Suggestions for intelligent immigration policy
It is likely that the US Congress will consider immigration reform in the next year. As someone who has familiarity with the immigration policy of America, I would like to make some suggestions.
There is a frequent argument that illegal immigration endangers national security. That is certainly true; but the problem is not limited to illegal immigration. Among immigrants from Eastern Europe, the mafia types find it easy to get into the country because they have connections; whereas it remains difficult for a law abiding citizens from these countries to immigrate to America. This problem urgently needs to be fixed. It is ridiculous that the organized crime can come into the country more easily than can legitimate citizens, and this aspect of the immigration system absolutely must be reformed and monitored for national security considerations.
Another argument is that America's immigration system should prioritize countries whose cultures respect America over those whose cultures do not. This argument is plausible on the first sight but falls apart under scrutiny. If a person from France wants to come to America, it's because he prefers the way things are in America over what they are in France. And if he has such an attitude enough to act on it even though the rest of the country dislikes Americans, that shows loyalty to America that is in many respects beyond what would be found in someone from Poland or Nigeria, where most people hold America in high esteem and one does not need to fight the culture around him in order to hold pro-American values.
It is important to keep away terrorists and organized crime, and immigration system should go to sufficient lengths to investigate would-be immigrants for associations with such entities. That does not mean that the system should keep away people from Iran or Colombia who are fleeing persecution or drug cartels or prefer America over their home countries. The first group would be a danger to America; the second group would make its most loyal patriots. It is important to apply brain-intensive analysis to figure out who would be what and to exclude the first while welcoming the second. A person from Afghanistan who is part of the Taliban movement would be a major danger to America. A person from Afghanistan who is fleeing the Taliban movement would be a strong patriot.
The most discussed aspect of America's immigration policy is of course illegal immigration from Mexico. The Mexican illegal immigrants were, if not welcome, then at least tolerated, in 1990s because the economy was booming, and they took the jobs that no American citizen would take. Now that the economy is in a crisis, there are many American citizens who would take the jobs that were taken by Mexicans, and they are less welcome. It is no surprise that many people now want them out of the country, and it is likely that the government will act on that. Any action on this matter should look toward the future and exclude brutal and short-sighted practices, so that when America's economy improves and there is again a need for guest workers, the people from Mexico would be willing to come to the country again and not stay away as have Indian businesspeople from Uganda after they had been kicked out by Idi Amin.
So that while immigration reform is clearly needed, it is also important that it be a reform done intelligently. It is wrong to keep away people who would be loyal citizens because they come from a country that does not like America. These are the people who would make the most loyal Americans, as they have done what they have done when the rest of the country was against it. Meanwhile it is important to apply oversight to make sure that groups such as the Russian mafia, Colombia drug cartels, and Taliban do not get inside America. Keep away the terrorists and the crooks, welcome loyal citizens. And create a system designed intelligently to accomplish just that.