CITIZENS OF OTHER COUNTRIES AND THEIR FAMILIES
At present about 12 million citizens of other
reside in the the USA without
Immigration reform will make fundamental changes in this situation:
Most foreign nationals will be offered pathways to U.S. citizenship.
But some citizens of other countries will be returned to their
Comprehensive repatriation embraces whole extended
rather than individual citizens of other countries.
We should determine complete family connections,
including the possible U.S. citizenship of some members,
and create a careful plan for repatriation for all who will return to
Each integrated family can be
moved as a group
along with all their possessions back to the country where most are
As much as possible, immigration reform
should strive to keep
Adult children born and raised in the USA, even if their parents were
should be permitted to remain if they are old enough to live on
They broke no laws themselves in the process of being born.
So they should not bear the consequences of the wrongful behavior of
All non-citizen children who have lived most of their lives in the USA
should be offered reasonable pathways to U.S. citizenship.
COMPASSION VERSUS JUSTICE
HOW TO CONDUCT COMPREHENSIVE REPATRIATION
A. SELLING THE HOUSE IN THE USA AND BUYING A
HOUSE IN THE HOMELAND
B. JOBS AND BUSINESSES HELD BY CITIZENS OF OTHER COUNTRIES
C. THESE ECONOMIC CHANGES MAKE THE
D. THE COST OF THE REPATRIATION WILL BE PAID
FROM THE ASSETS OF THE
AMNESTY AS AN ALTERNATIVE
4. HARM MIGHT COME TO PEOPLE RETURNING TO THEIR COUNTRIES OF
5. NATIONAL IDENTITY FILE
6. NOT REWARDING UNLAWFUL BEHAVIOR
7. THE CHILDREN OF CITIZENS
OF OTHER COUNTRIES
8. CONCLUSION: OTHER SUGGESTIONS?
I am myself
an immigrant from another country—in
my case Canada.
CITIZENS OF OTHER COUNTRIES
AND THEIR FAMILIES
James Leonard Park
But I entered the USA (in 1949, when I was 8 years old) by completely
My whole family applied to emigrate to the USA and we were accepted.
When we crossed the border, we were each interviewed, photographed,
All of these records were carefully preserved by the U.S. government.
I know this because I was able to see my childhood photograph,
(black-and-white, of course),
when I applied for a certificate of citizenship when I reached age
I am very thankful for the many possibilities that
were opened to me
simply by the fact that I have lived in the United State of America.
I became a naturalized citizen of the USA in 1955—with
the rest of my
Thus, I am not against immigration as such.
I do favor the freedom to move across borders to establish a new life.
But the orderly way I came to the USA should be the pattern for all
The United States does have established ways of welcoming immigrants.
Every year about half a million immigrants come into the USA with permission.
And immigration reform will probably make these processes even more
However, because our borders have not been
millions of others have come to the USA without authorization.
And they make up a sub-culture
that knows itself to be in violation of
the laws of immigration.
Just what to do about
the millions of residents of the USA
who are citizens of other
countries living here without permission
is a national problem now before us.
1. COMPASSION VERSUS JUSTICE
The American people are generous and compassionate.
And this part of our character says that anyone should be able to
to the USA
to make a better life for themselves and their families.
Almost all of the present citizens of the USA are immigrants or the
descendants of immigrants.
Only the descendants of the indigenous peoples—usually
are not immigrants from other places on the Earth.
(Even the indigenous peoples came to the Americans 30,000 or 40,000
And almost all Indians are now so intermarried with immigrants
that there are very few who have no ancestors from other places on the
says that we ought to have some
for admitting new people to our country.
And this will include decisions about just which individuals and
families can come
how many each year.
We do, in fact, have immigration regulations on the books.
And most of the organized and controlled immigration does follow these
But there are major gaps and problems with our present patterns of
The new policy proposed by this cyber-sermon
finds a middle way between
compassion and justice:
Instead of simply returning citizens of other countries to their
we will carefully investigate all of their connections
in the USA—family
All members of some families will be offered pathways to U.S.
They will continue to live in the USA and to contribute to our
But other families will be required to return to their homelands.
They will be kept together
as a family, even if some children hold U.S.
Repatriated families will be offered all necessary
help and sufficient time
for them to sell their homes and businesses in a orderly
and to move all of their possessions back to their country of origin
with the least possible
personal and financial disruption.
2. HOW TO CONDUCT
When it has been determined by an immigration judge
that a family must return to its homeland,
the first step towards comprehensive
involves discovering the full constellation of the extended family.
