April 10th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Where should White House start with immigration reform?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's not like he doesn't already have a lot on his plate. Now President Obama says he wants to tackle immigration reform; and do it this year. In fact, he says he plans to begin as soon as next month.

Tackling immigration reform: Where should the White House begin?

The president says he will rely on a bipartisan and diverse group of experts to frame the legislation. But officials say that immigration won't be "on the same track" as other key initiatives like health care and energy, and "nobody's promising legislation or a vote this year."

Nonetheless, it looks like the president will try to make good on yet another campaign promise by working to fix the nation's broken immigration system during his first year in office. There are an estimated 12 million illegal aliens in this country. The White House apparently wants to look for a path for illegal aliens to become legal - that's called amnesty and a lot of folks in this country are rabidly opposed,including immigrants who took the time and trouble to come here legally.

The president also wants to remove incentives to enter the country illegally, beef up border security and work with Mexico to cut down on illegal immigration. This is all stuff we've heard before and at the end of the day none of it gets done.

Note to our new president: The economy is in the toilet. Is now the time to give millions of illegal aliens permanent access to American jobs when millions of our own citizens are out of work? If you want to begin to squander your incredibly high approval ratings with the American public, this might be a the way to do it.

Here’s my question to you: The White House wants to start tackling immigration reform this year. Where should they begin?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Hugh from Tracy, California writes:
Start by increasing fines and penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens, then suspend their license to operate, much like they do when liquor store or bar owners are found selling cigarettes or serving alcohol to minors. Without these changes, employers will continue to hire illegals to lower their operating costs, which only hurts the American worker and legal aliens who are trying hard to find gainful employment.

Leonard writes:
Why don't we just follow the laws we have in place and quit giving special treatment to Hispanics, or anyone else for that matter? What is the point of having laws you're not going to enforce?

Ray writes:
Jack, Kill two birds with one stone: Build an electric fence with ground sensors along the length and power the fence with solar or wind energy. This will create new jobs for Americans and keep out drug traffickers and illegal immigrants. Spend some TARP money on ICE and send them home. Invoice Mexico for health and welfare bill created by illegals. If someone's parents have to go, then they go. Want to stay in touch? Get a phone.

Jane from Minnesota writes:
Enforce E-Verify first off and penalize employers that employ anyone other than those who are in this country legally for a start. The government needs to audit employers' payroll reports and actually physically investigate employers with employment report irregularities.

Pam from New York writes:
At the border. Unless we have control of the borders and ports, it does not matter what reforms are instituted. Going forward, mayors, governors, etc., should be prosecuted for providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants. Our government should be ashamed for allowing the current immigration laws to be ignored for decades.

Justin writes:
1) Close the borders. 2) Start shipping illegals back. 3) Pass a law that abolishes citizenship at birth for the children of illegals. It’s simple, no? Or will this affect Obama's re-election possibilities?

Filed under: Immigration
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. kevin R. in San Francisco, CA

    Tear down the fence and restore the Rio Grand, for starters. Then allow illegal immigrants who are employed to work through their employer to expedite the citizen application process. Next, immigrants who are not employed but have no felony convictions should be given access to the expedited process as well, provided they find permanent employment within 6 months. Those with felonies, or who can't find permanent employment within 6 months should be deported.

    And, of course, the most important thing America should do is change it's immigrtation system from a family based system (wherein anyone is allowed to migrate here if they have immediate family) to a merit based system (Like Canada and New Zealand) where you have to prove that you have a marketable, employable skill before you are allowed to immigrate.

    April 10, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  2. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    The main problem with our immigration system is it makes it difficult to find the violent criminals. To make it easier, we need to give all of the other illegal immigrants in the country a legal status. I'm not saying just make them citizens, but call them foreign workers, or something. The draw back to being a foreign worker could be a higher tax rate, so there is incentive to follow the standard process. This would allow for us to focus our border security on more significant problems.

    April 10, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  3. Bobby Rice, Baltimore

    Jack, where ever they start, it better be by this year....Obama said he will tackle this issue in 2009 on the campaign trail, and guess what, we're almost half way through the year...I dont want this to be a broken promise from the president, so we'll probably start to hear something within a few months at the latest

    April 10, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  4. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Its just so frustrating that we are right where we were 20 years ago.
    Once again our do nothing congress with no courage ever will only do what the lobby pays them to do.We are dealing here with our nation
    and still nothing.I guess the only thing that will bring meaningful
    change is to vote in term limits and vote all the lifers' out.Heck Jack
    we have some good laws on the books and we simply DO NOT
    enforce them because the lobby says not to.
    For the average person its the same old thing different day..............and
    when we throw our country away we'll get a committee to study it and
    still do nothing.

