Immigration Reform: 4 Common-Sense Steps the GOP Needs to Follow

Contrary to the conventional wisdom offered by many media outlets, the Republican Party remains welcoming towards immigrants. We recognize the unique nature of our country — no one ethnicity or national origin predominates in America. In fact, we will soon be a majority minority country.

Limited government, economic freedom, individual responsibility, individual freedom, and equality under the law are core concepts which made America's success possible. These ideas, not a common ancestral history, are what bind us together as nation.

With this in mind, the Republican Party should focus on the following principles in any immigration reform package. These principles are common sense, non-partisan ways to ensure immigration reform maximally strengthens the country.

1. Secure the borders:

Granting citizenship or permanent residency status to large numbers of illegal immigrants without first securing the borders could spark an immigration crisis. Because large scale amnesty has already been provided in years past, another such program may encourage many more potential immigrants to skirt the legally established process with the hopes of a third future amnesty provision.

This nation must first stem the flow of illegal immigration through enhanced border surveillance techniques, expansion of a physical fence, and provision of additional border patrol. Other nations, such as Israel, successfully secure national borders. It’s time we do the same.

2. Require English proficiency prior to citizenship:

A common language helps greatly in maintaining the social fabric of a nation or a culture. Mere familiarity with the English language should not be the threshold for U.S. citizenship. Rather, prospective citizens should provide proof of functional literacy in English comprehension. Currently, exceptions to the English test are often granted if one has lived in the United States for long periods of time. In any amnesty-like program, this test should be more generally required, regardless of time already spent living in this country.

3. Provide extensive instruction in constitutional law and U.S. history:

Currently, only a minimal civics test is required of prospective citizens. In fact, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provides a list of 100 questions and answers for the civics test. The questions are quite basic. Furthermore, only 10 of these questions are asked, and only six correct answers are required to pass. If one happens to answer fewer than six questions correct, another opportunity is given.

Our Constitution is the bedrock of our country. This document guarantees our individual liberties against government infringement and specifies the limits of federal power. A document which embodies hundreds of years of struggle against government tyranny and which enshrines individual freedom should be given far more prominence than 6 correct answers on a citizenship test.

Far more extensive instruction in constitutional law and theory should be administered prior to any citizenship test. This instruction should include a background in the struggles against arbitrary state power leading back to the Magna Carta. Furthermore, the coursework should explain our system of limited federal government, separation of powers, and "negative" vs. "positive" liberties.

Prospective citizens should understand that the government’s role is to protect the rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" rather than to engage in the redistribution of wealth.

A well-educated citizenry is essential to the proper functioning of a democratic republic. Requiring just six correct answers on matters of constitutional governance is woefully inadequate to ensuring new citizens are adequately educated!

4. Provide basic macroeconomics education and an introduction to free market capitalism:

Communist Party membership can disqualify a prospective citizen from citizenship. This policy is wise. However, efforts should be made to ensure prospective citizens have a basic understanding of free markets and free enterprise prior to obtaining citizenship. Coursework can be provided to instill a working knowledge of economics.

Some level of compromise will be reached on the particulars of which "illegal" or "undocumented" immigrants obtain either citizenship or permanent residency status.

These proposals will ensure that all who join this nation as citizens will share in the appreciation of the United States as truly exceptional. In addition, these guidelines will allow the nation to more readily absorb new immigrants into our social fabric and will enable new citizens to participate fully in the marketplace of ideas within the political world.

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Joel Griffith

Joel Griffith is a licensed attorney, admitted to the California State Bar. He graduated from the Chapman University School of Law with a dual emphasis in alternative dispute resolution and tax law. At Chapman, Joel was a charter board member and Treasurer of the Investment Law Society, served on the board of the Chapman chapter of the California Republican Lawyers Association, competed on both the mock trial and mediation teams. Joel has experience in public policy research, legislative analysis, and campaign leadership. Most recently, he worked with a Republican presidential campaign as MI state field director, OH state operations director, and parliamentarian/assistant delegate strategist in WA. As a journalist, numerous outlets have featured Joel's work, including redalertpolitics.com, breitbart.com, biggovernment.com, policymic.com, and safehaven.com. In addition to law and politics, Joel continues to manage an equities portfolio, focusing primarily on the banking sector. Joel's seeks to advocate for economic freedom and individual liberty.

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