First off, it is impossible for us to deport all the undocumented residents in the country. Likewise, building any kind of physical barrier is a tremendous waste of natural and financial resources. We could certainly ramp up our enforcement of immigration law, but we must create an amendment to the Constitution clarifying the intentions of the Fourteenth Amendment and giving Congress the power to create requirements on citizenship. I believe the Constitution’s protections apply to everyone and it is our obligation as responsible citizens to defend those rights even when we’d rather make exceptions. However, voting must be reserved only for citizens.
From a legal perspective, I’d like to make US citizenship a formal process that must be completed even by those born in this country upon attaining the age of majority. Only citizens should be drafted for military service should the need arise and only citizens should be given a vote. For the undocumented residents, I would create a special program much like a simpler version of the UK’s tiered citizenships that would guarantee the right to live and work in the United States without a path to full citizenship. It is my belief that those who are living in the country illegally should not be given citizenship, but they should be given enough standing that they do not fear standing up for their rights. I would not withhold social programs from people who aren’t citizens, but many programs carry an expectation of having contributed to the system and I would not change those requirements.
From the enforcement perspective, I would work on restricting access to banking rather than implementing physical barriers. Provisions of the PATRIOT Act already place a significant expectation on banks to know their customers. City zoning laws should be used to identify properties designated as commercial in order to enforce business permitting which also allows identities to be cross-referenced. Businesses would be subject to random audits of their personnel to ensure compliance with immigration laws, but businesses who have not passed inspection recently will be more likely to be audited. I would like newborn babies to be inked and fingerprinted with their birth mother so that there is a physical link between identification documents and the person those documents are assigned to.
As far as who we let in, I would like the minimum standard to be someone who has the financial means of supporting themselves as well as being able to return to their home country should their petition for residency be denied for security or behavioral reasons. I am aware that there are legitimate humanitarian needs, but those are relatively rare and should be handled on an individual basis. I would not expect immigrants to have a perfectly spotless record, but they should not commit any serious crimes during the probationary period before they apply for citizenship. I believe temporary work permits should be fairly easy to get even though the business will have to post surety to ensure the workers can return if need be as well as the costs of security vetting. As such, I do not believe immigrants will cause a significant drag on wages.