    April 10, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  5. Lisa in Ga

    Jack, the white house can not do anything about immigration reform. It is totally out of control. It has been for years and now that most of the people in this country that is currently employed are foreigners " they are taking a look at immigration reform" its too late.. unless they bring in all the troops from Iraq, Afghanistan and borrow some troops from other countries immigration reform in any shape,form or fashion our government put forth will be all for nothing! Sad but true!

    April 10, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  6. David, Natchez MS

    The first step should be to inform everyone that from this day forward, no matter what the policy might be no one will be grandfathered in nor will they ever be allowed to enter the U.S. legeally if they are caught trying to get in after this date.

    April 10, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  7. Russ in PA

    The government should start by enforcing the laws already on the books, starting with enforcing penalties for companies hiring illegal aliens. End citizenship for children born in the US of illegal aliens. End any and all government support of illegal aliens. Impeach any politician that fails to enforce the law.

    April 10, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  8. roger

    illegals-are they not felons? But only the small time people who smoke MJ,get arrested and their lives destoryed,while felons get the BEST!

    April 10, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  9. Pam in NY

    At the border. Unless we have control of the borders and ports it does not matter what reforms are instituted. Going forward, mayors, governors, etc., should be prosecuted for providing sanctuary to illegals immigrants. Our government should be ashamed for allowing the current immigration laws to be ignored for decades. But, unfortunately, this government has no shame.

    April 10, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  10. Jane (Minnesota)

    Enforce E-Verify first off and penalize employers that employ anyone other than those who are in this Country legally for a start. The government needs to audit employers' payroll reports & actually physically investigate employers with employment reports irregularities.

    April 10, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  11. Nancy, Grand Ledge,MI

    They should start by controlling the borders. You can't repair flood damage while the water is still rising! After that they should have a sincere effort to penalize employers of illegal immigrants. If you remove the incentive, you can start solving the problem. This is the only crime that I know of , (illegal is illegal), where the offenders are repeatedly given amnesty!!

    April 10, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  12. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    At the border, where it should have started a few years ago. Not giving amnesty to the illegals already here. If that happens, grandparents, aunts, uncles., etc. will be flooding our borders. Taxpayers are overwhelmed as it is.

    April 10, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  13. Dr. Arturo f. Jasso

    If you cannot control the border immigration reform is impossible! Why? In a few years you will have exactly the same problem. We have seen this before a few years back. Corrupt governments like Mexico's think they have a right to export all their poor people to us. Enough with this idiotic and unfair practice.

    April 10, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  14. Marie Ontario

    From what I understand the President just wants some bipartisan committees and organizations to begin meeting together to try and come up with a consensus on how to approach and possibly fix the problem that has been in existence for years.

    I suppose this goes against America's long standing policy of ignoring the problems and praying they go away or fix themselves thus giving people something to complain about over dinner.

    April 10, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  15. Gigi in Alabama

    As far as I'm concerned, he should forget about legalization of aliens that are here now. Start with closing our borders and then find a way to relieve our country of all illegal aliens.

    April 10, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  16. Portia, Los Angeles CA

    Jack, step 1 for the White House should begin by protecting our borders: it will take money and strict, enforceable legislation to support this effort. After the borders are secure, step 2 is to deal with the millions of illegals already inside and begin the effort of getting them out.

    April 10, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  17. glen

    by entorceing the laws that are on the books now. the congress has willfully not done so and until they do they should be held responseablefor the mess we now face. GLEN .

    April 10, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  18. Gigi in Alabama

    What I wrote above may seem a bit harsh, but I am tired of going to the grocery store or Walmart and having to deal with Spanish. A good portion of the products on the shelves are in Spanish and you can't walk down the aisles without being bombarded with people speaking Spanish. They are in this country . . . so why not at least make an effort to learn English.

    April 10, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  19. Mark in OKC

    They should have saved the "Berlin Wall" so we could have bought it and put it on the U.S. – Mexican border!

    April 10, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  20. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    If Obama does what he said at his California Town Meting – he will tell the illegals to go to the end of the line and go through proper channels to become legal. It's good that he is aware of this problem but I agree with Jack,now is not the time to put vast resources into this problem. I recently read a study on the internet that if you multitask that you do not do everything perfectly nor faster. You constantly have to refocus,which itself takes time. Let's keep our priorities straight.

