Repairing, Reforming Immigration Policy
Byline: JAMES SRODES, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
This is a serious book by a thoughtful observer of one of the crisis issues facing America. The points he raises deserve a close reading and careful consideration. S. Rob Sobhani argues that U.S. immigration policy has become such a contradictory mishmash of reaction responses that it amounts to no policy.
He also argues that those other new arrivals in American society, our black fellow citizens, are the most heavily penalized by the surge since 2000 of an estimated 13 million immigrants - 11 million of them illegal. He cites data that at least 40 percent of the high incidence of unemployment among blacks, most particularly among black teenagers, can be traced to immigrants who take jobs at lower wages.
The first step the author proposes to address the immigration morass is to make English the official language of the United States, a standard that already is imposed by 31 state governments. He makes a convincing case that programs that promote English as a second-language among immigrants and in the public schools act as a barrier to acquiring both higher education and better-paying jobs.
Mr. Sobhani proposes coupling the official adoption of English with an aggressive program of structured English immersion that would prepare the individual to move on into the general classroom and job market. He also would force reversal of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission policy targeting small businesses that insist their employees be proficient in English.
Mr. Sobhani's second prescription is to enforce the immigration laws already on the books. He notes that the Obama administration in 2009 ended the practice of cracking down on employers who hire illegal aliens through unannounced raids on workplaces. Since then, immigration agents have been required to give advance notice to companies, giving the illegals time to vanish before the inspections.
By stepping up border-enforcement patrols along our common border with Mexico (the overwhelming source of most illegals) and by requiring the use of electronic verification of documents by employers, Mr. Sobhani argues, the potential gain in job opportunities for legitimate U.S. citizens would open up the estimated nearly 5 percent of current jobs that are held by aliens.
The author's third recommendation is more problematical - a five-year moratorium on immigration. This would not be an outright ban on all immigration. Spouses of U.S. citizens, people of extraordinary ability and humanitarian cases would be allowed in. But the estimated 75,000 work visas currently issued every month would be held to a bare minimum as long as the broad unemployment number for the country was above 5 percent.
In addition, the broad current rules would be ended that allow the added immigration of extended relatives of individuals who do gain entrance into the country. Spouses and children would be allowed in but not siblings, parents or even adult children. Amnesty permits for illegals also could be ended. …