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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Election Day

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We Are a Nation of Immigrants

Not all Americans have achieved the American Dream, but it is our message to the world that everyone should be allowed the opportunity to reach for excellence. The Statue of Liberty stands on a poem that once dictated America’s immigration policy, and should once more. On her pedestal it reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” [1]

The Cunningham Administration truly believes that America should embrace immigrants once more. Cunningham will reform immigration policies and laws to bring stability, security, and address naturalized citizenship. We are a people who celebrate freedom and offer a haven from oppression to many refugees. The current immigration policies do not reflect the foundation America was built on, and have been clouded by prejudice and hatred. However, the Cunningham Administration has a practical plan for immigration that will satisfy all schools of thought.

Strong Border Security

The United States must maintain a healthy border presence on the Northern, Southern, and Coastal borders. Given the nature of security threats we encounter daily, a secure border is a common sense approach to limiting criminals from entering America. The Cunningham Administration understands the importance of border security, but not with an antiquated $200 billion wall the current administration wants to build. To achieve border security, Cunningham will install high-tech measures for surveillance and protection. Reasonable, timely, and secure vetting is possible, for both the safety of the American people and the safety of those who could fall victim to human trafficking through our borders.

The Cunningham Administration will also implement solar-powered non-lethal drones concentrated on shifting border entry points, and support this measure with full surveillance coverage as part of a robust immigration reform package similar to that introduced to our military battlefield. Internally, we will refine immigration with the modernization of programs, including retina tagging (to track recurring offenders) coupled with database vetting systems.

Illegal Immigrant Detainment

Local law enforcement reserves the right to detain anyone who proves to be a danger to the community. If there are immigrants who prove to be a threat to the community, judges in that municipality or jurisdiction can decide if local law enforcement should transfer the case to Federal authorities. If the immigrant is the sole guardian of a child or minor, local law enforcement must care for the entire family in a setting that is fitting. This setting is not to include bordered camps or internment camps. All matters regarding immigration detainment will ultimately be a state issue.

Deporting Criminals

Upon completion of their sentencing, immigrants convicted of egregious or violent crimes will be deported to their country of origin. A court will treat severe misdemeanors on a case by case basis, and local judges can decide if they pose a continuous risk of reoffending. From there, judges can choose to involve federal law enforcement or keep it at the state level.

A Moratorium on Immigration Bans

Implementing any temporary immigration ban is incredibly detrimental to American business and society. The United States already has a deficit of high-tech job seekers and skilled immigrant laborers are needed to fill those roles. The effects of denying people with high-tech backgrounds the right to move to the U.S. could be so adverse that the technology industry could potentially have a crisis of workforce. Additionally, American culture would suffer immensely. This nation’s success is built upon the backs of immigrants who have worked hard, flourished, and integrated into American society — bringing their own culture with them, and adding it to America’s “melting pot.” Finally, if the United States bans immigration from foreign countries, this will impact local economies and the GNP overall. Cunningham finds immigration bans to be counterproductive to the development of America’s economy, culture and technological progression.

An immigration ban hurts the economy, depletes the workforce and undermines the cultural diversity of the country. A faith-based immigration ban (like the one in place now against certain Muslim countries) is not only detrimental in the aforementioned ways, it is unethical and creates international conflict. A Muslim ban is so highly controversial and immoral because faith-based exclusions from the country are categorically unconstitutional and unjust. While some people may feel they understand the reasoning behind the ban and might initially support it, what those people fail to realize is that a ban on Muslims is ultimately detrimental to the dignity of any group of people and the wellbeing of America. Not only that, singling out a race or religion makes the U.S. more enemies in the Islamic world.

Cunningham will lift all faith-based or culture-based bans on immigration when he is elected. That being said, the Cunningham Administration will continue its commitment to protect Americans from people who wish to do harm by strenuously vetting and qualifying everyone that wants to enter the United States. This way, extremists who claim to be Muslims will not enter the United States. We will not single out anyone based on race or creed; vetting will be rigorous for all immigrants.

Social Services: Assisting Immigrants in Acclimation

The current administration’s perspective on illegal immigrants is that they use a disproportionate amount of public aid and services; even more than American citizens or resident aliens who are here lawfully. These services include welfare, food stamps, free health care and public schools. Not only is this categorically false, the majority of immigrants successfully integrate into and contribute to society at large, and are not the proverbial leeches the current administration so proclaims. Because of this, and the fact that a successful and thriving population is good for the country overall, immigrants should be afforded basic health care, education, and assimilation assistance in their transition to becoming U.S. citizens.

First, providing health care to immigrants should not be a question of cost, as it should be a question of ethics and morality. Universal health care should be human right. Governments should provide health care to anyone who needs a doctor for necessary check-ups, or who is in dire need of emergency medical services. All citizens and non-citizens alike deserve the right to life. Anyone within the borders of a nation, border, or territory has this right. The Cunningham Administration will build a consensus on this matter with our global partners and push for a United Nations binding resolution, where all nations will honor this agreement.

Second, the Cunningham Administration will approve federal student loans and financing programs constructed for the explicit use of helping newly naturalized immigrants. Undocumented immigrants will be able to apply for student status, much like international students, to compete for grants, loans, and tuition in exchange for work and services. We will also authorize a unique program in which enlistment options will be available to undocumented immigrants as we pass Bill HR 435, where one can achieve naturalized citizenship through military service.

