In 1993, I actually trained U.S. border patrol and customs agents at the Otay Mesa Border Station, California. Additionally, I have taken part in numerous operations that involved border surveillance to reduce drug trafficking along the Texas and California borders. Part of my Special Forces training has been to actually infiltrate the borders of other countries as well. During my military career, I have personally crossed into several countries without their government's knowledge of it. I have also assisted several foreign countries in dealing with their border security issues, preventing everything from insurgents to poachers from illegally entering their country. My extensive knowledge in both infiltration and counter infiltration techniques will allow for a unique perspective to devise ingenious and very effective ways to secure our borders.
Amnesty is out of the question. No one should be rewarded for breaking the law. The border must be secured and illegal immigration dramatically reduced. The approach to deal with the immigration issue should be a three pronged approach: prevention, enforcement, and efficient administration.
All three, while seemingly separate entities, should be improved simultaneous and intertwined. Prevention is the use of diplomatic influence to alter the behavior of the Mexican government. They share the problem and should be strongly held accountable. Their recent pamphlet on how to "sneak into the United States" should have drawn the wrath of Congress and the President, instead they were given a pass. To reduce the flow of illegal immigrants across the border we need to influence the Mexican government to enforce their side of the border by using punitive sanctions, tariffs and reduction in U.S. aid monies. When the Mexican Government ceases their counter productive immigration activities and respects our national sovereignty, we'll reinstate the privilege of being a friendly neighbor of the United States.
To stem the tide of illegal immigrants, you need to dramatically influence human behavior to produce the desired results. Human beings will always tend to find the easiest way to do something, common sense being the driving factor. Right now it is easier to just walk across the border than it is to go through the legal immigration process. This needs to change in order to stem the flow of illegals crossing the border.
An integrated and layered border surveillance and sensor system, along with layered barriers, where possible, that includes enough gaps to allow wildlife to flow back and forth across the border, yet prevents illegal immigrants from crossing is needed. I've assisted with similar border security operations in Botswana to prevent poachers from Namibia from sneaking into the country to kill elephants. A combination of both active and passive techniques dramatically reduced border crossings into Botswana, a country with a fraction of the budget the United States has and one that seems to care more about its elephants than we do about the security of our citizens. Securing the border is doable and it needs to be done prior to the next attack.
Next, an enforcement program to deal with those that cross illegally is needed. When you enter the United States without written permission of the United States government in the form of a visa, you are breaking the law, no if ands or buts. The law is black and white. We jail shoplifters, pick-pockets and prostitutes, yet we allow the systematic abuse of immigration laws; laws that are there as a matter of national security, health and disease prevention and economic necessity. The risk posed by unchecked illegal border crossing is far greater than those posed by a shoplifter, yet we allow these crimes to go on unpunished.
The solution is a simple enforcement of the law. If you are apprehended crossing the border, you should be brought to a court room. There will be a magistrate, a prosecutor and a public defender present to instantly try the case. All evidence will be presented to the judge, much like it is for a traffic violation, and the judge will make a decision.
If found guilty, a minimum 30 days of confinement will be given prior to deportation for the first offense. A second offense will receive a six month minimum sentence. A third and subsequent offenses will receive an 11 month, 29 day sentence. An option to reduce all sentences by half by performing moderate labor will be offered but will not be forced or implied as part of the imposed sentence. Moderate labor consists of repairing and maintaining the border security infrastructure and cleaning up the impact on the environment.
The confinement facilities will be simple and similar to minimal security facilities. A simple fenced in compound with simple multiple housing units for both men and women. Now this may sound cruel, but in actuality, this will modify the behavior of those coming to the U.S. by imposing such a level of risk that those seeking to immigrate would be better served to do it the legal way. This "tough love" approach will reduce the numbers of those dying in the desert, dramatically reduce the impact on our environment, and allow our Border Patrol agents to concentrate on capturing drug traffickers and potential terrorists instead of some poor guy trying to find a better life for his family.
