Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Steve Forbes on Immigration

While I don't always agree with Steve Forbes on political issues where, but for his flat tax proposal, I believe he is totally outside the locus of his intellectual prowess, and that he is blithely regurtigating the right-wing neo-con rants of the Republican Party. When he focusses on business, and bussiness issues, Steve Forbes is in his m├ętier, and it shows.

In his Fact & Comment column in the April 24, 2006 issue of his eponymous magazine, FORBES, Steve is at the top of his game, displaying his acute and intimate business knowledge as he brilliantly dissects immigration issues in this article labeled Sensible, Effective Immigration Answers.

From the column, highlighted by yours truly for emphasis:

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To pretend that we don't need most of these folks to work in agriculture, construction and various service jobs, such as nannying the kids of working couples, is preposterous....

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The Senate Judiciary Committee has passed a reform bill. Under this proposal, illegals, in order to gain legal status, would have to register with the government, pay a fine, pay off any back taxes owed and, if they wanted to stay, learn English. This way they could earn permanent residency and perhaps, ultimately, citizenship. The whole process would take 11 years....

One critical problem is that the normal immigration channels are dysfunctional. Folks who try to play by the rules too often end up in a protracted bureaucratic nightmare with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Therefore, the Senate approach must be coupled with a genuine overhaul of the USCIS, including a streamlined visa process. Currently a USCIS office in one part of the country will treat a case very differently from the way an office in another part of the country would. Horror stories of people's files being lost abound. That these things happen in high-tech America is preposterous and intolerable.

Our visa program for visitors could also use an electronic prod, since applications can take months to process. This is especially damaging to our efforts to attract high-caliber foreign students. In fact, foreign-born students in high-tech disciplines should have green cards embossed on their diplomas: If--when they graduate--they have a job offer, they should automatically get to stay.

Removing caps on the H-1B program that permits crucial scientists and engineers to come here for six years is imperative. The quota is now set at a ridiculously low 65,000. Let market forces dictate the number. At a time of rising pressure from India, China and central and eastern Europe, we can use all the bright, ambitious talent we can attract.

Instituting a guest worker program--in which people would come for specific jobs for a specific period of time and then go home--would help enormously in alleviating a future influx of illegals. The Senate panel's version of such a program would allow some 400,000 foreigners to come here each year to work. Realistically, after several years--and assuming they have a clear record--these workers should be able to apply for a green card.

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Very insightful, isn't it?

I disagree totally and explicitly with in on the 11-year processing period to citizenship. However he in on point on the others.

Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

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