In 1883, the early feminist poet Emma Lazarus wrote what would eventually come to be considered as the greatest American sonnet of all time: The New Colossus. Its most recited and awe-inspiring line, “Give me your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore; send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” beautifully describes the very quintessence of the American spirit: an unquenchable thirst for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, especially as far as immigrants fleeing totalitarian or impoverished states are concerned.
The passion which Lazarus infused into her writings was undoubtedly inspired by her Sephardic Jewish ancestry. Very few can aptly understand the proud, tragic, and noble plight of this ethnoreligious group; as a member of it myself, I can say that all of us fortunate enough to be Americans were essentially afforded this great privilege through the blood of our ancestors. Nary a single Sephardic Jew living today can claim to not have a relative who, at some point in time, was socially ostracized, robbed, or killed as a result of his or her religious beliefs. For instance, my paternal family, namely the Cottos, who originated in Italy, and the Abramils, who resided in Spain, were forcibly evicted from the Mediterranean and made to experience the New World at gun- or, possibly, knifepoint during the Inquisition era. Knowing this, it is impossible for me not to feel a deep sympathy for all freedom-loving individuals wishing to come to the globe’s enduring beacon of hope in order to realize their respective full potentials.
However, my sympathy only extends so far. Should one wish to become an American resident or citizen, then it is imperative that said person go about doing this in the correct manner: by enduring a lengthy process which is designed to assure that all immigrants entering the United States are doing so for positive reasons and that these people do not pose any threat to our national security. Unlike those who strive daily to respond to Lazarus’s call in a just and decent fashion, illegal aliens completely disregard the very laws of the country which they wish to inhabit and, for some reason which I find to be inconceivable, often expect its residents to adapt to their cultural norms, most often in the form of speaking only the predominant language of their native nations to them. Making matters worse — far, far worse — the illegals are almost always relegated to employment opportunities which require minimal skill and, of course, pay paltry salaries. During an economic downturn the likes of which is being experienced now, this creates an extraordinary problem as millions of Americans are losing their long-held jobs to such an incredibly cheap source of labor.
Operating within the parameters of an underground economy, illegal aliens are not subject to worker’s rights or minimum wage laws, thus allowing their controllers to ruthlessly exploit them. These modern-day “robber barons,” as an uncle of mine would call them, are gleefully pushing America towards the bottomless pit of third-world nationhood. It is they, not the illegals themselves, who are truly to blame for so many of our country’s troubles with chronic unemployment.
In order to realistically solve the lion’s share of our illegal immigration crisis, the incentive for people to enter the United States unlawfully must be thoroughly disestablished. This can be done creatively, in a way which would provide compensation for both the government and exploited workers. I believe that a fine should be imposed on businesses hiring illegals in the amount of $10,000 per alien arrested. Half of this would go to the alien in question, as a means of providing some form of a golden parachute during deportation, and the other to Uncle Sam. Should certain businesses choose to become repeat offenders, then their assets would be seized and eventually auctioned off by the government, though not before experiencing a 100 percent increase on the fines originally levied against them. Also, the persons who knowingly hired illegals would face a $250 to $750,000 penalty for their actions in addition to imprisonment for a term of 12 to 24 months.
Aside from adequately administering justice to both the illegal aliens and the criminals masquerading as businessmen who enable them, this policy would serve as a highly effective vessel through which the government could gain revenue while refraining from increasing taxes. Being reasonably easy to implement on a state or federal level, it would be a win-win for all who follow the law, acknowledge individual rights, and respect true free enterprise. A program like this is undoubtedly closer to obtaining “foolproof” status than any other in American political history. When all is said and done, there is no reason why we as a nation cannot make it work, and work fantastically.