    April 10, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  21. Star Auburn Ohio

    My answer will be too long. I come from Immigrants, I married an foreigner and had to do the process legally. Did two years in a third world country for my love. My grandparents came though Ellis Island legally. This is a country of laws and if you come into it breaking the law you should be treated as a criminals and nothing more. The department of immigration is not working, privatization is the only answer it and make it profitable and working.
    and to coin cheech and chong "your papers Please". you don't have them well then you take us to your house and show us they not there you leave the country. call me heart less unfeeling sorry law is the law.

    April 10, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  22. David in San Diego

    He should begin by soliciting strategy ideas from pro-immigration Republicans in the Senate and House, forming a "coalition of the willing." The former John McCain would be a good start, if anyone can find that version of him.

    April 10, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  23. Dave from Veazie, ME

    Simple, border security. Before we can deal with the illegal aliens that are already here we need to do something to stop more from entering the country. If we don't, what ever system is put in place to give illegals a path to citizenship will be exploited by more people entering the country illegally. Not to mention that stepping up border security would also make it harder for the drug cartels to get there merchandise into the country and help protect us from terrorist attacks. Seems like a no brainer to me.

    April 10, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  24. Dorothy L. Constantin

    Begin by going after employers who knowingly break the law by hiring workers without proper documention and exploiting them. They need to be punished to the full extent of the law. Next, enforce laws that are already on the books. Seal our borders as any nation worth it;s salt
    should do. Stop making citizenship automatic with birth in this country.
    Put all illegals at the END of the line and insist that they go through the same process as those who are in this country legally.
    STOP DIPPING INTO OUR SOCIAL SECURITY to give benefits to illegals. STOP doling out free medical care to illegals. Put our country back on English as the official language and stop the silliness of "press one for English". This is OUR COUNTRY. WE live here and this is a soverign nation...or is it?

    April 10, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  25. Scott, Wichita

    Start by making that wall higher: it isn't working.

    Also, I approve of comedian Jake Johanson's idea to solve this. I believe it somewhat like "burning river of gas..."

    April 10, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  26. Ron Kepics

    Hi Jack:

    I think the president neds to reforn The North American Free Trade Agreement first. The US has been paying far to long for the sins of neighboring nations. Immigration reform by paving a pathway for illegals to gain status in America is not going to help the American economy. It will further drive down the standard of living in America.

    What has to happen is the open door to America needs to be closed by hold responsible the employers that knowingly violate immigration regulations by employing undocumented workers. In addition, if illeagals are working in America they need to pay Income Taxes to the American government and to the state they are working in. This would remove the motivation for undocumaented workers to travel to the US.

    Ron San diego

    April 10, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  27. Maurice Matthews

    First we should enforce the existing laws on the books to punish employers that hire illegal immigrants. The greed of some employers add to the confusion of how to handle the situation. The longer we procrstinate the cost keeps going up.

    April 10, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  28. JD in NH

    They should begin at the point of employment. If companies were assessed huge fines – or if someone went to jail – for hiring undocumented immigrants, the immigration problem would solve itself. People won't cross the border to work if they won't be hired.

    April 10, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  29. Tina Tx

    All I know I am glad I am not in his shoes. Either way he goes he will tick off someone. I don't know what the answer should be. I wish him luck.

    April 10, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  30. Donna Wisconsin

    Start putting the business owners in jail who hire Illegals. Isn't that law already on the books? Americans need jobs. Please ask the guy in 'tent city' if he would care to have a job picking tomatoes which includes a place to sleep. Just make sure everyone is paid minimum wage.

    April 10, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  31. Charles

    The border...secure it. This will ensure or at least significantly reduce the number of people who enter the country illegally. Until that is accomplished, I do not see how people on both side of the immigration issue can reach a compromise about what to do about the currently 12 million illegal/undocumented individuals in this country. I do not think anyone disagrees that the border needs to be secured. Start there first, then address the more controversial issues, such as amnesty and deportation.

    April 10, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  32. Ruby Coria LA., CA.

