Immigration "Crisis" - Global Trade Magazine
  February 20th, 2015 | Written by

Immigration “Crisis”

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“Rick, I am shocked, shocked to find out that gambling is going on here!” So said Captain Renault to Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca.

Right. … And we may as well feign the same shock over trading partners using currency manipulations to drive down the cost of their exports. That this “revelation” is giving the White House pause over the implementation of the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement is in itself, well, shocking. Whether you have emerging economies like Vietnam or established partners like South Korea, of course they will manipulate their currency whenever they feel the need. In some of the smaller nations, the governments are just trying to live to see another day and will do whatever is needed to keep their exports moving along.

America needs Latino workers. They are the backbone of our economy. As one Latino leader put it to me, “We cook your food, we paint your homes, we mow your lawn.” What’s more, thousands of Latinos are among the nation’s hardest working entrepreneurs thriving in hundreds of different industries. If any of our political leaders gave even 20 minutes of focused thought to our Latino immigration “crisis,” they could solve it. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than this:

Complete the fence between the U.S.-Mexican border. That’s a matter of national security.

All undocumented people currently living in the U.S. need to register for the “pathway to citizenship.” In doing so they are designated “Applicants.” Pathway to citizenship should be a two-step program.

STEP ONE: Applicants between the ages of 18 and 65 need to find a job within 12 months and be able to produce a paycheck stub or they get deported. The vast majority are already working so this should not be a big issue. Youngsters, students and the elderly are exempt and can skip this step. Those who have jobs—or because of their age are exempt—are designated “provisional citizens” but are not entitled to any benefits of citizenship and cannot vote.

MANUFACTURING A FUTURE College isn’t right for everyone, so why not promote the high-paying manufacturing industry?
MANUFACTURING A FUTURE College isn’t right for everyone, so why not promote the high-paying manufacturing industry?

STEP TWO: Once they become “provisional,” the next step is to take and pass the naturalization citizen test—in English. Once they pass it, they get citizenship, assuming they can still verify employment if they are between ages 18 and 65 and not enrolled in school. And youngsters under 18 can qualify for citizenship after three years of schooling.

For it to work, we have to keep it simple. And, we have to get over this mentality of “it’s not fair to the people who stood in line.” We’re at where we’re at. Let’s make the best of it and allow them to make the best of their lives. It will be good for them and good for America.

What does Obama’s plan for “free” community college tuition have to do with exports? You be the judge. First, we over-emphasize college and make kids feel inferior if they don’t pursue it. That’s wrong because many kids aren’t cut out for college. What’s more, there are many manufacturing jobs paying $80,000 a year (with a shortage of workers) that don’t require a college degree. Our “college-driven” society unfairly degrades blue-collar jobs. But these jobs can be fun and very rewarding—if that’s how you’re wired.

Whether high tech or low tech, it’s fun to work with your hands and build things. But over-emphasizing college with free tuition will shame some high school grads out of the manufacturing sector, which may be their first choice, and therefore stymie America’s manufacturing growth and exports—and worse, potentially set these students on a course for an unsatisfying career.