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Charles Ballay, M.D., Position on U.S. Immigration Policy

The United States is currently grappling with immigration policies that are mired in complexity and inefficiency, as exemplified by the ongoing border crisis. Such a crisis urgently demands a more streamlined and pragmatic approach to immigration that aligns with our nation's ethos of "Liberty and Justice for All" yet simultaneously protects the security and liberties of our legal citizens. To tackle the challenge of an overburdened system, I propose a more targeted approach, focusing on specific areas strained by immigration, such as healthcare, education, and public services, and devising strategies to bolster these sectors. To remain a beacon of hope for democracy, we must embrace what made us great. We must welcome diversity, inclusion, and protection from tyranny and oppression, offering the opportunity to pursue a life protected by the rule of law, which we cannot provide to others unless we maintain it for all who are here. 


Addressing the issue of illegal immigration, distinguished from refugee-ism, remains crucial. Illegal Immigration not only violates international agreements like the 1951 Refugee Convention but also challenges the integrity of our immigration system, placing undue strain on resources and posing security risks. Americans deserve practical and pragmatic solutions to immigration that actualize a fair and legal pathway to citizenship while maintaining the non-refoulement of refugees. Such policies must balance the protection of refugees while addressing immigration's humanitarian considerations with our own economic and security concerns. 


Both Democratic and Republican leadership have failed to address this matter. It's time for a Libertarian stance.


Most would unquestionably advocate for the protection of refugees: those seeking entry due to persecution for reasons of race, gender, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion. On the other hand, to clarify semantics, when we speak of immigration, we refer specifically to those seeking a better life and opportunities -- not those seeking the safety of genuine political asylum. Immigration has been accepted and expected reasonably into the United States. And while the immigration flow has remained fluid, the influx must not violate United States citizens' individual rights and opportunities. The current deluge of open immigration stresses overburdened systems including, but not limited to, healthcare, education, and public services. Our country has sought (for the most part) to remain impartial regarding immigrants' economy and has balanced between skilled and unskilled labor, and such blinded principles should remain. Still, we cannot remain diminutive regarding our citizens' clarion calls for the security and protection of legally pursued opportunities and services to which they contribute.  


And so, how might we balance immigration with the needs and promised security of our citizens? One might look towards international examples for practical and adaptable ideas. One such solution might be noted in Spain's immigration policies, for instance, which offers valuable insights. The country employs a decentralized approach to immigration management, allowing regional and local governments to implement innovative integration policies. This system has shown flexibility in addressing local needs while maintaining national oversight. However, Spain, too, has faced challenges with irregular immigration, leading to mass regularization processes. These efforts are aimed at aligning immigration with economic demands and ensuring legal status for immigrants, reflecting a pragmatic response to the realities of migration.


In addressing the model of Spain and how interstate differences in immigration policy might surface in administration, we suggest a federal framework that permits state-specific policies within a national guideline. A state-driven yet nationally accepted approach could alleviate the administrative nightmare of 50 states with differing policies, ensuring a harmonized approach while respecting state sovereignty. The system could address state-specific needs, from housing to employment, under a unified national immigration strategy. This decentralized approach may seem more acceptable to the local populations and their needs while remaining more in line with a Libertarian stance of free trade and movement while protecting citizens' and immigrants' liberties and autonomy. Such a pragmatic approach would allow states to develop needs, quotas and incentives for different skills/ education levels of immigrants while mandating that to receive such visas, the state of issuance must be the residence for a pre-determined period or some variable acceptable to our union and local, state, and national standards must be met and maintained, along with adherence to taxation and social obligations, just as ordinary citizens, a requisite to qualify for citizenship. 


But above all, and poignant to our dilemma, Spain's experience might suggest the potential benefits of a more localized approach to immigration as opposed to the national policies imposed in the United States. Such policy may function well in our country, where acceptance, not reluctance, would be embraced. States and their local governments could have a more significant role in determining their specific immigration needs, particularly concerning labor requirements; immigration can be harmonious with different states' economic and social exigencies. Furthermore, such an adoption would bring some degree of transparency to government policy, highlighting various states' stances and policies -- potentially bringing out hypocrisies (that are inherently associated with today's political rhetoric) of those unwilling to "do their part." 


If adopted, my proposed policy would provide a more equitable, balanced approach that safeguards the interests of American citizens from the strains of overextended social services and economic burdens while ensuring national security and fairness. In line with fairness to our citizens' autonomy, I propose reforming birthright citizenship policies, akin to changes in countries like the U.K. and India. Such a change would help to manage immigration more effectively and ensure that citizenship is a deliberate choice, with jus solis not being a mere loophole to achieve citizenship. Thus, I aim to prioritize legal, merit-based immigration, focusing on economic contributions and security, inspired by models like Spain's regularization and workforce integration approach and the U.K. and India's path to citizenship


In conclusion, I commit to creating an immigration system that respects and integrates immigrants as valuable members of society with positive contributions while adhering to our laws. It's about balancing compassion with responsibility, ensuring the American dream remains accessible and protected. My approach seeks to blend the lessons from diverse international models with the unique values and needs of the United States, striving for a humane, efficient system aligned with our national ethos.

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