Previously: part 1 - justice in immigration reform, part 2 - mercy toward the poor in Mexico, part 3 - those already here
Having offered my take on what the biblical concepts of justice and mercy (especially toward the poor) might have to offer on the immigration reform debate, I'd like to now give you my thoughts on what shape a comprehensive solution to the immigration situation would take.
We have to deal with both the supply of and the demand for illegal labor. To that end, I’d like to see the border closed down tight (for many reasons) and labor laws strictly enforced. There should be serious consequences for hiring illegal laborers. Also, the loose ends of the government need to be tied up – e.g., the IRS needs to be required to let authorities know when they find that people are using falsified tax ID numbers (they currently don’t).
Next, having enforcement of labor laws in place, we can require those who are here illegally to pay an appropriate fine in exchange for a green card. It will take some time for our situation to settle down a bit as people realize that they will have to get legal to work. At the same time, we need to start working, again, on the supply side and require Mexico to make some serious, demonstrable economic reforms.
After that, we can implement a guest worker program as well as loosened requirements for permanent immigration from Mexico once we have an idea of how many more Mexican workers we can absorb. As I said last time, I would not allow legalized illegal immigrants to gain citizenship without returning to their country of origin and getting in the back of the line.
With all that said, sometimes we let the perfect get in the way of the good. Reasonable people in both parties disagree with each other and the other party about what a just as well as practical solution is, and in the end a bill that can get through Congress is going to be a compromise. We have to work for the best solution we can while accepting that we will not get everything we want. I think the most important thing to remember as we leave this topic is that, to God, why we do something is as important as what we do.