The DeFranco Plan to provide 20 steps to a Total Makeover of Our Democracy continues —
The U.S. government fails to honor our rich history as a nation of immigrants by not ensuring the security of our borders, and the sovereignty of our laws. We must do all three if we are to truly fix and reform our immigration system. Here is what real reform would look like:
- Create a Path to Legalization, Not Citizenship
- Repeal the three and ten-year Bars to Re-Entry. Replace it with a two-four-Year Bar
- Create an Essential Worker Visa similar to the current seasonal worker visa
Marisa has always insisted that the path to citizenship be a path to legalization. Because undocumented immigrants did break a law by crossing the border without inspection or by overstaying their visas, a corollary penalty must be a part of any legalization plan.
The DeFranco plan calls for earned legalization but takes citizenship off the table for undocumented immigrants who choose not to go back to their home countries for processing. In exchange for America’s forgiveness of the transgression and the opportunity to earn the tremendous benefit of a green card, undocumented immigrants will have to forego a direct path to citizenship.
A path to legalization will include the requirement that applicants go to the end of the line behind all current applicants for a green card, pay a penalty fee, pay any back taxes, and pass an English test. This process could take 15 years — during this period, applicants will be allowed to stay in the U.S. in a temporary legal status.
Under the DeFranco Plan, undocumented immigrants are not barred from citizenship; they have options:
Option 1. The U.S. Government allows them to stay here and obtain legal status. They get the benefit of legalization without going back to their home country, but for this incredible benefit, they must give up something and have a correlating penalty for their violation of the immigration law — they cannot become citizens if they choose this path.
Option 2: They return to their home countries and comply with a two to four-year bar, and proceed through the green card process from there. With this option, they will be eligible to apply for citizenship.
Repeal the 10-year bar and replace it with a two to four-year bar. Right now, if someone has been undocumented for more than one year in the U.S. and they leave, they trigger the 10-year bar: they cannot come back to the U.S. for 10 years. Congress passed this 10-year bar thinking the harsh penalty would stop people from overstaying their visas and stop illegal border crossings. This joke of a bill is not a laughing matter for our country. As is so often the case with a Congress that has no idea how things work in the real world, the law had the opposite effect: it caused people to stay in the U.S. because they knew if they left, they would essentially never be able to come back.
Create a Real Essential Worker Visa: Once we address the current undocumented population, we must make sure we are not facing the same problem 20 years from now. We Create a Real Essential Worker Visa (CREW) similar to current seasonal worker visa.
CREW visa requirements will be:
- Employers must advertise for U.S. workers and prove they cannot find such workers.
- Employers must pay prevailing average wages.
- Criminal prosecution and high penalties for any employer who violates the law.
- The key distinction between a Real Essential Worker and a Current Seasonal Worker would be that the employer could sponsor the Essential worker for a green card while the essential worker is working in the U.S.
Marisa said: “If only Congress had the courage to take on special interests, we could replace the current immigration system with a Real Plan, the DeFranco Plan, a mix of forgiveness, and penalties. Why hasn’t John Tierney done something about immigration? In 17 years, he has passed only one bill. Let’s vote him out and create ablueprint for a workable system that treats both American workers and immigrants fairly.”