© 2022 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Novel Immigration Plan: Boomer Trade

Recently, I received an email survey from Congresswoman Debra Pryce asking me give my thoughts on the immigration bill. It got me to thinking--how I would solve this issue? Then it came to me. . .boomer trade.

Instead of trying to pass a complicated immigration bill-- why not set up a foreign-relocation retirement program that gives incentives to boomers who still have big dreams as they say in those financial advisor commercials. I just read on smartmoney.com about the explosion of baby boomers moving to foreign countries to retire. The top five places right now are Panama, Malta, New Zealand, Uruguay and Mexico. So, for example, if a US boomer retires to Mexico - we'll let in one Mexican immigrant, maybe 20.

Okay, my idea may be tongue-in-cheek, but it is no more complicated that what is being proposed by the President and a bipartisan group of US Senators. The 300-page bill ha stalled in the House, proposes to help the estimated 12 to 20 million immigrants living here illegally get on the path to citizenship by creating a new guest-worker program.

There's no denying America is becoming more diverse. Columbus' ethnic mix has certainly changed since I moved here in 1992. My southwest neighborhood can proudly wear the mantle of diversity with our mix of Blacks, Whites, Latinos and Asians.

Although this issue is dividing ordinary Americans, it has united employers who need immigrant workers to keep our salad bowls full. According to Capital Eye, a newsletter produced by the Center for Responsive Politics, nearly 300 organizations reported that they lobbied Congress on immigration in 2006.

While there is no way to determine just how much money is being spent to influence immigration policy, major players say this issue is one of their top legislative priorities.

In one corner, you have the Unions, who are worried that the bill creates of a group of second-class workers with limited rights. In the other corner are businesses that need to fill jobs Americans aren't willing to take.

So, as self righteous patriots gather material to either build a 3,000 mile fence or who just want to kick people back across the border, the real influence on this issue is coming from corporations, unions and major employers.

Why can't we all just admit that we need immigrant workers because our economy depends on their labor and their spending? Why shouldn't we welcome new people who just want a better life for their families-the same dream shared by millions of immigrants who have come before them.

Yes, there needs to be a mechanism set up to help local, state and federal governments to secure our borders from the bad guys, but setting up a huge government bureaucracy and a new cottage industry for lawyers and social service agencies doesn't seem like a 21st century answer to me. Which is why immigration will be the number one topic on our minds, after Iraq, when we step into the voting booth in 2008. I hope one of the presidential candidates comes up with a better solution than