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American Borders Forum

What should American immigration and border policies be? Submit your ideas to The American Borders Forum today.

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Defining Immigration: Left of Center View

Immigration is very simple as a concept, you leave the country you are living in and go live in and/or become a citizen of another. The concept is simple, but the issues surrounding immigration, both political and practical, are some of the most complex on todayís political landscape. But it is an important enough issue that we can no longer afford the quick band-aid fixes that have become all too common place. This is no longer a problem that will simply go away when ignored.

Often the first step in answering a complex question is to understand the question itself. The issues have now built itself into two separate but equally difficult parts, legal and illegal immigration. Wikipedia the popular, public, on-line encyclopedia defines legal and illegal immigration as such:

Immigration is the movement of people from one nation-state to another. While human migration has existed throughout human history, immigration implies long-term permanent residence (and often eventual citizenship) by the immigrants: tourists and short-term visitors are not considered immigrants. However, seasonal labor migration (typically for periods of less than a year) is often treated as a form of immigration.

Illegal Immigration to the United States refers to the act of moving to or settling in the United States with the intent to remain indefinitely in violation of U.S. immigration and nationality law. Illegality stems from immigrants either entering the United States without authorization from the US Government, or having entered the US with authorization, but violating the terms of entry. The Immigration and Nationality Act governs immigration law. Non-citizen tourists in the country are not illegal aliens because they have the subjective intent to return to their own country. The presence in the United States plus the intent to reside there indefinitely makes the person a resident for purposes of estate taxes so that illegal aliens are subject to the estate tax on all their property in all parts of the world if they die even though they may be deported. Their property outside of the USA would be subject to the U.S. estate tax because of their factual residency.

So before we can even get to the question of the qualifications necessary to live and work in the US we must first decide who is allowed to enter the country. Obviously people who are likely to stay for an extended period of time and who are intending to find employment while in the US should not be allowed unrestricted entrance. Also on the do not enter list should be criminals, citizens of hostile nations and Cat Stevens (apparently).

Now the hard part, how do we determine who fits into the group of folks that are not allowed in. In essence we are already doing this. People with a valid passport from a nation that we are on good terms with and who have negotiated limited access for their citizens should be allowed in, just as citizens of the US expect entrance when we show up at their borders unannounced.

However, entrance into a country does not, and should not, guarantee you the same rights and privileges as the citizens of that country. Americanís traveling in Saudi Arabia donít expect to receive government checks from oil income, that is a privilege accorded only to citizens of that country. Why then do citizens from foreign nations coming to the U.S. expect the benefits of citizenship. We should offer to our guests the same services we expect when we travel abroad.

Public education, medical, dental and financial assistance should be available to all citizens of the United States. We need to offer the people who live here and who have paid for the various services through their taxes the best possible return on their investment in this country. We are under no obligation to feed, cloth, house or educate anyone other than our own citizens. Non-residents receiving services should be financially responsible for themselves and be asked to reimburse the government accordingly.

Persons coming to reside and work in the U.S. should have secured employment prior to entering the country. Employers, not the taxpayers are then financially responsible for the public services used by their employees. State, local and Federal taxes would be collected from the guest worker for the entirety of their stay. Employers found in violation of this policy should be fined on a plateau equal to twice the cost of having followed the stipulations. It should no longer be a profitable practice for U.S. companies not to hire U.S. citizens.

English should be the official language of the United States, and as such all of the citizenship process, verbal, written or otherwise, should be offered only in English.

Foreign nationals who serve in the United States armed forces should be granted probational citizenship during then term of service and be granted full citizenship upon honorable discharge after no less than of two years of service.

Persons married to U.S. citizens should be granted legal residency. Children born on U.S. soil would become citizens only if at least one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of birth.

Aside from these minor changes, the process of becoming a citizen should remain relatively the same. We have the proper safeguards in place, we just need to enforce them.

The question of what to do with people working and living in the U.S. illegally as well as the punishments for the employers who exploit them are, and should be treated as significant but separate issues, as should international trade restrictions and outsourcing. There are hundreds of offshoot issues that are all part of the whole, and in the coming weeks and months all must be debated and answered. But before we can do that , before we can hope to find the answers that thus far have been alluding us, we must first understand the questions.

Kyle Pesonen - Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this column.