On the other side are the employers that violate the law and employ illegal immigrants. They will experience the same form of enforcement. First offense, 30 days in jail, second offense a six months, and third the 11months, 29 days with the same voluntary labor option to reduce the sentence. Imagine if the owners of the contracting agencies that provided cleaning services to Wal-Mart that were found guilty of violating immigration law had to spend time in jail in addition to the fines. Many times fines for these companies are considered "the cost of doing business" by the owners and managers. By arresting and jailing corporate leaders, they will ensure they follow federal immigration law in their hiring practices. By reducing the practice and the financial appeal for low wage immigrant labor, we will subsequently reduce illegal immigration by reducing the availability of jobs for illegal immigrants.
The "Coyotes" however, will feel no love. Anyone convicted of human trafficking shall receive a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in prison, 25 years if the act resulted in a human fatality. No exceptions. If they want to profit in human misery, they'll pay the price by surrendering their freedom. This will increase the risk of being a "Coyote" to such a degree, that they will have to charge extreme prices to make it worth their risk to smuggle people into the United States, thus putting the ability to hire a "Coyote" out of the range of your average illegal immigrant.
Even with this aggressive approach, this alone will not solve the problem. The other component is simplified and efficient immigration laws. When my grandmother came to the United States from Italy in 1939, she was trying to escape the fascism of Benito Mussolini. Much like those trying to come to the U.S. to escape poverty, she did not have a visa or a passport; but America did not turn her away or deport her. Instead, when she got off the ship at Ellis Island, New York, she was allowed to complete immigration paperwork, registered with the immigration service and was allowed to enter the U.S.
With today's technology, there is no reason we can't streamline the process. I can walk into a store and buy a gun on the spot. The clerk calls the FBI instant background check and after a quick records check, I have my gun. Why can't we do this with immigration? Fingerprints, retina scans, DNA analysis, face mapping all can be done in a short period of time. Background NCIC, InterPol and Terrorist watch databases can screen likely entrants. Health screenings can also be conducted to ensure they are not entering the United States carrying a communicable disease, such as Tuberculosis.
Then they can be issued temporary visas for short, but increasing periods of time. The initial visa will be a 30 day initial entry visa. During this period the immigrant must find valid employment and obtain a legitimate residence. Upon doing so, he returns to an immigration office where his employment is verified using a data base updated daily by employers. He must also provide proof of residence (lease, family member, etc), subject to verification by immigration officials. Failure to fulfill the requirements will result in deportation. Failing to return during the 30 day period will result in a federal arrest warrant being issued, jail time, deportation and a five year ban on returning to the U.S.
If the immigrant complies with the law, he will then be issued a six month work visa. If after six months he has maintained consistent employment, has not committed any crimes or violated any laws, he can then apply for another visa. Subsequent visa applications will be even faster, and demonstrated respect for the law by returning before the Visa expires will be rewarded with longer visas and an eventual opportunity to become a resident alien and eventually a U.S. citizen.
Once it becomes easier to enter the U.S. legally, illegal immigration will dramatically drop. Of course criminals, drug dealers and terrorists will still try to cross illegally, but our beefed up defenses and our Border Patrol agents, not bogged down by dealing with large numbers illegal border crossers, will now be able to concentrate on capturing those that pose a threat to society and national security.
Teddy Roosevelt said it best: "We cannot afford to continue to use hundreds of thousands of immigrants merely as industrial assets while they remain social outcasts and menaces any more than fifty years ago we could afford to keep the black man merely as an industrial asset and not as a human being."
Back then (1915) he was talking about Irish and German immigrants, not Mexicans. Like I stated earlier, I am the grandson of immigrants and appreciate the added value to our culture and many contributions immigrants have made in building this great country. One just can't rationalize allowing millions of European immigrants who were running away from famine, Nazism, Fascism and Communism to enter the United States in search of freedom and a better life, but deny Mexicans, as well as other immigrants today, that same opportunity. To do so is nothing short of racism. Americans want to see real immigration reform; they don't want to listen to a bunch of rhetoric with racist overtones.