By Hollis Wormsby Jr.
As we sit at one of the most divided moments in our nation’s history, one of the frustrating parts of the problems we are encountering is that nobody is really talking to people who don’t think like they do. I am a bit of an internet junky, most days I read every available story on Yahoo, CNN.com, in addition to other stories I might run into.
With our federal government partially shut down, and hundreds of thousands of federal employees, including myself, either working without pay or furloughed without pay over the issue of illegal immigration it is sad, that there is no apparent discussion of meaningful solutions.
While I would not disagree with the need for better border barriers and enforcement, I think a more effective place to begin would be with reviewing our laws on illegal immigration and devising a system to more effectively enforce e-verify requirements on employers, which implies without creating laws, potential significant sentences for employers who employ workers who don’t have legal documentation to work in this country. Even without increasing border security, if those who enter our country illegally in search of a better life learn that no one would employ them, this will drastically reduce those individuals.
Congress also has to come together in a bipartisan manner to pass immigration laws that would deter people from breaking them. Recently there was a story of a group of almost 400 illegal immigrants, including a large number of women and unaccompanied children, who entered the country by tunneling under an existing border wall.
Congress should create a worker visa program for immigrants that should also include a path to citizenship over time.
We will also need policies in place to move our existing citizens that have become dependent on federal assistance programs from dependence to filling labor roles in areas that have hired illegal labor because no one else was available to do those jobs. In these situations we would need to look at providing people with some of the subsidy as transitional support to becoming self-sufficient through labor.
These are the kinds of discussions we need our leadership to have and sadly, these are not the kind of ideas or discussions that I see taking place. I think this needs to change. Or at least that’s the way I see it.
(Hollis Wormsby has served as a featured columnist for the Birmingham Times for more than 29 years. He is the former host of Talkback on 98.7 KISS FM and of Real Talk on WAGG AM. If you would like to comment on this column you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org )