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Independent’s Day: The Issue Behind the Immigration Issue

by Jason Howell March 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm 1,061 30 Comments

Independent’s Day is an occasional opinion column by published on Wednesdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Independent Congressional candidate Jason HowellTo our elected officials, a request: please deal with the issue behind the immigration issue. Like everything this year, immigration reform will eventually rely on available resources.

Last Saturday I attended an event in Falls Church hosted by what was called the “Virginians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform — Strategy Meeting.”

In attendance were various notables from the political and immigration reform community. There was Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada, 49th District Delegate Alfonso Lopez, and representatives from every one of Virginia’s eleven U.S. Congressional Districts. Also present were representatives from Senator Mark Warner and Senator Tim Kaine’s offices, as well as the organizer of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO), Chair Edgar Aranda-Yanoc.

Stated briefly, the goals were to:

  1. Create some consensus around the principles of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) debate.
  2. Form a strategy on creating awareness around current CIR legislation being considered and advocate for its urgency.

It was quite an afternoon. The event had no partisan intent, but politics were very much on the lips of the presenters (as a means to an end). Leni Gonzalez, from the League of United Latin American Citizens Council (LULAC), took the time to describe each Congressman’s position on immigration reform. She referenced both where each had been on the issue and where they needed some “gentle pushing.” The afternoon was a call for not just vocal but political participation on one of this year’s most provocative issues.

Not surprisingly, our neighbors had a broad and deep knowledge of the issues affecting immigrants, though not everyone was in agreement with all of the fixes being discussed. A question was asked regarding to what extent people of dissenting views were invited. The answer was muddled or mumbled, I can’t remember which, but it made clear the challenges associated with “grass roots” organizations when in their infancy. This group is just now coming together when legislation is imminent. Taken in the context of a Senate bill that may be completed by early April, the urgency for a clear consensus on the needs of stakeholders (families, businesses, first responders, etc.) is apparent but perhaps unlikely.

I happen to agree that eleven million people will not “self-deport” and should be given a mechanism for legal status; one that neither overwhelms our systems for processing them nor disenfranchises those who have endured years-long waiting periods.

But to properly begin dealing with the immigration issue, we will need to ensure that there are resources, both human and financial, that can undertake whatever decisions our politicians make. To truly “go big” we should first address the underlying resource limitations.

The US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the agency tasked with legal immigration into the United States. It does not cost taxpayers anything; its costs are funded by the ones doing the “immigrating.” As with all user-fee agencies, USCIS funds are sent to the federal government’s General Fund at the end of the year and later must be appropriated back to have its budget funded. But there is no guarantee that the funding will match the revenue that was generated or could be generated by USCIS.

If we changed the law to allow USCIS to expand, in direct relationship to the demand upon its services, we could see improved efficiency, encourage legal immigration and give hope to federal workers; hope that the pile of green card applications on their desk may one day become manageable. And all it would cost U.S. taxpayers is a little creativity — a change in how we appropriate funds to user-fee agencies.

We would then be dealing with the issue behind the issue of legal immigration.

Jason Howell, a former accountant and motivational speakerran as an independent candidate for U.S. Congress in 2012.

  • Josh S

    “Like everything this year, immigration reform will eventually rely on available resources.”

    In the very first paragraph, an example of why this guy should be allowed to stay retired from writing for ARLNow.

    The sentence makes no sense. I stopped reading at that point.

    If you need an item, I’m sure there’s a restaurant opening or closing somewhere.

    • kalashnikev


      This guy and the Republican are sub par… I smell a conspiracy!

      • speonjosh

        The problem is that they aren’t putting the time into developing cogent essays. I’m sure both are smart guys. But they’re obviously doing these things on the fly. Especially a bad idea for the independent guy who supposedly has aspirations to lead a political movement to change the status quo. You’re gonna have to be a WHOLE lot more inspiring for that to work, fella.

        • kalashnikev

          It’s working- I still don’t trust this Rousellot, but he certainly is making the most sense out of the 3.

  • Texas Aggie 1966

    The operative term is “ILLEGAL”. I don’t care how they got here, but if they got here illegally, they need to go home (wherever home is). THEN they can apply just like anyone else. We have hundreds of thousands of school buses not in use during the summer…..send them South. This may sound hard of heart, but we are a nation of laws and expect everyone to abide by them. This is not a “cherry picking” of laws we disagree with…..go by the law. Many of the illegals are of the poor and uneducated, don’t speak the language and have made no attempt to learn. No more, “have a baby” and everyone to include grand parents are now “Americans” The child would have dual citizenship and would reside in a foreign country with that illegal immigrant. Do the right thing and uphold the law.

    • Arlington Chris

      “Having a baby” does not give the parents any rights at all, until the child is 21 years old (after which there is a long multi-year waiting list). Grandparents, even longer waiting lists.

      • kalashnikev

        Chris, It’s called an “Anchor Baby.”


        • Arlington Chris

          Yep. Familiar with the term. Very familiar with the legalities.

          If you are willing to wait 25+ years, a baby is a great way of getting US citizenship.

  • kalashnikev

    There is only one path for a Criminal Alien- Pursuit, Capture, Detention, and Deportation.

