have been paying all these years, although as I have written before, any serious accounting of taxes might find that we “owe” some of these people some money – which will probably be seized as the “penalty” to be paid.

My point in all of this is that no one is going to be given anything for free. Anybody who persists in using the “A” word has no clue what “amnesty” truly is!

NOT THAT THIS is the only issue where newcomers are not being given a break. Take Illinois, where the General Assembly and Gov. Pat Quinn recently gave approval to measures making it possible to get a legitimate driver’s license (which the ideologues hate on the grounds that it legitimizes the people they’re trying to remove).

The News-Gazette newspaper of Champaign, Ill., reported about how the insurance companies aren’t going to make it easy for people to get such a license – which is important since the new law makes it clear that those newly-licensed drivers must be ensured in order to keep the valid license.

The people who can verify that they had a valid driver’s license in a foreign country might get a slight financial break, but insurance companies are saying they plan to consider the new class of driver’s license as an issue that justifies a higher rate – one that could cost several hundred dollars per year.

A lot of people who in all likelihood aren’t making much money to begin with are going to have to shell out a lot of it to insurance companies – just so they can keep the driver’s license that lets them actually transport themselves to-and-from work.

ONE FARMERS INSURANCE official told the newspaper that premiums of up to $600 for six months could run as high as $1,500 for the non-citizens amongst us.

Now those figures shouldn’t be taken too firmly, since everybody has different circumstances. But nobody’s going to get off cheaply, and some people are bound to wind up profiting financially.

Which ought to put all the “amnesty” talk to rest, once and for all.

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