    Hi Jack, this one is easy, jail or go back & do it right, I am a naturalized citizen for 35 yrs. (I'm 40 now.) My parents applied, waited, & so on.. that's the path, not a reward for breaking the law. Jack, word got out that the U.S. gives free hospital care, (have all the babies you want) free food, housing, & a check to go with each kid. Those to the south know that, Americans are Not going to do Anything to them, but keep paying for all the off springs, we don't die we triple-ply. Jack, it's not even about jobs any more, it's about the benefits! I know, I will among them, & before 3-5 was a Mexican, now it's 1-5 is a Mexican, who took over, El Salvador (MS13), Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua & so on..by the way my father who worked @ the company for 35yrs. lost his job because he made $11.00 hr. & the guys who stayed make minimum-wage, & they are all illegal. Here in LA. in the "City of Industry" almost all the company's employ illegals, & it's not a secrete! NO, path but back. Let's not forget about the 12 million cousin's & the 12 million 2nd cousin's we have. Enough.

    April 10, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  33. Richard McKinney, Texas

    Wow jack. That is a hard question to answer especially since we don't even know which are illegal or how many of them there actually are. In order for America to begin to solve the illegal immigration problem we have to have secure borders which currently do not exist. I am not just talking about along the southern states either. If you can not control who or what comes across the border then you can not possibly control what is inside of it either.

    April 10, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  34. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    Deport all of the people that came here illegally,close the border and imprison all the employers that hired them.

    April 10, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  35. Dennis North Carolina

    Shutting down our boards would be the first place. Then remove the twelve plus millions that are here illegally. then put tough and fair laws in place to allow people to work and gain citizenship legally. The laws should also state that if you are not a citizen, you can not use or get public funds or systems such as schools, etc. We have been a country for over two hundred years which means that we take care of our own legal citizens before we help other people. people should not be homeless, hungry, jobless yet we go out of our way to take care of people who enter this country illegally. Our children come first not others.

    April 10, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  36. mike ca

    Finish the fence.
    More border guards.
    No Mexican trucks allowed in the US.
    Reauthorize E-Verify.
    Mike CA

    April 10, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  37. Judy in New Jersey

    Any viable solution to the immigration problem will include intense unpopularity with at least one segment of society. Obama simply has to choose which segment. He won't be able to please everyone, and whichever one he chooses will vilify him relentlessly. Sometimes it's tough to be a President!

    April 10, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  38. ken

    Any immigration reform involves Mexico. So (1), the President should contact the Mexican President, ( understanding their politics), and come to an agreement. What agreement? Do you (the Mexican President) agree that any Mexican should not enter the United States illegally, but obtain citizanship legally? It's a yes or no answer. If the answer is anything but this, we should do everything possible to stop illegal immigration!

    April 10, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  39. David Alexandria, VA

    Start by sealing the borders!!! Until we can control people entering this country illegally, we have no hope of setting any sort of policy at all. Next, set some realistic quotas for people of essential high skills and the general workforce - balance this regularly like you would a stock portfolio against the needs of the country and the unemployment rate. Third, get a guest worker program in place within the constraints of the quota system. Fourth, give the current people here some priority (but no gaurantee) of getting guest passes. Finally, ship everyone else home and don't get squeemish about all the latino voters you might hack off - there are a lot more people who would be hacked off by amnesty.

    April 10, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  40. Barbara, Texas

    I'm sick of illegals getting what they want in OUR country!!! It's time this country stand up and send the illegals packing. If we grant them amnesty once again, we will be buried in more and more millions of illegals. Just like before. And what happens to our social security and welfare, etc, when millions of illegals are allowed to draw billions more than they already get from us?? It's the LEGAL taxpaying citizens who are going to suffer in this mess..
    They should enforce the laws already on the books!! STOP giving and giving to these illegals!!!! START CARING ABOUT THE LEGAL AMERICAN CITIZEN!!!

    April 10, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  41. Larry, Ohio

    Jack,the very first thing that needs to be done is to secure the border,no matter what it takes.While that is being accomplished,anyone that ICE find that is a felon and is here illegally needs to be deported immediately.Enforce the laws that are on the books,whether Nancy Pelosi thinks it's unamerican or not,Almost everytime I hear this twit I think she is unamerican!!!!

    April 10, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  42. Karen - Nashville TN

    I would like to see a working set of rules that are logical and enforceable, and are applied without exception. For example, it frosts me when Chinese illegals claim they should be allowed asylum because they want more than one child. Ridiculous. Would I be allowed Chinese citizenship because I wished to skin snakes alive?

