Sunday, February 6, 2011

How to fix immigration worldwide.

The following treaty should be enacted worldwide. This solution is based on 21st century technology and good Catholic teaching on the subject; and it comprehensive.

The primary objection to immigration is the unfair advantage that a group traveling from a country with low standard of living have over the native workers in a country with a high standard of living. This objection is borne in the idea that economic refugees will return to their home country to retire, not in luxury, but certainly at a much cheaper standard of living than anybody in the first world enjoys. The is a licit argument, and I attempt to address it below.

The USCCB, in their Pastoral Letter, _Strangers No Longer_ in 2003 (strange, I've been unable to find a link to it) put forth 5 values they wished to be addressed in immigration:
1. Persons have the right to find opportunities in their homeland.
34. All persons have the right to find in their own countries the economic, political, and social opportunities to live in dignity and achieve a full life through the use of their God-given gifts. In this context, work that provides a just, living wage is a basic human need.

2.Persons have the right to migrate to support themselves and their families.
35. The Church recognizes that all the goods of the earth belong to all people.15 When persons cannot find employment in their country of origin to support themselves and their families, they have a right to find work elsewhere in order to survive. Sovereign nations should provide ways to accommodate this right.

3. Sovereign nations have the right to control their borders.
36. The Church recognizes the right of sovereign nations to control their territories but rejects such control when it is exerted merely for the purpose of acquiring additional wealth. More powerful economic nations, which have the ability to protect and feed their residents, have a stronger obligation to accommodate migration flows.

4. Refugees and asylum seekers should be afforded protection.
37. Those who flee wars and persecution should be protected by the global community. This requires, at a minimum, that migrants have a right to claim refugee status without incarceration and to have their claims fully considered by a competent authority.

5. The human dignity and human rights of undocumented migrants should be respected.
38. Regardless of their legal status, migrants, like all persons, possess inherent human dignity that should be respected. Often they are subject to punitive laws and harsh treatment from enforcement officers from both receiving and transit countries. Government policies that respect the basic human rights of the undocumented are necessary.

To this, I would add a 6th and 7th values:
6. In preservation of friendship, any immigration system needs to make room for people who stay short term without working, or who travel short term for business, with a minimum of fuss.

7. In all instances, preference must be given by a government to it's citizens over non-citizens, as long as those citizens are following the law.

By adding these two- and a good dollop of modern technology, as you will see, I have a plan to simplify immigration world wide, and in most cases, make it significantly more efficient.

1. Every nation's immigration system should provide an online database of all citizens, people traveling on business, people traveling for tourism, political refugees, natural disaster refugees, and economic refugees.
2. Every nation's police force should provide an online, publicly available criminal database, of all individuals the police force comes into contact with and why- witnesses, incidents, accused charges, convictions. All of these should be tied to the same key as above, and all records should be available to all countries signing this treaty.
3. Every nation's labor department should keep a publicly available database of who is eligible to work. All citizens should be entered into this database once they have exceeded the age of local laws preventing child labor. Non-citizens can be entered into this database if they apply for and are approved for Business or Immigration class visas, as described below.
4. It is the responsibility of the labor department to require all employers to use the database of eligible employees. This can be done two ways- additional records can be added for skills verification, thus simplifying hiring. And draconian measures can be taken against businesses and business owners that hire illegally, up to and including asset confiscation and citizenship revocation.
5. Since illegal workers do NOT profit from being hired illegally, they are merely sent back to their country of origin- and may reapply for legal visas immediately upon returning.
6. Each country shall maintain an ONLINE visa application system serving the following common types of visas. A country has the right to restrict certain classes of visas as needed due to economic or social concerns. But for most of these visas, simple human dignity requires that if there is no solid reason to reject, it must be granted.
7. T-class visas; these are tourist visas. No restrictions, but these visas should be short term, less than a month, and should only be able to be renewed once. Application should be online, granting should be automatic unless querying the home country's labor or criminal database comes up with a solid, objective, reason to deny entry. Denial of entry is automatically appealed to a human system which must investigate, but may take many years to come to a decision.
8. B-class visas; short term business visas. Should be sponsored by a corporation, but should be *very* short term and for a specific project taking less than 6 months.
9. IPR visas; Political Refugee Immigrant. Should *always* be granted, as the police and labor data from home country may be fabricated. Should be indefinite stay. Revolution in home country cancels these visas unless IER is also applied for, but is specifically available for situations of political oppression.
10. IDR visas: Automatically granted on entry from any country that has recently had a natural disaster. May be revoked if natural disaster ends, unless IER is also applied for.
11. IER visas: These are the hardest to handle. Automatically granted IF a background check in labor and criminal databases is clean, requires photo. If photo is not supplied or background check fails, visa is denied. If intended country has > 3% unemployment, visa is denied. All denials are automatically appealed for human investigation. Once granted, cannot be revoked. All holders of this visa are eligible for naturalization as citizens.
12. L-class visas: Learner class. Specifically for students, REQUIRES that the student already holds an IER visa for the intended country.

This is the minimum the treaty should have. Any country not signing the treaty, is excluded entirely from the family of civilized nations- there should be no private or public transport there at all, ever, including import and export of goods.

I see no reason for a visa application under this system, including the IER, to take more than a few seconds. Visas could be printed and carried on the person, and include photo identification as well as barcode.

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Oustside The Asylum by Ted Seeber is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
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