The immigration debate is a tender subject with many U.S. citizens, with strong views on both sides of the aisle. One thing is for certain, something does need to be done when you have, by most estimates, over 12 million illegal aliens. Heck, we can't even agree on if that's the term to use on the matter. Some say "illegal alien" others say "undocumented alien" and still others say "undocumented immigrants" or "undocumented workers." Whatever you want to refer to them as, there is something that needs to be done. Again, the fact of the matter is that there are millions of people in the United States that are not citizens. Some hard-liners would say that these people should be deported, since they're not here legally after all. While the undocumented immigrants may not be here legally, deporting them is not a practical solution. Even if we knew where all of the undocumented aliens were (which we don't), how practical would it be to deport 12 million people? Good luck accomplishing that goal!
Others have proposed a roadmap to citizenship. This idea actually makes the most sense, but, as they say, the devil is in the details. Undocumented workers shouldn't be given a free pass and allowed to become citizens just because it makes it convenient for us to handle the situation quickly. They also shouldn't be forced to leave the United States for a year to apply for citizenship. Again, how practical and easy to administer would that be? No, instead they should be allowed to apply for citizenship, while still in the U.S., but have to meet certain guidelines before becoming a citizen. First, they should have to pay a small fee on top of the normal citizenship application fees. For the sake of argument, let's say the fee was $500 per individual. The revenue from the fee alone would be worth billions of dollars. Second, the illegal aliens would also need to prove that they are either actively employed, or seeking employment. Third, they would need to meet the other guidelines of the citizenship process (ability to speak English, etc.).
In conjunction with the above process, the undocumented aliens would have to come forward and apply for citizenship within 6 months of the bill being signed into law. At that time, there would be a one-year to eighteen-month wait before they could become full U.S. citizens, but at the same time they would be afforded temporary work permits.
Now, there is one little item that becomes a big issue with making 12 million undocumented workers full-fledged U.S. citizens: job wages. It's no secret that there are many below the table paychecks being doled out to undocumented workers, and it's also no secret that many of these workers work for below the minimum wage. Granting temporary work permits to these workers will (or should) put an end to that, but that of course means that the cost of business would undoubtedly go up for certain industries. That may not be a comforting thought, but it is reality. That said, that is the cost that must be paid to get the current immigration situation under control. We have all benefited, one way or another, from the work of illegal aliens over the years and there comes a time when enough is enough.