Because we are dealing with settled populations of large numbers of
we should not depend on the
criminal-justice model for rounding up the
They can be allowed to continue working at their jobs and pursuing
while the process of planning to move back to their country of origin
Each comprehensive repatriation should be expected
take about one year.
In consultation with the affected family,
a target date can be set for their move back to their home country.
And in the case of large families of citizens of other countries,
a single date for repatriation might not be practical.
Citizens of other countries who have been living in the United States
for a number
will have lots of personal and financial connections that need to be
before they can depart in a reasonable and orderly way.
When any family moves from one country to another,
there are hundreds of matters to be handled.
SELLING THE HOUSE IN THE USA AND BUYING A
HOUSE IN THE HOMELAND
Not all citizens of other countries living in the
United States without permission are home-owners,
but we will probably discover that a significant proportion of them are.
I am guessing more than half of the families to be returned to their
will have some real estate in the USA that needs to be transferred into
If we ourselves are homeowners, we know how
disruptive this would be,
but we would also welcome the opportunity to locate and buy new homes
in our countries of origin if we know
that we must return to the
country where we are citizens.
The cash realized from the sale of homes and
businesses in the USA
will be used to purchase new homes and businesses
in the country where most of the family members hold citizenship.
Family relationships must be preserved as much as
in this process of comprehensive repatriation.
For example, if the foreign nationals have been living in the
a number of years,
it is likely that there will be some U.S. citizens among the family.
Perhaps the most common way for such a mixture of citizenship to
is by the natural process of having babies.
Under present law, any baby delivered within the borders of the USA
automatically becomes a U.S. citizen at birth
matter what citizenship the parents had when the child was born.
citizenship is not universal for all countries
and perhaps it should be examined for the USA.
What sense does it make when a pregnant woman
comes into the USA in order to give birth to a U.S. citizen?
Marriage is another family connection that might
have been established
between citizens of other countries and U.S. citizens.
If a man who is a citizen of Canada has married an American woman,
where should they live once their real history is disclosed?
says one thing: Let them live wherever
But justice says
another: At least one violated the law,
for which there must be meaningful consequences.
When they got married,
they probably knew the citizenship facts and
If the Canadian husband and father will be relocated
he will buy a new home in Canada and find new employment.
Once this has been established, the rest of the family can decide just
what to do.
For those who have been Americans all of their lives, it will be a big
But they will not be the first Americans who have moved to Canada.
And if they have significant assets in the USA, which they can sell,
they should be able to set themselves up well in Canada.
Sometimes the marriage will end
because the American spouse is more committed to living in America
than to living with her or his Canadian spouse.
Or perhaps they will try having a marriage across the border.
Once their real citizenships have been firmly established,
they will be able to travel across the border with the proper approvals
from both countries.
Children who have lived all of their lives in the
USA present a serious problem.
It is not their fault that at least one parent was not a U.S.
citizen when they were born.
And once they have lived for more than 10 years in the USA,
they are certainly more American than they are Canadian.
says: Keep the family together, either in
the USA or in Canada.
Justice says: Canadian
citizens who do not qualify
for any pathway to U. S. citizenship must return to Canada.
JOBS AND BUSINESSES HELD BY CITIZENS
OF OTHER COUNTRIES
When foreign nationals have been living in the USA
number of years,
they have in fact found some ways of supporting themselves.
(Only a few depend on public assistance.)
When they are employed by American companies,
such employment can be ended before the agreed-upon date for departure.
The employer and the employee can decide
what would be the best date for this employment to end.
The American business will have to find someone else
(who has a right to live and work in the USA)
to take over the job formerly filled by the foreign worker.
And once the citizens being repatriated have decided
just where they are going to live in their homelands,
they can seek new employment there.
Perhaps their years of employment in the USA
will give them good foundations for finding similar jobs in their
If the citizens of other countries have owned a
business in the
these businesses probably have some obvious cash value.
Giving foreign nationals one year to move back to the country where
they hold citizenship
can allow they to make reasonable arrangements for selling their
and starting similar businesses in their home countries.
Sometimes businesses operating mostly within the USA
can continue to be owned by foreign nationals
even after those citizens of other countries have returned to their
THESE ECONOMIC CHANGES MAKE THE REPATRIATION
When the citizens of other countries have
established their new homes
and started new businesses back in their home countries,
they are much less likely to try to cross the border into the USA again.
But if their only roots are in America,
their only thought is how to get back into
They would have no reason to stay in the countries where they are
If we ourselves were expelled from the USA
while our homes, cars, jobs, family, friends,
and every other part of our lives remained in the United States,
what would be our strongest urge after being put into another country?
We would think of nothing else but how to get back to our lives.