  • spaghetti

    Not saying that illegals deserve an easy path to citizenship, but I think many of the things that some complain about with respect to illegals (e.g. many people living in one house, individuals not able, or willing, to learn English), could be addressed if these people weren’t forced to live in the shadows. Why learn English if they’re only able to get a job where they don’t have to speak English? Most are only able to get a job that pays very little, or less than minimum wage, and we’re surprised when 10 people are living in a single home? And then there are those who complain about “loiterers” waiting in public for someone to offer them work. If they could legally go out and apply for a job this wouldn’t be much of an issue anymore. I know, I know, they shouldn’t be here in the first place, I agree, but they are here, and presumably aren’t going anywhere… We complain that they wont assimilate, but we certainty don’t make it easy for them…

    • Texas Aggie 1966

      I believe you have missed the point. They are ILLEGAL, Period@ They should not be here for any reason; job, medical attention, food, handouts, etc. They should be forced to go home.

      • “they” are here to take care of your babies, pick crops for your food, do the dirty work that others workers won’t (just check out what happened in Alabama when the illegals fled the state), etc. Most ‘legals” are hard working people trying to make it better for their kids or families in their homeland. Why do you have to appear to be so harsh?

        • JustaWhiteMom

          If there is so much demand for cheap labor, why do we need a food stamps program, TANF, Section 8 housing, etc.
          Stop lying. This is nothing but a Democrat scheme to pack the electorate with freindly voters and overturn the will of the White founding population.
          If any other race of people were being exterminated by mass immigration of people not their race and forced integration with all those “immigrants” it would be called what it is: genocide.
          Why do you support White genocide?

          • speonjosh

            “JustaDelusionalUninformedBigotedMom” is more like it.

          • wherebdangels

            if they are illegal they can’t vote. i don’t know any white people – we are pink

          • JustaWhiteMom

            This makes absolutely no sense. The whole point of amnesty is to make them legal so they can vote. Why are you playing dumb?

            Funny you say you don’t know any White people. Just the other day, Wisconsin public schools were telling White kids to wear a White armband to remind them of their “white privilege.”

            Funny how anti-whites claim nobody is White when we try to defend ourselves, but then when they want to attack us they know exactly who is White.


        • Texas Aggie 1966

          Harsh? Change welfare and have THEM do the work and send the illegals home. You have no idea what you are talking about

      • speonjosh

        When it comes to human affairs, there are no “periods.” Laws of nature, OK. But human laws? Nah. Everything is fungible. When you get hung up on the idea of absolutes, it prevents solutions/progress.

  • TMZ1928

    How can we rationally deal with illegal immigration when everyone is lying about the number of illegal aliens present in this country. The number of 12 million was stated for at least a decade by the open borders crowd and liberal media which would have us believe that the number remained static year after year. Now they want us to believe that it is 11 million? The ramifications of allowing a huge number, which is more likely well over 30 million, to become legal, and then be allowed to bring extended family into the country, is enormous.

    • guest

      I don’t think the numbers are inconsistent with general media reports. it was widely reported that the influx of illegals slowed dramatically, and a lot actually left, when the great recession hit starting in late 2008. It’s all about economics – they come here to make more money, but if the jobs here dry up, they conclude they are better off back home. Obama of course has been taking credit for better immigration enforcement, but it would be more accurate to give him credit for keeping the economy so crappy that the illegals self-deported.

      • Old Fogey

        And you believe the statistics from the general media?

        • Arlington Chris

          As opposed to the statistics from… who?

    • speonjosh

      What are the ramifications?

  • Can’t We All Get Along

    So along with sequestration cuts you also want to plunge the country into a depression….undocumented immigrants are keeping our economy barely alive and without their labor we sink. And as boomers retire and want their Social Security, we need immigrants to keep that system floating as well. Immigrants pay social security payroll taxes even though they are not eligible for benefits. Many immigrants pay taxes to the IRS (around 6 million undocumented immigrants file individual tax returns each year), and they primarily spend the money they earn in local communities. Immigrants are also keeping our food costs, restaurant bills, and construction costs lower than they would be without them. One measure of a country’s economic outlook is the age of its population — the higher the age, the more economic stagnation. Immigrants bring the youth we need to remain vibrant and competitive and that’s the way this country has always worked.

  • novasteve

    Oh, MD is about to give licenses to illegal aliens, so if you didn’t think MD drivers were bad enough here, wait until more illegals start driving.

  • If they’re from Mexico, they can help earn automatic citizenship by working to implement the Megamerge Dissolution Solution of annexing Mexico as 10 new states, taking the corrupt Mexican govt. offline forever and extending the U.S. Constitution to their territory. See my blog:


  • Old Fogey

    Oh my! It seems everyone is missing a very important part of the question of illegal/undocumented, or whatever you want to call people who are not citizens but are living in the U.S. After you take action on/against these, then what? If you think this is going to change, think again. As long as the standard of living for our welfare recipients is higher than workers in 90% of the world, people will want to come here, regardless of whether they can get jobs or not. And that’s the truth!

  • Mother’s Vodka

    We can’t stop all bank robberies either, so why not just open the vault?

  • Mother’s Vodka

    I really do not care about their friggin “path to citizenship”, their anchor babies, and their demands that we “serve” them. They are illegal, do not belong here, and no other country just grants birthright citizenship for the taking.

  • Mother’s Vodka

    If my parents robbed a bank and stashed the loot away when I was a child for my future benefit, should I get to keep it?


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