Close to 45% of illegal immigrants are from Mexico, their share of illegal immigrants peaked in 2007 but has been declining since. Ana Gonzalez-Barrera from the Pew Research Center claims that there are 140,000 fewer Mexicans living in the U.S. in 2014 than in 2009, and that the cumulative flow from Mexico to the U.S. is now negative. She credited the decline to the U.S.’s economic recession in 2008 and the improving Mexican economy at the same time. Obviously, many illegal immigrants are economic migrants who came here to find a better job and a better life, but not all of them want to stay in the U.S. for the rest of their lives. Many would not have brought their families here if they can travel back and forth between U.S. and their home countries without worrying about being stopped at the border. History shows granting temporary work visas to economic oriented migrants is the best way to reduce the incentive and the numbers of illegal immigrants.
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When World War II created a labor shortage in the U.S., after many American men were drafted into the U.S. Armed Forces. On August 4, 1942 the U.S. and the Mexican government created a temporary program to bring Mexican agricultural labor into the U.S. The program was officially referred to as the Mexican Farm Labor Program, but most people know it as the Bracero Program (bracero in Spanish means “manual laborer”). The Bracero Program was not an immigration program, which allowed Mexicans to legally take temporary agricultural work and railroad work in the U.S. with nonimmigrant status.
The program lasted until 1964. Between 1942 and 1964, over 4.6 million Bracero labor contracts were signed. During this period, the number of illegal immigrants was reduced by 90%. It’s not difficult to see why. There were no legal obstacles for Mexican workers to obtain a work visa, which greatly reduced the incentive to cross the border illegally. There were few compliance requirements for U.S. farmers, and with a guaranteed supply of legal workers, there was limited demand for illegal workers.
Step 1. Illegal immigrants who can prove that they are currently employed and have no criminal record should be granted temporary work visas after they pay a fine. A work visa will allow the visa holder to work legally in the U.S., paying income taxes and traveling in and out of the U.S. with no constraints. The visa holders will be considered non-resident aliens and therefore will not have access to federal means-tested welfare benefits. The work visa would be good for at least three years and can be renewed as long as the applicant is employed.
Step 2. If illegal immigrants brought their families with them, they must pay a fine for their familie. Their immediate family members, excluding children who were born here, will get temporary visitor visas. The length of their visa should be the same as the working visa, and they can renew their visas as long as their primary family member’s work visa is legitimate and will also not have access to federal aids.. If any these illegal immigrants want to become legal permanent residents, they will have to go through the same application process as other legal immigrants did.
Step 3. Any illegal immigrant who has a criminal record will be deported immediately and will not be eligible to apply for any U.S. visa for five years.
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