Third, an online education program will be created and provided to newly integrated immigrants so that they are able to learn the history and customs of the United States. In addition to preparing them for their citizenship tests, this program will also assist immigrants in utilizing essential civil services, court systems, and government services. Cunningham believes educational seminars will be a better approach than webinars and live meetups. The new immigrants will have an opportunity to succeed in this program, with short written and oral exams. If one lacks the intellectual capacity to pass this exam, waivers will be available. Children under 18 and adults over the age of 60 will be exempt from this process.

Finally, immigrants must be afforded the means to learn English in the privacy of their own homes at no cost; this will benefit not just the individual, but society as a whole. The Cunningham Administration will provide online platforms to teach immigrants English, utilizing their native tongue as the medium. When immigrants come to this country, most are not wealthy and cannot afford schooling. The Cunningham Administration will provide ample learning tools to the new immigrant in order to combat this disadvantage.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

The current president said he has “heard” varying numbers on the DACA population —from 650,000 to 3 million. In fact, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said there were 689,800 active DACA recipients as of Sept. 4, 2017. The Facts: [6]

  • 800,000 — Total number of people approved for DACA since it launched in 2012. Technically, the number is 798,980, according to figures from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Nearly 72,000 initial applications have received.
  • 689,800 — Total number of people who had DACA status as of Sept. 4, 2017, the day before the Trump administration ended the program, according to USCIS. Nearly 80 percent of the DACA recipients are from Mexico.

What happened to the rest of the cumulative DACA approvals? Either about 70,000 did not renew or had their renewals rejected. In addition, 40,000 became lawful permanent residents, obtaining green cards. The DACA program has not provided a path to legal status. The Pew Research Center explains, those living in the country illegally can gain legal status “by marrying an American citizen or lawful permanent resident, obtaining asylum, or receiving certain types of visas such as those given to victims of a crime, among other ways.”

The Cunningham Administration will follow through with the vision of “The Dream Act,” a proposed bill that would allow young undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children to become citizens if they meet certain criteria. A provision includes military service as a way to satisfy the criteria. However, the Dream Act has only collected dust and never materialized into law. However, “Dreamers” and some legislators continue to push for a stand-alone bill, which would legally permit undocumented immigrants to serve.[7] Children who are born in the United States to undocumented immigrants, granted the full extent of freedoms and liberties as American Citizens will move us forward as a country. There are countless times in this nation’s history in which undocumented immigrants have come to the United States, started families, and produced terrific children who have gone on to do great things for America. They are a part of the fabric of America and should be considered protected. Furthermore, these children, upon reaching the age of 18, can sponsor their parents or guardians for citizenship under the Cunningham administration.

A Period of Amnesty

The Cunningham Administration will address issues regarding undocumented immigration using a period of amnesty that will allow undocumented immigrants to identify themselves to immigration officials. During this time period, they will not be prosecuted or otherwise detained. They will be treated humanely in accordance with human rights law. This step would lead to a cycle of documenting, legitimizing and naturalizing undocumented immigrants. Through this process, America will again champion human rights and remain true to its roots in welcoming immigrants to our country once again.

Sanctuary Cities and States

Cities and states that harbor or welcome undocumented immigrants will receive Federal funding. Federal entitlements which the city pays into, despite the current administration’s war against immigration, will resume. Nor will the federal government cross into state lines and arrest undocumented immigrants.

Immigrant Laborer Amnesty & Preferred Status Naturalization

Illegal immigrants working temporary or seasonal jobs will receive temporary amnesty. However, the Cunningham Administration will facilitate citizenship requests for those immigrants who leave the U.S. in good faith and return to work seasonally. When immigrants show compliance in terms of exiting the country at the time when their visas expire or when the job ends, the administration will see it as respecting the laws of the nation. Upstanding, hardworking immigrants will be awarded a priority standing in their application to become naturalized citizens.

Skilled Immigrants

The United States continues to experience a deficit of skilled workers in the workforce. Immigrants who arrive in the U.S. to attend school typically leave to work or build companies in their native countries. This is especially true in high-tech fields and with information technology jobs. We need to encourage immigrants to stay in America by fast-tracking college and graduate school graduates who decide to remain and work in the United States. Skilled immigrant retention is a priority for the Cunningham Administration.

Dual Citizenship

The Cunningham Administration will continue the practice of dual citizenship through common sense diplomacy. Cunningham believes in perfecting a more global union; dual citizenship will facilitate international cooperation and friendship. Understandably, in times of conflict, dual citizenship could become a problematic issue. Nations considered by the State Department as rogue or hostile to American interest will not be granted the option for its citizens to possess dual citizenship. Our new immigration policy will allow American citizens a connection to a foreign nation, but also safeguard the duality of citizenship on a country-by-country basis.

Summary

Cunningham believes in the American Dream, and that all those who immigrate to this country should be afforded the opportunity to pursue that dream. The Cunningham Administration also believes in a secure border and more advanced vetting processes in immigration screening. He believes that immigrants should be given the right to apply for citizenship, work hard, and succeed. Immigration is the foundation of this country, and while we must do more to protect our borders, the immigrant population is vital to the economic, cultural, societal and global success of our proud nation. We must eradicate all faith-based travel bans, increase technological security surveillance on our borders, create a streamlined process for those applying for citizenship, and provide new immigrants with the social services needed to create a better lives for themselves in the U.S. Overall, reforms must be implemented to combat the current administration’s complete mishandling of immigration policy.

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