    April 10, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  43. Burt in Arizona

    How about just enforcing the laws already on the books. How can we be a nation of laws when the laws are ignored or the politcians refuse to fund the enforcement of them? We tried amnesty before and look what it got us, 12 million more illegal immigrants. I think it's time for the American people to rise up at the polls and vote everyone of the rascals out and put them in the unemployment lines like so many of the people they were elected to represent and protect.

    April 10, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  44. Sherri Illinois

    ECONOMY! ECONOMY! ECONOMY!!!. I think the President is getting pressure from certain individuals in Chicago and he should not bent to that pressure. The TOP PRIORITY for this administration is to get this country out of this recession & get the millions of jobless Americans employed again. Immigration reform can wait, I know their was bonafide neglect by President Bush and every conceivable group is banging on the President's door BUT not until this economy is back on solid ground again. Immigration reform should not a priority at this time! I never could understand what the hoopla was about because if they are in this country illegally and choose NOT to go thru the proper channels to become a citizen of the USA, then they should NOT be able to remain in the USA.

    April 10, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  45. Daniel Indiana

    We should begin with the corporations that are drawing in the illegals by hiring them and holding down wages so that "only illegals" will work those jobs. It is time to begin punishing those corporations for their illegal acts. Oops! I forgot. There is no real punishment for white-collar crime. That's the acts of the plutocratic oligarchs that are in charge of America and they sure aren't going to penalize themselves for making money or power.

    April 10, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  46. Antonia Mazza

    The first thing is to secure our border and actually mean it. Another thing just as important is to fine and jail employers who hire illegal aliens. employers have been getting away with breaking the law for years with no fear of legal consequences. What our Government should also do is not to automatically give citizenship to all the children born here of illegal aliens. Another thing, i resent giving amnesty to illegals. My family who came here legally from Italy had to wait several years before we were allowed to come here. The most important thing we did was learn English. All of us kids learned English without the benefit of bilingual teachers. Our schools did not have ESOL programs. As soon as was legally possible, we all became naturalized American citizens and yes that include our parents.

    Antonia, rockville, MD

    April 10, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  47. Mary - California

    Enforcing the laws that are already on the books and being fair to American citizens and that also includes Hispanics that have become American citizens. Keep E-Verify active in order to control Immigration.
    Americans should not have to live like rats and Hispanics who are here trying to become a U.S. citizen should not have to live like a rat either!

    April 10, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  48. James Lenon - Chuckey TN

    They should start at the border, Jack. Put up a sign up list for legal entry and hold them there until their table is ready. We've probably allowed two generations of illegals in since Reagan's amnesty so the wait shouldn't be more than 10-15 years.

    April 10, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  49. Keith - Twinsburg, OH

    jack, if there are 12 million & counting, he needs to secure the borders. If he doesn't then he'll have to deal with a number that keeps increasing.

    Stop the flow, then come up with a plan... First things first.


    April 10, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  50. Tony from Torrington

    Rewarding illegal or criminal acts is not presidential. It's important to hold employers of illegals responsible with heavy fines and /or imprisonment. Local law enforcement should work with Federal law enforcement to address the problem. It shouldn't be about getting more voters for Democrats. When the jobs are gone, illegals may go back home and try to come to the USA through proper channnels. Especially today when millions of American citizens are out of work, it's really not right to say the illegals are doing jobs Americans won't do. That dog won't hunt. That train has left the station.

    April 10, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  51. ANDRES SAENZ(Albuquerque, NM)

    Both of my parents were legal immigrants from Mexico. Now they are permanent legal US residents, and I became a naturalized US citizen on June 15, 2007. Boy, am I glad that they played by the immigration rules. So I'm strongly opposed to amnesty, it's just plain wrong on so many levels. I'm also opposed to the DREAM Act, which is a petition for children of ILLEGAL immigrants to get scholarship funds for college while they become US citizens, they want to use college as an excuse for an easy path to US citizenship.

    As for the 12 million illegal aliens in this country, they should all get their paperwork done with the US Immigration and Naturalization Services and pay all relevant fees just like my family did. And every single one of those people should go through an extensive background check just to make sure that they're not criminals.

    April 10, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  52. Hugh ~ Tracy, California

    Start by increasing fines and penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens, then suspend their license to operate, much like they do when liquor store or bar owners are found selling cigarettes or serving alcohol to minors. Without these changes employers will continue to hire illegals to lower their operating costs, which only hurts the American worker and legal aliens who are trying hard to find gainful employment.

