A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP FOR
Illegal/undocumented immigrants living in California!
As an immigrant myself whose family escaped from Prague in Czechoslovakia during the Warsaw Pact invasion on Aug 21st 1968, I can sympathize with any immigrant who leaves their country in the hope of making a better life for themselves.
It was by luck we landed on the shores of the United States on December 7th, 1970 and later in life while serving in the US Army as a Ranger & Paratrooper I witnessed many people who were not as fortunate. It was then the words DE OPPRESSO LIBER” took on a real meaning for me, it is the phrase in Latin for “[to free from oppression]” or “[to liberate the oppressed]” they were not just words to be said, behind the words were always real human beings.
“BUT WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE THAT WE SO ELOQUENTLY REFER TO AS ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS IN CALIFORNIA?”
Well they are human beings from all walks of life. We call them illegal aliens, undocumented individuals, illegal immigrants – these phrases tend to dehumanize a little the fact we are talking about women, children, and men.
But we are not talking about the common individual - we are in fact talking about people who left everything behind, all of their belongings, their friends, perhaps other family members, in some cases oppression or economic destitute, not because they wanted to, but because they had to, they had no choice, they were desperate and lost ALL HOPE in the place they live. Typically they left wearing only their shoes, clothing, and perhaps a backpack with some food and water and some, not so fortunate, perish along the way!
It takes a tremendous amount of COURAGE to leave everything you know behind and enter the unknown into a new life and not really knowing how or where one will end up. Anyone who has not experienced leaving their country of origin under these dire circumstances should be humbled by this.
California has the largest number of illegal immigrants in the United States, with an estimated 2.4 million unauthorized immigrants making up about 6.3 percent of the state's total population, according to the Pew Research Center. Sep 14, 2015
This is believed to be almost a quarter of all unauthorized immigrants living in the United States. Mostly, this population is from Latin American (estimated at 79%) with a declining majority from Mexico (52%). About a tenth of the state's workforce is composed of unlawful immigrants and about 13% of California K-12 school children have an unlawful immigrant parent. To find out more how skilled immigrants have powered California to the 6th - largest economy in the world and how California would benefit from commonsense immigration reform go to FWD.US.
As governor of California I will propose a “Path to Citizenship” to those 2.4 million illegal immigrants residing in California. A path that will not be simple, a path not without cost or sweat to those who apply, a path not to be confused with Amnesty, a path not offered to those with existing felonies, the latter group will not qualify.
The bumper sticker that says “Freedom is Not Free” has a far truer meaning so often realized by veterans serving in combat zones. Immigrants have known this as well. It is not to imply that all need to serve we just need to realize that there is a cost to our freedom. A subtle fact not known by Americans is that in 1940 some 11,600,000 foreign-born persons resided in the United States, or approximately one person in every 11 at that time. The contribution of these immigrants to the armed forces of the United States was a significant one. There were over 300,000 foreign-born who enlisted or were inducted into the United States Army between July 1, 1940, and June 30, 1945 and of those 109,000 were illegal immigrants.
The following would be the framework for the guidelines of the “Path to Citizenship” that I propose for those immigrants residing illegally in California.
VOLUNTARY REGISTRATION by all undocumented individuals residing in California at specified National Guard Centers:
The first step is to document individuals so that they have a valid form of identification such as a CA drivers license and a Social Security Card and that they can legally pay state and federal taxes, contribute to the Social Security System and have health insurance, but also that employers can legally employ them. In other words undocumented individuals become documented.
Here is a guideline I propose:
- VOLUNTARY REGISTRATION during a specific 6-month time frame window – all individuals wishing to participate in an opportunity for a Path to Citizenship will need to voluntarily register during this specific time frame (Those with felony records will not qualify).
- Undocumented individuals residing in California will need to bring with them two proofs of identity recently stamped by the consulate of their country of origin. One proof of identity must have a current photo ID.
- Proof of residence of one year or more in California (Soldiers from California who are illegal immigrants with a residence of 6-months in California currently serving in uniform for 6-months or longer will qualify)
- Once VOLUNTARY REGISTERED the individual would be safe from any deportation
- At the voluntary registration individuals would be photographed for their Identity Card with the California DMV which would be mailed to them. Once the individuals receive their Identity Card from the DMV they would need to go to the CA DMV for a driver’s test to receive an official CA driver’s license. (All previous CA Drivers License records would be merged and old licenses punched.)
- Information would also be sent to the Social Security Administration for a valid SSN number which would also be mailed to the individuals once assigned a new SSN (All fake SSN’s would need to be scrapped by the individual – valid records would be merged).
- All of the registration information would be sent to Immigration Authorities for a Green Card.
- Cost at the time of VOLUNTARY REGISTRATION is $150 to cover administrative costs. The CA DMV costs would be separate and standard to what they are. Immigration Costs would also be separate and determined by the Immigration Authorities.
Those individuals who voluntarily registered and are between 18 to 38 years of age would receive a future time slot to attend a California Army National Guard 12-week Boot Camp similar to any other US Soldier in attendance. These individuals would then have a 3-year commitment in the California Army National Guard (CAANG) with a regular drill commitment of one weekend per month.
The Second Step: Individuals would still have to comply with Immigration Law and would need to apply for a Green Card through one of the following methods:
- Multiple methods through an employer – an employer can sponsor an employee who is a document individual, or
- Sponsorship in California by a US Citizen, that is a family member, or
- Sponsorship in California by a US Citizen who will be responsible for the documented individual
As governor I would petition the Immigration Authorities for the individuals volunteering for CAANG to start their clock ticking towards the five year period for US citizenship.
Those children between ages of 16-17 years of age that are illegal immigrants would attend the same CAANG boot Camp once they are 18 years of age and graduate from High School. Children 15 years of age or younger would qualify under their Family plan for the Path to Citizenship.
Those individuals that voluntarily registered and are 39 years of age or older will need to find a US Sponsor such as a US Company or individual that will vouch for the immigrant and also be financially responsible for their Immigration fee. Many illegal immigrants have been in California for years and may own businesses for instance so they can pay their own immigration fee, however, they must still have a US entity or citizen vouch for the immigrant.
Those individuals between 39 to 45 years of age may volunteer for the CAANG Boot Camp for their path to citizenship provided they are physically able to attend.
Those Illegal Immigrants presenting false documentation or attempting to circumvent the spirit of the program will be disqualified from the Path to Citizenship.
I am sure the idea I presented above for a path to citizenship for those illegal immigrants residing in California will be criticized by many people and organizations but we cannot have approximately 2.4 million people in California in some perpetual limbo status forever, it would quite frankly be absurd to do so.
I believe in the spirit of the human being, their hopes and faith, and especially majority of those illegal immigrants residing in California to do the right thing. The plan is a guideline which I am sure will change somewhat, but if I become Governor of California I will propose it and push it to its implementation.
NOTE: I do support strong border protection as we cannot have another influx of 2.4 million illegal immigrants entering California just a decade from now after we provide a path to citizenship our currently residing illegal immigrants.