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A Presidential Matter: Immigration Reform

Immigration

Not since the days of Ellis Island has the United States been faced with such a decisive shift in the demographics of American population. No longer is our population made up of European immigrants but rather an influx of Mexicans, Cubans and others coming from all over the world. The Hispanic population is now becoming one of the fastest growing ethnic groups. Today, the influx of so many crossing our borders especially children from South America and Mexico has made it imperative that new reforms must be put in place. With so many individuals that have already crossed our borders illegally in avoidance to the current limited restrictions makes a very strong case to restrict, set limitations and reform our current immigration policies. This is to enforce who and how many people will be able to come into and reside in the United States. In either case the numbers that have migrated and settled into this country continues to grow. There is also a flip side to our immigration problems. While so many seek refuge in the United States legally, and many more illegally, many American citizens are seeking refuge in other countries. And, in many cases all for a better quality of life. There again, many more are leaving the United States seeking a more affordable place to live. Today, our immigration reform needs to focus on both concerns; those coming into the US and US citizens migrating to foreign countries.

In order of felicitate the growing numbers of immigrants that are seeking a safe haven in the US while securing our borders comes with reforming, not only our immigration policies, but using the Department of Homeland Security as the agency that will spear head immigration reform. When the Department of Homeland Security was formed in the aftermath of 9/11, it was to become the one Federal Agency within the government that would consolidate all other intelligence agencies for the specific purpose to prevent another catastrophe like 9/11 from happening again. Since then, the Department has had difficulties especially with it's handling of disasters in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and more recently, Sandy. It is now more important than ever for the Department of Homeland Security to under go much needed reforms to have a much better response when a disaster strikes, whether it is a terrorist attack or another natural disaster.

The current debate on Immigration is an internal part of the Republican mindset. Past and current legislation have all failed to grasp the financial and economic implications of policy decisions that have allowed so many to try to assimilate into American society. And, at the same time governmental policies have only made it more difficult for American citizens already established in America to stay in America. The existing immigration policies that have been around since the late 1970s corresponding with the escalation of civil and military unrest in Mexico, South America as well as many other countries that have and are undergoing traumatic injustices, it is no wonder there is a renewed vitality on immigration reform. Then again, current economic policies have made it quite clear that many Americans can expect to save money and live more inexpensively in another country. Instead of supporting our economy the vast migration of Americas are now supporting other countries economies. The quandary facing the United States is that American citizens are immigrating to other lands while at the same time more people are migrating to the United States all because governmental policies have only exasperated both factors.

Prior to 1975, the United States had very stringent guidelines in place that restricted who could be allowed to come across our borders. At that time there was not the amount of unrest in Mexico or South America as we are seeing today. Now, the questions are how to outline policies on immigration that will define, not only what America really stands for, but who and how many immigrants can the United States handle with minimal adverse effects on our already delicate economy? And, how to mitigate those numbers of Americans leaving America? All this, while at the same time, securing this nation's national security. Back before 1975, we had economic policies the offered an affordable cost of living for Americans. Today, that is not the case. The cost of living has soared leaving millions of Americans wanting to migrate of another country where the cost of living is comparable to their income. The vast migration of Americans has already begun.

What a better time to use the times of today to integrate the Department of Homeland Security with renewed policies on immigration to give the American public a national outline that specifies the guidelines for any one who wishes to immigrate to the United States. Also outline specific policy measures that would help Americans financially to lessen the desire to seek refuge in another country. For those coming to America will now have to abide by these new set guidelines. For Americans seeking affordable living standards the implementation of National Economic Reform's Ten Articles of Confederation will create the feasibility for Americans to do so and lessen the temptation to seek economic solace elsewhere.

We should be reminded how and why the Department of Homeland Security came into being able to understand the need today for reform. With the passage of the Homeland Security Act by Congress in November of 2002, the Department of Homeland Security formally came into being as a Cabinet-level department to oversee and coordinate a comprehensive national strategy to safeguard the country. In the ensuing years, the Department of Homeland Security has undergone multiple reviews of their operations and procedures. This Department has then consulted public and private partners at the Federal, state, local and international levels. The outcome of these reviews was passage of the Security Accountability for the nations seaports. In essence authorized the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and completed the reorganization of FEMA.

The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-53) was enacted on August 7, 2007. The Act built on the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006, focusing on the reorganization of the grant process as administered by FEMA. The Act also reorganized intelligence operations while elevating the Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis to that of Under Secretary. The Under Secretary now has to be confirmed by the Senate. Additionally, many of the features of homeland security today must align with recommendations contained in the 9/11 Commission Report. We know what has happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The response time was still too slow in procuring the necessary provisions and much needed funds to properly ensure the publics safety. In the end millions were adversely affected not just because of the storm itself but the response time fro rebuilding was again too slow. Again bureaucratic red tape and waffling by congress to act decisively and quickly continues to ruin the Department Of Homeland Security effectiveness. Just look what happened when Congress decided to cut it's funding. It is abundantly clear that Congress has again failed the American public in the wake of such devastation from natural disasters. We can just imagine now if a major terrorist attack happened on American soil yet again.

