Creating a corps based federal work program to legalize undocumented immigrants
Aniel, Krista Legaspi
Thesis (M.A.L.S.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references. For decades, immigration control policy has sought the legalization of undocumented immigrants. Although the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA, P.L. 99-603) achieved limited success in legalizing three million undocumented immigrants, the potential of the program was never fully tapped. The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA, S.2611) passed by the Senate in 2006, was to provide amnesty to approximately ten million undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States. However, the bill failed to pass the conference committee and died at the end of the 109th Congress. Considerable opposition still exists among immigration restrictionists and social conservatives to the idea of amnesty for undocumented workers. Given the divided public opinion, practical solutions for legalizing undocumented immigrants have yet to be implemented.; By applying the Depression Era's Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) model to a federal work program for undocumented immigrants, the government does not need to "reinvent the wheel" in solving matters of illegal immigration. A corps based legalization program can be used to put undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States on a tough, but fair pathway towards citizenship. Under the corps model, undocumented immigrants may earn the rights to citizenship by investing in their communities through public work programs, green job acts, and by relieving disaster stricken communities.; This corps based legalization program would put in place the necessary oversight for creating an employment verification system, maintaining fair wages, issuing lawful work permits, and in terminating the job magnet or "under-the-table" work for undocumented immigrants. As a temporary agency, this legalization program seeks to prevent future waves of illegal immigration to the United States. Moreover, this corps based legalization program would promote development, protect the nation's land and resources, and sustain the welfare system by generating taxable incomes and health care benefits for the undocumented. Under the corps model's education policy, illegal immigrants may also receive significant educational opportunities such as vocational training, English language instruction, and citizenship classes.; The creation of a corps based federal work program to legalize undocumented immigrants has the potential to achieve comprehensive immigration reform while stimulating the economy, protecting the environment, and boosting national security. This thesis will present the corps model as a win-win policy in achieving comprehensive immigration reform.
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