But if we have carefully moved everything possible
back to our country of citizenship,
if we have new homes, cars, jobs, & friends,
then we are much more likely to stay where we have relocated.
The American authorities in charge of each case of
will cooperate with the countries of citizenship
to make certain that the repatriated citizens are putting down deep
rather than planning to return to the USA as soon as possible.
Perhaps there should be provisions in the new system
for checking on the location
of the family for about five
to make sure that they have stayed in their country of citizenship.
If they disappear, this will be good reason
to check for their presence
in the USA once again.
They are most likely to attempt to return to the location in the USA
lived once before.
And, of course, while they continue to live in the
countries where they are citizens,
they have the same opportunities as any other people in those countries
to apply to emigrate to the USA if they so wish.
COST OF THE REPATRIATION WILL BE PAID
ASSETS OF THE
Because comprehensive repatriation is much more
just putting foreign nationals on a bus or a plane and hoping
for the best,
the cost of each repatriation will have to be borne
by those who have
violated the law.
In some cases, the costs of repatriation will consume all of their liquid
In such cases, the two governments will have to cooperate
to make sure that the newly settled immigrant family will have the
and other support in their home countries
in order to establish their
residence in their homelands
And having such loans from home-country sources will be another
that will help to keep them in the countries where they are
Lenders will make certain that the newly-returned family is going to
and that they have the human capacities to earn enough money to re-pay
As a side-effect of comprehensive repatriation,
the culture and economy of the home countries will be enriched.
The skills learned by the returning citizens during their years in the
might be transferable to whatever line of work they pursue in their
We often hear that immigrants
have contributed tremendously
the wealth of the USA.
Those families that are returned to their homelands,
they can use their talents to
contribute to the wealth of
the countries where they are citizens.
3. AMNESTY AS AN ALTERNATIVE
One possible alternative to repatriation is amnesty,
which means forgetting the facts of the past.
People who have been in the USA for a certain number of years
matter how they got here—will
be permitted to stay.
And they can apply to become U.S. citizens in the same ways
as all authorized migrants to the USA.
This policy has been tried before, with mixed
It did allow millions of foreign nationals to become U.S. citizens.
But it did not stop
the continuing flow of citizens of other countries
coming into the USA without permission.
Immigration reform in the United States will
reasonable pathways to citizenship for most foreign nationals now
settled in the USA.
But no matter how much amnesty we offer,
some families will be required to return to their homelands.
4. HARM MIGHT COME TO
PEOPLE RETURNING TO THEIR COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN
One of the strongest arguments against returning
is that they will suffer or be killed in their countries of origin.
And we do have
reasonable methods for granting political asylum.
However, these laws are so open-ended
that almost all citizens of other countries can claim to be coming to
to avoid political persecution in their countries of origin.
They say the magic words "political asylum".
And they merge into the general population of the USA.
Compassion says that we should allow
any people who fear persecution to come to the USA.
But when we are dealing with unstable countries or failed states,
most of the people of
those countries could claim
that harm will come to them if they continue to live in their
So should we allow whole populations to move to the USA
when their own countries become unstable
or when civil war breaks out?
Any policy of amnesty without other profound changes
will only encourage more citizens of other countries
to move the
USA without permission.
This is what happened with the first amnesty in 1986:
No effective changes were instituted to prevent new immigrants
from ignoring the laws and coming into the USA without permission.
5. NATIONAL IDENTITY FILE
One possible way to prevent further violations of
the laws of immigration
would be to establish a National
Identity File for each person living
in the USA.
A new file could be created for each person who comes to the USA.
Eventually there should be a file for every man, woman, &
their citizenship status—
living within the borders of the United States of America.
As a side-effect of having such a National Identity
the census now mandated for every 10 years
could be conducted by consulting the data in the computer files,
which already record where every person is living, etc.
deals extensively with the details
of establishing a National Identity
6. NOT REWARDING UNLAWFUL
When citizens of other countries know
that they are
living in the USA without permission,
they try not to attract the attention of any government agency.
They become an invisible population.
For example, why attempt to get a driver's license?
So instead of learning to drive and passing a driving test,
they just buy cars and start driving.
This is a danger to themselves and to everyone else on the road.
In some states, their cars are taken away
when they are discovered to be driving without a license.
But since they cannot get a driver's license,
they just buy new cars and continue their illegal driving.
In short, our current pattern of very poor
enforcement of immigration laws
leads to the creation of a
who know that they are permanently
outside the law
and so have less motivation to follow any of our laws.
Declaring amnesty for all citizens of other countries
would reward their unlawful behavior of coming into the USA without
And what would then prevent millions of others from trying the same
If they can set one foot on U.S. soil,
would they be allowed to become U.S. citizens?