Defining Immigration: Right of Center View

My Colleague and I were talking last week and got onto the topic of immigration. While talking, it became clear that we see things differently in some ways and similarly in others. We figured that this was likely the case for most Americans so we decided we would start two weekly columns to discuss our ideas and invite America to follow and join our debate.

This week we are starting by defining how we view immigration, both legal and illegal. So that there is no confusion where we start from, we decided that it is important to share those definitions with you.

To me legal immigration is the process where someone who believes in American ideals and wants to embrace them approaches our government and asks for the priveledge of becoming an American citizen. In doing so, this person is agreeing to learn our language, uphold the highest standards of ethics and productivity as well as patriotism so that they may enrich our great country. In my view anything less is using the system as a dodge or a hustle. Simply coming to America for her freedoms while not wishing to support her people is of no use to our nation and we would rather you stay where you are. We have an abundance of lazy people who are looking for a free ride. We do not need any more. America became great through the hard work and perseverence of her people through a long period of adversity. To simply wish to reap the rewards of the hard work of America's past is an insult to all whose forefathers built this great land. I also believe that the citizens by birthright who wish to live off of the labors of others are a detriment to our nation and wish we could deport them as well. I do not care about the color of your skin but care greatly about the content of your character. If you wish to make America stronger, I welcome you with open arms. If you wish to demean or lessen her through trickery, laziness or greed, I wish nothing positive ever come to you as a result.

In my view illegal immigration is everything that violates the ideals I set forth in my definition of legal immigration. Additionally, if you break our laws in order to gain entry into our nation, you are not welcome in my view. Your first act in our country was to disrespect our laws because they were not convenient to you. You chose the quick and disreputable path of the criminal who does not respect laws. You chose to say to America "Your laws do not apply to me." This in and of itself is a disrespect to our nation. The only exception that I would make to this is for those whose lives are in immediate danger from political persecution or warfare caused by the U.S. in their country of origin. I believe that those people should immediately turn themselves in to the State Department upon arrival in the U.S. and request political asylum. They have a legtitimate concern for their lives and we as a great nation should offer our protection to those who seek freedom from life threatening dangers caused by oppressive regimes or warfare that we have had a hand in creating.

So those are my basic definitions of Legal and Illegal Immigration. There are facets to them that are far too complex to be simply defined but the basic ideas I set forth should give you a good idea where I stand.
Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this column.

Have You Been Downsized Due to Outsourcing?

For several years now we have listened to some within the business community tell us that America can't compete on a global scale unless they send our jobs overseas where they can be done cheaper. The question becomes, if we don't have good paying jobs here, how can we sustain our own economy? We want to hear from you. Have you lost your job? Have you been forced into a lower wage job due to outsourcing? Has outsourcing been a success for you? Did you end up in a better job?

Tell us your story so we can make sure the politicians see how outsourcing really impacts the workers who are backbone of America. Send your story to

Get Involved

Do you sit and yell at the TV when politicians come on? Do you shake your head sadly whenever you see a homeless veteran? Is that all you tend to do?

It's time to put up or shut up America. We all love to talk about how we could do things better or how we would do it if we were in charge. Well, it's time to put your money where your mouth is. If you can think of it, you can write it down. If you can write it down, you can type it. If you can type it, you can e-mail it and if you can e-mail it, you can send it here.

We at Reform America are committed to giving voice to anyone who wants to put their ideas out there to make our nation a better place. As the readership grows, we are able to take those views to a wider and wider audience. Grassroots campaigns begin with voices speaking out. You have opinions. Voice them. We aren't about conservative or liberal. We aren't about pro-this or anti-that. We're about Americans and the First Amendment. Reform America is about politics by, for and of the people. You are the people. You only need to speak up. America is listening. Send your article to:

A Plan

The one major thing that seems to be lacking in the immigration debate is a real plan that addresses the legitimate concerns with illegal immigration. There are strong opinions on both sides and a lot of rhetoric but there isnít really any solid plan being promoted to address the illegal immigration issue in a way that is both fair and logical.

So, that being said here is my idea:Read More

Trucking Cross Borders

This is mainly a concern for the trucking business. If we allow these people to come into our country, bringing cargo that we in America have, and can supply, then we are saying that the American working people are not needed, and have lost all say to legally enforced DOT (Department of Transportation) laws.Read More

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