How to solve the Immigration issue

During this campaign season, we’ve heard immigration rhetoric come from both sides of the aisle. The most extreme of the rhetoric has come from the Right. The Republican’s solutions were already troubling but it only seemed to get more troubling with the entrance of Donald Trump into the race last June. Our immigration issue can’t be solved by building a Great Wall of America or throwing billions more at border patrol. However, we could solve our immigration problem through these three solutions:

Protester in front of the US Supreme Court in November 2015, the anniversary of President Obama’s executive order on immigration, courtesy of Newsweek
  1. Lower the costs of immigration. The main reason there are so many undocumented immigrants is because the process is simply too expensive. A form for immigrating permanently, an I-485 form, costs $985 along with an employment authorization paper which costs $380, and a fingerprint and biometric fee which costs $85. This alone costs nearly $1,500 and on top of that the cost of moving from one country to another is extremely expensive. And these fees are why so many families simply can’t afford to come here legally. So they resort to being smuggled across the border for a one-time fee and some of their possessions. This results in Border patrol agents wasting resources on detaining and deporting immigrant families, who simply want a better life in America, to achieve the American dream.
  2. Streamline the application process. The current legal immigration process is horrendously slow and terribly inefficient. In an NPR article a woman, who identified herself as Maria, said she had been waiting to enter the United States since 1997 and is here illegally in the United States. That is, to be frank, insane. This is a result of family and employment quotas, over half a million backed up deportation cases, and other bureaucratic red tape. In addition, there are various waiting lines in which others are prioritized over another. This is yet another reason why many choose to enter the country illegally. Which of course results in people choosing to enter illegally, to shortcut the lengthy and tedious entry process, and takes more resources away from combating actual criminals. But if we increased funding to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and streamlined the application process we would have far less undocumented immigrants.
  3. Legalize Marijuana. Drug trafficking is a problem on the Southern border no doubt. However, the solution isn’t more security and a big wall. The solution is to legalize Marijuana here in the United States. In doing so we would eliminate a significant portion of the drug trafficking on the Mexican-American border. This would allow for Border patrol to focus on more serious drug traffickers and other criminals. It’d also end the mass incarceration of people for smoking or selling Marijuana here in America. Plus by putting a “Recreational drug tax” on weed we’d raise tax revenue from that. In addition from the new businesses that would spring up from legalizing weed that would result in more tax revenue via business taxes. We stand only to gain from legalizing Marijuana.

If we put these measures into law we’d eliminate illegal immigration as an issue. We would bring thousands out of the shadows and allow for them to live in a freer environment here in America, instead of having them under constant fear of deportation. In addition by legalizing weed drug trafficking on the border would go down while the business and tax revenue would from it would be a boost for the American economy. And by putting President Obama’s 2014 Immigration Accountability Executive Action into actual law we would have a clean slate from which to start from. If these reforms were pushed through America would only stand to gain — economically and socially.