An Open Letter to Democrat 2020 Presidential Candidates

Dear candidates,

It is heartening to hear most of you discuss the plight of immigrants in cages and immigrant children being separate from their parents. Unfortunately, as an immigrant myself, I see that there remains a fundamental disconnect about the issue of immigration.

Although well intended, legalizing the Dreamers (I wholeheartedly support it) and a “pathway to citizenship” (I agree also) does not resolve the underlining problem.

The fundamental problem with the national debate on immigration is that very, very few want to focus on the fact that the system is broken.

Most of us understand that the system is broken on purpose because it tries to serve too many personal interests. The current system is a mashup of competing and often opposing demands on the national policy towards immigration.

Most Americans understand that immigrants benefit the country.

However, most of those same Americans have a fear of the unknown, a fear of job losses and a smaller group fear the changing demographics and language of the country.

All those fears are normal human reactions to a changing world.

But most people can rationalize their fear if they understand the facts.

Arguing that the border must be secured is a distraction. The border is secure as evidenced by the fact that terrorist activity in the country is almost all homegrown.

The reason for this is because both Canada and México as well as most immigrants understand that another attack on the United States would be detrimental to not only the country but for immigrants and America’s neighbors as well.

All of us have a vested interest in keeping America safe.

To fully resolve the immigration problem – border security, caged children, family separations, asylum surges, etc. – a fundamental reality needs to be accepted in America.

Immigrants immigrate to America for economic and security reasons.

Once that reality is accepted as fact then a national discussion can be had on immigration.

American voters can choose to accept economic immigrants, asylum seekers or none of the above.

I believe that the American voter would accept all immigrants. But if they choose to not accept any at all, well that is a decision for the American voter to make. I and my fellow immigrants would be disappointed, however.

But if the American voter accepts the reality that there are two types of immigrants – economic and security than a rational law would be simple.

If Americans choose to accept both security and economic immigrants than the immigrants would “follow the law” because the law would clearly layout the path to legally entering the country.

If the national policy recognizes that economic immigrants are a benefit to the country than the quota and lottery system would cease, and immigrants would be allowed into the county as jobs are offered to them.

The solution is simple, if an immigrant wants to work in America, they would apply for a work permit. The work permit would allow them a certain amount of time to find a job.

The permit itself would limit the immigrant’s access to national benefits such as schooling, housing and other benefits until they find a job. Working legally the immigrant would contribute to the county through their work and the taxes they would pay just like all other workers. They would not have to hide in the shadows anymore. Like all workers, they would have access to the same benefits Americans have through their own contributions to the country.

A working immigrant would pay for housing, food and other necessities as they do their job. If they choose to bring their families along, they would not only enrich their neighborhoods but also contribute to help secure their neighborhoods and the country. A working immigrant with children would also like to have a secure school and community for their kids.

To those that would argue that immigrants would flood the country the simple solution is to make access contingent upon having a job. Allowing as many immigrants to enter the country to work would do away with most abusive employers and lost taxes due to immigrants living in the shadows.

A legal immigrant worker would pay the same taxes as any other worker bolstering the healthcare, schools and other national needs.

An immigrant that is unable to secure a job would have no choice but to return to their home country.

There are those that would argue that unlimited immigrants would depress the local economy along with wages. The fact is that there are over 11 million immigrants already in the country. Presumably many of those are working in the underground economy already depreciating wages and putting pressure on the nation’s social benefits by living in the shadows.

But the reason that an immigrant underground economy exists is because the nation depends on immigrant labor for its robust economy.

Allowing unmetered work permits which allows immigrants to enter the country to find jobs would solve the immigration issue. Immigrants would be vested in keeping the system in place by helping law enforcement identify dangerous border problems, drug runners and unscrupulous employers. Coyotes or human smugglers would not have the revenues from desperate immigrants wanting an American job, thus they would seek other criminal activities.

Reducing the load on border security services to enforce a broken immigration system would also allow the border security agents to focus on drug and human traffickers instead of interdicting people just looking for work.

Without having to enforce an enforceable law designed to limit immigrant workers while tacitly encouraging them to come would also allow immigration officials to focus on asylum seekers and refugees fleeing violence. Without having the economic immigrants having to “game the system” through the asylum process, the immigrants fleeing violence would be better served by a system unburdened by surges on the border.

There will be those that would argue that unfettered access to immigrants would further burden the national benefits system with users who have not contributed to the system.

The laws are already in place to deal with such an eventuality. Currently, immigrants that are not legal residents are prohibited from most national benefits systems. Those immigrants that do not find a job would not be allowed to participate in the national benefits system simply by enforcing the existing laws, Without a safety net, jobless immigrants would likely return to their countries of origin.

Will there be abuse? Yes, it is an unfortunate human trait. However, most immigrants only want security, and even more are just looking to work. They would be invested in helping law enforcement pursue abuse. A working immigrant would also pay taxes thus they would also want to ensure their tax burden doesn’t increase by abuse.

Would there be enough American voters to support such a measure?

I believe that if presented with the facts, most American voters would accept the simple solution to the problem.

But, in the unfortunate event that they do not, at least the county would be in a better place to resolve the immigration issue once the facts are put before the American people.

The truth is better than keeping a system that encourages “gaming” it.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...