(NN&V Staff) – Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico and Honorary Chairman of the OUR America Initiative, issued his “Six Point Plan for Effective Immigration Reform.”
As Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson managed what is arguably the most racially diverse state in the Union. His proposal centers on establishing cost effective border security methods, creating common-sense guest worker programs, enacting a realistic process to resolve the status of illegal workers already in the country, and legalizing marijuana to reduce border violence.
Governor Johnson’s proposal on immigration outlines real solutions that involve cost benefit analysis, encourage documented immigration, and maintain our nation’s security. Johnson’s plan is based on his experience as Governor of a border state for eight years and was developed in consultation with citizens on the immigration issue from around the country.
Announcing his plan, Governor Johnson said, “As President Reagan recognized more than 25 years ago, a robust immigration system is essential to a successful free market system in this country. Reagan also recognized that having control of our borders is a fundamental responsibility of a sovereign nation.”
Johnson continued, “Our current system needs to be repaired. The lack of Federal leadership on immigration has forced states like Arizona to take matters into their own hands. It is time to take a hard look at solving our immigration problems.”
Johnson noted that immigration is not just a security issue and that stronger security measures will not solve the entire problem. “It is not enough to merely provide security on the border to solve the immigration problem. We need a comprehensive plan,” said Johnson.
He further added, “No plan for immigration is complete that does not include a solution to stop the terrible problem with border crime. This crime wave is a direct result of the drug trade, and the most effective and quickest way to stop border crime and the drug cartels is to legalize marijuana.”
Immigration into the United States by ambitious, willing workers and their families is a good thing. Not only is it a historical and energizing part of American culture and experience, it is vital to our economy.
These positive benefits should not be sacrificed or reduced in any solution to stop illegal immigration. However, a clear distinction must be made between illegal and legal immigration.
In reality, true and cost-effective border security will only be achieved through a common sense combination of technology, a market-based guest worker program, and a safe, but efficient system for the legal flow of immigrants to and from the United States.
Governor Johnson’s immigration proposal focuses on the following six key points:
1. Establish real and cost-effective border security.
• Continue to encourage and allow legal immigration.
• Support current border deterrents and security measures, with an understanding of the low cost benefit analysis of these methods.
2. Create a temporary guest worker program that makes sense.
• Expand and streamline a market based temporary guest worker program.
• Enact an application and tracking procedure for guest workers, such as an e-verify system. Procedures must be quick, simple and efficient in providing documentation information, and must meet the needs of both employers and willing workers.
• Require guest workers to not only pay income taxes, but provide proof of adequate health care coverage through insurance, secured savings programs, bonds, or a combination thereof.
• Allow spouses and dependents to enter the U.S. with guest workers, but only with proof of adequate health coverage and subject to the same background checks and health requirements.
3. Impose meaningful enforcement of immigration laws.
• Establish procedures and devote the resources to actually identify illegal immigrants and deport them. Implement a “one strike, you’re out” policy toward illegal immigrants with regard to future eligibility for guest worker programs.
• Impose and enforce sanctions and fines for noncompliance with immigration laws by employers that are sufficiently costly, ensuring that the risks simply are not worth the rewards.
4. Enact a reality-based process for current illegal workers to earn legal status.
• Allow a two-year grace period during which illegal immigrants already in the U.S. can come forward, pay any taxes owed, provide proof of consistent employment, pass a criminal background check, and apply for guest worker status.
5. Reduce border crime.
• Address the root cause of most border crime by legalizing marijuana, thereby removing 70% of the current cross-border illegal drug trade and replacing cartel and prohibition-related violence with legal, regulated and nonviolent commerce.
6. Achieve a better working relationship with Mexico.
• Stimulate cross-border investment through a robust, above-board and legal guest worker program.
• Strengthen the Mexican government by dramatically weakening the cartels through the legalization of marijuana.
• Aggressively negotiate mutually beneficial agreements with Mexico regarding such issues as funds transfers, taxation of income earned in the U.S. by guest workers, and deportation and incarceration of Mexican nationals arrested in the United States.