By: Elaine Laux – President of UD College Republicans
First and foremost, the College Republicans believe that we need to secure our border. In 2012, border patrol agents on the Southwest border seized more than 5,900 pounds of cocaine, more than 2.2 million pounds of marijuana and they made over 364,000 arrests of people illegally entering the country. Because of these shockingly high numbers, we need an aggressive task force to go after human-traffickers and drug smugglers currently crossing into the United States, and we need to create a policy of mandatory sentencing for those people. We also need to continue increasing border patrol personnel to meet the current demands with the increasing numbers of immigrants crossing the border. There are currently 20,000 agents, and we would like to see this number increase within the next few years. After securing our border, we believe that the next task is to take care of the illegal immigrants that are already in our country. We would like to see a new program established that would allow workers who currently hold jobs to come out of the shadows and to participate legally in America’s economy.
It would allow men and women who enter the program to apply for citizenship in the same manner as those who apply from outside the United States. We oppose amnesty because it would have the effect of encouraging illegal immigration and would give an unfairadvantage to those who have broken our laws.
This program would not be an easy path to citizenship for individuals who are currently here illegally and have broken the immigration laws. The path for these individuals will include things such as passing an extensive background check, learning English and paying back taxes. It is also necessary to improve employment verification and workplace enforcement programs to ensure that legal residents of the United States are the ones being hired and that taxes are being rightfully paid.
There must be tough penalties against employees and employers who have violated immigration laws. We believe that family and skillset should be prioritized when granting citizenship to those who go through the proper legal channels to enter the country. Priority should be given to children and spouses of immigrants that are already legally in the country, and illegal immigrants who are currently working, or display a willingness to serve the United States in the armed forces, will be given priority when it comes to granting residency.
However, we want to make sure that illegal aliens are not given any priority over those who are currently trying to immigrate to the United States legally. Through these processes, we believe that the current immigration system would be successfully revised and much more thorough.
Both Republicans and Democrats are firm believers that any American who works full time, year round, should be able to support a family above the poverty line. However, we disagree on the policy to achieve this goal.
The Democrats are here to tell you that if we just raise the minimum wage, the majority of middle class families will have stronger purchasing power and those living below the poverty line will be lifted into the middle class. This sounds great, if only the facts would support it.
With a raised minimum wage, the poor would hurt even more than they currently do. They would not benefit for several reasons. First, business would begin to terminate employees and slow down their hiring rate because they could not afford to employ the same amount of people. Second, businesses would begin to increase the prices of goods in order to cover the higher cost of labor. With raised prices, the companies would begin to see a decrease in the number of consumers, and the raised minimum wage would have an adverse effect on their profit. Third, a Progressive Policy Institute study found that 85 percent of those who stood to benefit from an increase in minimum wage were not poor; half were second and third earners in families. Minimum wage jobs were created for your average teenager in high school, not as careers for adults.
Instead of raising the minimum wage, we suggest a different more effective approach – expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC policy was created under President Ford, expanded by President Reagan and championed by President Bill Clinton. It has bipartisan support, and would not create the adverse effect on companies like a raised minimum wage would. The EITC essentially returns tax dollars to citizens who make under a certain amount of money each year. It has proven to be very effective, as more than four million Americans moved out of poverty and into the middle class during Clinton’s presidency. The decision to expand the EITC program instead of raising the minimum wage would be a smart move for all Americans.