It is finally time to solve an issue facing this country that is as divisive as slavery. It is time to end the rhetoric, the hateful speech, the coddling, the handouts and the erosion of what it means to be an American citizen. It is time to stop the grandstanding and having this just be a campaign issue. It is time for our leaders to actually lead. It is time to put up or shut up.
Here’s my outline of a plan, albeit a fairly comprehensive one, on what to start doing and begin reuniting this country as one. There is no reason this cannot be implemented and actually running in less than a year from now if our politicians, our government and we, as a nation, actually want a working solution.
The problem: Illegal immigrants
The motivation: My philosophy is that patriotism is not celebrating the the current state of the country but expressing the belief and steps it can take to achieve true greatness.
Hear me out and consider this before thinking I’m insane, radical, racist or anything other than trying to be realistic and practical. It is time that we help ourselves as a county and get back the “can do” attitude that built this great nation. It’s greatness came not from military might but our internal focus on being the best. It’s what attracted our ancestors here. It is also what has attracted all of the people that we now refer to as “illegals”. Also, this is just a starting point that just came to mind and I’m putting down in writing.
The solution: Puerto Rico. Honestly, the location is merely a part of the solution. You’ll see why.
Background: Puerto Rico has already voted to not consider becoming an actual state. As a commonwealth of the US, they continue to enjoy the protection of rights as well as foreign intervention and of course monetary aid while not paying taxes or having a voice in our Federal government. To me, that says that the majority of it’s citizens are perfectly fine with PR being a possession (owned by?) the United States of America. Time to utilize this resource besides using it a bomb testing site.
The preparation: We round up illegal immigrants in a joint effort of the individual states and Federal government. They will and must be treated humanely and with a certain degree of courtesy. Keep in mind, they are here illegally. They are not citizens, they do not enjoy Constitutional protection. However, they are people that have chosen the US for a better life and we all should be flattered that we have created this shining beacon that does attract them. Many of them have immediate family that are here, are productive citizens and have greatly contributed to lighting that beacon. Also, many of them have had children and raised families here that did not come here illegally.
The plan: This ongoing operation will be run by the various branches of the US military, Army Corp of Engineers, FEMA, The Red Cross and other organizations that choose to help such as Habitat for Humanity, Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, etc. This will, in essence, be a disaster relief effort on steroids. The majority of funding should come as such, as it’s time that we start healing our own country before helping others. It’s great that the US offers humanitarian relief so often to other countries but it’s time to pay ourselves. Additional funding will come from private corporations as well. (More on that later.)
The logistics: Those here illegally and desire to actually remain as a legal citizen will be escorted to provided accommodations on Puerto Rico. Those accommodations may be somewhat basic- think military barracks. No, this is not a prison in Guantanamo Bay. This is not any sort of internment camp. This is, for the most part, completely voluntary. Anyone not wishing to do this can be deported. Those are the rules. While here, accommodations should be better than a disaster relief camp. (An additional thought would be that anyone that can afford it can pay for upgraded accommodations and amenities, but that’s a fine detail to be worked out.) The Army Corp of Engineers can use this as a training program for their new recruits and help develop the great minds and skills of those that are usually part of that program. FEMA, even with their faults, can still make sure that a safe, healthy environment is maintained. The Red Cross can provide basic medical services as well as immunization, etc. The Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity, etc. can help ensure the human experience is kept, that people are people and that the guests understand that we are helping them to help themselves.
The goal: This project will be known as CITI- the Citizen In Training Initiative. The government loves acronyms (euphemisms?) Hell, Citibank can even sponsor this starting with, let’s say, $10 Billion of their taxpayer funded “bailout” money. Anyway, the main idea is to have these “citizens in training” go through just that- a training program. This will include:
- Language education: English becomes their primary language so that reading and comprehension is AT LEAST on a 5th grade level. (There will be advanced classes available as well for those that want to take the next step.) Of course, this also includes speaking and conversational components.
- Basic history education: Cover the main points of the founding and building of the US, philosophy of the founding fathers, basic ideas of democracy and capitalism.
- Health, nutrition and first aid: As we know, nothing is more cultural than food. However, besides keeping their culinary heritage (which we all benefit from) they should be educated on at least the basics and benefits of good nutrition. That is the underpinning of good health along with explaining the benefits, mentally and physically, of exercise. We’re worried about the cost of healthcare in this country. If we can train people to take steps on their own towards prevention as well as first aid so that the healthcare system is not burdened with simple, non-life threatening incidents, that’s a win.
-Job training. One argument is that “illegals” do the jobs that most Americans don’t want to: janitors, maids, dishwashers, etc. so they’re not really taking away jobs. That is not going to change. What will change is the quality of the jobs that are done. In addition, upon successful completion and graduation of this CITI program, a person will no longer be an “illegal” but a full-blown, entitled citizen just like the rest of us. My hope is that this job training will be funded and provided by private companies, especially ones that currently benefit from cheap labor and would greatly benefit from skilled labor. Home Depot, Boeing, GM, GE, etc. Imagine financial and other companies that will hopefully move customer service and call center jobs back to US. Just imagine the increased sightings of products that say “Made in the USA” and the scarcity of “Made in China”! I’d be quite surprised to hear that anyone that wants to kick out illegal immigrants would not want this.
*Note- I am not advocating for actual job placement or guaranteed employment- that is not what our system in this country is or necessarily should be.
-Citizenship and civics: What does it mean to be a citizen?- Rights and responsibilities, civic obligations (such as jury duty) and everything required to pass the US Citizenship Test.
The result: Upon graduation of the all of the above, they will receive a personal invitation from the President of the United States to formally apply for citizenship and take the citizenship test on US soil (make use of Ellis Island?) Upon successful completion, the appropriate ceremony takes place and they are welcomed with open arms.