It was the President’s fiscal year 2010 budget that made the transfer of the Federal Protective Service (FPS) from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD)possible. This streamlined the decision-making while aligning the protection of federal buildings with DHS’ broader critical infrastructure protection mission. It also elevated the Office of Inter government Programs from NPPD to a direct report to the Secretary and renamed it to the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Still the response time from FEMA falls too short in alleviating the many effects after a major disaster.

In 2010, Secretary Janet Napolitano led the completion of the first-ever Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR), which established a unified, strategic framework for homeland security missions and goals. Subsequently, DHS conducted a Bottom-Up Review (BUR) to align our programmatic activities and organizational structure to better serve those missions and goals. The QHSR reflects the most comprehensive assessment and analysis of homeland security to date. DHS worked closely with the White House, National Security Staff, other Federal departments and agencies, and our state, local, tribal and territorial partners to represent the whole-of-government approach to national security envisioned by the Administration.

Still the effectiveness of Homeland Security and current immigration policies really does not meet expectations, continues to undermine our national security and hampers our nations economy. What is needed today is more transparency between all branches of our governmental security agencies including the FBI, CIA, NSA and all the other law enforcement branches on the federal, state, and local levels. Cooperation is essential to combat the existing threats of any and all terrorist activity and expedite a quicker response time in the event of a major natural disaster. We also need a renewed set of requirements for individuals who wish to reside in the United States. We have to have the means necessary to ensure our borders, while having the capabilities to foresee any contingency and prevent any nation, organization, or individual that would threaten our national security and economy.

In the 1960s, there were strict requirements for any individual that wished to gain entry and reside in the United States. We have to remember too our insatiable thirst for drugs was not as great as it is now. Whether it is heroin, cocaine or marijuana, the United States now is one of the leading consumers of so-called illegal drugs. The drug trade is a very significant factor to why our immigration policies continue to fall short. Protecting American lives and livelihoods while not overstepping our Constitutional rights is a balancing act our elected officials continue to either ignore or are incompetent to handle. The Patriot Act is one example that was originally implemented to protect Americas and yet we have sacrificed some security for personal privacy.

A universal set of immigration requirements have to be adopted as a first step in Immigration Reform. This would include implementing requirements that were enforced 50 years ago. It had moderate success then and it will have greater success now. It included all individuals who wish to reside in the US must be sponsored by a United States citizen, they must learn to read and speak English and they must have a place of employment available as well. Considering the availability of job opportunities today this last requirement would prevent many from immigrating into the US now. Many other countries have established financial measures that would enable one to gain entry into their country. Such measures are documented incomes at over $2,000 per month, Pension at over $1,500 per month and or an investment such as real estate equivalent to over $200,000 all of which would financially boost a countries economy. If other countries have established these criteria the United States would benefit greatly implementing these same concepts into our existing immigration policies.

To make it less desirable for individuals, especially people smuggling drugs across the Mexican border into the US, our drug policies must change nation wide. Some states are already legalizing certain drugs, particularly marijuana. It is time to legalize marijuana nation wide and put a tax on it just like alcohol and tobacco. Just think of the additional tax revenue. This alone would go a long way in supporting a single payer Universal Health Care system which by the way the United States is the only industrialized nation not having a national health care system.

In securing our borders, we already have strategically placed military bases all around the country. Some of which have been closed due to budget cuts. it seems our "Economic Wizards" in Washington continue to miss the boat when it comes to regaining forward economic momentum. To effectively encourage more economic growth and increase security around our borders especially the Mexican border it is necessary to reopen those closed military bases using our returning military to assist border patrols in preventing unlawful entry into the United States. In defense of defense a reinstated military draft for all men and women ages 18-25 has to be a real consideration.

The Department of Homeland Security with the combined efforts of agencies under it have to work together with coordinated efforts using these updated policy changes and reforms. This will drastically reduce the chances of another terrorist attack, reduce the influx of illegal drugs, encourage more opportunities for all. We have to remember that where there exists better opportunities people will automatically try anything to get where they are. This includes both contingencies those who seek refuge in America or Americans so disenchanted with the lack of economic opportunities here leave for a more affordable refuge. All one has to do is look south of the border in Mexico. The sad part now is unless the United States implements National Economic Reform's Ten Articles of Confederation we too will have citizens migrate away just like the Mexicans have been doing for such a long time. Instead of America being that beacon of economic prosperity we will have succumbed to a lower common denominator. Homeland Security and Immigration reform is an internal part in preventing the United States from becoming more like a third world country.

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A Presidential Matter: Immigration Reform
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