Much more discussion of the various alternatives is
Everyone agrees that the present situation is not ideal.
So what changes should we make?
What new practices will do the least harm and create the most good?
7. THE CHILDREN OF CITIZENS
OF OTHER COUNTRIES
It is well known that in the United States of
any person born within our borders is automatically a
citizen of the
This law emerged from the automatic policy for everyone else:
Whenever anyone was born,
that new person was a citizen of whatever country it was.
But this is not a universal policy everywhere on
In some countries, children born to foreign nationals
are registered as having the same
citizenship as their parents.
(This is also the policy for children of U.S. citizens
who happen to be born in other countries:
They are U.S. citizens from birth because of the citizenship of their
Children who have lived most of their lives in the
(whatever their official citizenship)
are as completely a part of American culture as anyone else.
What sense does it make to send them to a foreign country?
A new policy with regard to the children of foreign
might decide each case on an
Children of foreign nationals might be allowed to
apply to become U.S. citizens
if they have lived in the United States for at least five years.
(Five years is also the waiting period for citizenship
for all immigrants legally admitted to the USA.)
Children who are not yet citizens
because their parents were not citizens
should be given a choice:
Which country should be their home country?
Or should they hold dual
In order to be follow this pathway toward
they must admit the unlawful behavior of their parents.
No one is responsible for crimes committed by other persons,
including the crime of entering a country without permission.
But when such children publicly acknowledge
that they are the children of citizens of other countries,
these parents will be officially registered as such.
If the parents are still alive,
they can be repatriated according to the laws that apply to them.
And in some cases, especially when the children are very young,
the children will
automatically go with their parents
back to the parents' country of origin.
If one or both parents are dead,
then the case for staying in the USA is stronger for the children.
We do not want any such new policies to lead to
of death and/or abandonment.
So deep investigation into the actual living arrangements of each child
must be made.
What is the actual day-to-day family structure?
When the other people living with the child in question are identified,
their right to be living in the USA will also be examined.
Compassionate and wise decisions will have to be made
about just which persons should be returned to the countries where they
making the best possible decisions for all family members involved.
For example, if the main bread-winner is going to be
then it might not be wise
to leave dependent children in the USA
with no means of support except public assistance.
Children who have already lived for many years in
will be given an easier pathway to citizenship
than children living in other countries
who would also like to live in the USA and become citizens.
In order not to divide families
where some of the
adults are U.S. citizens and some are not,
new provisions will probably have to be invented,
which will allow most of the
family to remain in the United States.
And the non-citizens would be given appropriate pathways to
But in other cases, most of the adults will be
When most of them will be returned to their countries of origin
as described above, including all of their assets, etc.,
then the children will have to adjust to going back to their parents'
Since they have already spent some part of their
lives inside the USA,
this fact could be included in any applications they make to return to
The process of moving from one country to another
should be orderly and recorded.
Even children born inside the USA to foreign nationals
will sometimes be returned with their parents to their parents' country
But after returning to their country of origin,
both the parents and the children would be able to apply
to enter the USA using the established means of immigration.
Immigration reform will certainly change some of the
which have led to the absurd results we all can cite.
A revised and
expanded DREAM Act can solve most of these problems:
8. CONCLUSION: OTHER
The policy of returning citizens of other countries
to their home countries
will probably remain a part of any immigration reform.
But some modifications and elaborations of the principles outlined here
will doubtless be suggested—and
some will be implemented.
Let the discussion proceed:
Just what should we do about the present situation?
James Leonard Park is an existential philosopher,
who is grateful to have lived 90% of his life in the USA.
None of his relatives or friends is living in the USA without
Others authors are welcome to suggest different solutions
to the present situation of having millions of citizens of other
living without permission within the borders of the United States of
A few more cyber-sermons by James Park:
I am an
Problems and Solutions:
Keeping the UU Debate Constructive .
A Range of Options .
Carrots and Sticks .
Deportation of Persons Likely to Qualify for
a Pathway to Citizenship under Immigration Reform .
Millions of Foreign Nationals out of the Shadows .
Million Foreign Nationals in the USA:
How Many Will Stay?
to Citizenship .
Born in the USA:
The Easy Way to Become a U.S. Citizen
Repatriation of Citizens of other Countries and their Families
August 7, 2009; Revised 8-12-2009; 3-7-2010; 5-7-2010; 7-27-2010;
8-5-2010; 8-25-2010; 11-17-2010;
1-6-2011; 10-1-2011; 10-18-2011; 5-20-2012; 12-30-2012