At a Time When Millions of Americans are Out of Work, Perry Proposes New Work Visas for Aliens

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

November 8, 2011

Governor Rick Perry, a presidential candidate with unwavering support for Texas’ version of the DREAM Act just proposed that the federal government should extend work visas that would allow illegal immigrants to move freely between the U.S. and their home countries. Then, in his next breath, Perry insisted that he opposes amnesty or any path to citizenship. [Perry Endorses Work Visas for Illegal Immigrants, Associated Press, November 3, 2011]

In an interview with CNN’s John King, Perry said that it isn’t "realistic" to expect U.S. authorities to arrest and deport "15 million" (his number) illegal immigrants.

Said Perry:

"You can put a program into place in which these individuals can be identified and work visas in which they can move back and forth between their countries but not become United States citizens." Read the interview here.

Perry’s technically right—up to a point. The federal government could "put a program into place" but heaven knows how long it would take. Right now, the government is unable to successfully oversee virtually any immigration-related laws. Why would Perry think the nonspecific one he proposes would be any different?

And at any rate, no prominent voice either has or is proposing to "arrest and deport" illegal immigrants. Instead, those who favor a sensible immigration policy urge passing mandatory E-Verify as well as eliminating the magnets that encourage aliens to come to the United States, namely Perry’s beloved DREAM Act, driver’s licenses, acceptance of the matricula consular card and birth right citizenship.

More important, with U.S. unemployment steadily stuck above 9 percent and with 22 million Americans unable to find full time jobs, what is Perry thinking about?

Perry insisted that, as president, he could end illegal immigration in just a year using the existing fence, more border patrol agents and air surveillance.

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