    April 10, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  53. leonard wojtecki

    Why don't we just follow the laws we have in place and quit giving special treatment to Hispanics or for that matter anyone else. What is the point of having laws you're not going to enforce.

    April 10, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  54. steve in scappoose or

    If 12 million illegal aliens are in this country, and the President wants to make them legal, then SEND THEM HOME. That will answer that question.
    This is going to be another attempt at a bipartisan effort, so after the Republicans unanimously vote against the bill, we can let them drive the buses to the border, or maybe even beyond, to allow them some level of participation.

    April 10, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  55. Neil from Nassau County, N.Y.

    First of all, this new administration must begin on tackling immigration reform as soon as possible, let not the other issues overshadow the importance of fixing this issue which is also a national security matter. The amnestry plan annouced by the president is unbelievable and ridiculous for it says illegal immigrants, unlike us some of us who worked so hard to come to this great country in an orderly fashion way, could stay here causing any sort trouble here. We all know that they really love our American examples we put out, but they just can't arrive here without following the rules. It's doing more harm than good if illegal immigrants arrive and stay here. We the real people of America are losing our jobs due to them, having to get ourselves in trouble with the crimes they do, and our culture is being threatened by illegal immigration.
    I want to see the White House first stop the flow of illegal immigration by strengthing our borders. Alright once that is done, why not just deport these illegal immigrants back to where they came from? And then if they want to come to this country, allow them to do so in an orderly fashion in which they are checked and verified. Isn't that doing a real favor?

    April 10, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  56. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Simple, shut down the border. Severely limit immigration to only a few thousand a year (think Switzerland here). This country is way to overpopulated and we have no idea who many of these people are, what they are doing here and why they are here. Then when that is under control toss out everyone who is here illegally.

    April 10, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  57. Alex in Seattle

    Secure the border first and have the FBI track down people who overstay their visas. You have to do that first or another 12,000,000 will come after the first bunch of criminals get amnesty.

    April 10, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  58. Quanzale McMath

    I think the Government should start by making non-citizens to acknowledge for legalization, or face harsh prison time when caught.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  59. Kim - Blair, NE

    Now really Jack, if any of us common folks knew that answer, we could try running for political office.

    I continue to believe in our President. The problem is so big right now that he needs to get a start on figuring out a solution. It's going to take some time.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  60. kenneth morris

    at the border, then e-verify

    April 10, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  61. Chryssa

    They need to start by determining, and then publicizing, accurate numbers about illegal immigrants: how many are here, where they're from, how much they cost our country per year.

    Hateful rumors are flying about the situation, and the public needs to be educated before they'll appreciate any efforts made.

    Boise, ID

    April 10, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  62. Mike in Akron, OH

    With heavily penalizing the corporations that hire them.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  63. Irv Lilley

    Jack , Build a double or triple wall of concrete sound barriers along the length of the border.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  64. BBY

    The time to reform our broken immigration system is now. The few opponents to the reform will always try to come up with "reasons" to derail a course that helps the country.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  65. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    The White House should begin by punishing big businesses that employ illegal immigrants.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  66. Fred May Sr Spanaway WA.

    First and most important is the security of our borders and points of entry. Once our borders are secure then start to locate and deport all illegals back to thier homeland. For those who have been here for a long time (5 years or more) give them time to read the Constitution and understand its meaning. Once this is done take the oath of allegence and pay a small fine. These immagrants have been here and paid taxes bought homes and are upstanding citizens. If the before mentioned requirements are not met they will be deported.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  67. Linda in Arizona

    What difference does it make what I think? Sorry, I think illegals should be deported.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  68. Debbie

    Close the border and mean it. When that's done, Congress can have all the bipartisan discussions it wants.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  69. Chandler Tedholm - Rockaway, NJ


    Is it too much to ask that we start by controlling the borders? We can decide whether or not to let some people in, but can we at least recover the ability to choose who we let in?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  70. Mark B

    Simple, Start Enforcing Our Laws!

    April 10, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  71. Pat, Pa.

    By beefing up security on the borders so that no more get in illegally. Also, cut back on the folks who are coming in legally. We have to start somewhere.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  72. Josh

    He can start by enforcing the current laws of the land and crack down on illegal workplace hiring and by deporting those who are here illegal. When someone murders another person, do we give them amnesty because a small group of fellow murders say he should be given amnesty? No, we enforce the law. We are not a democracy but a republic which means a nation of laws.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  73. Kazeem Houston, Texas

    Hey Jack! I think its time. Unlike Bush this guys does not sweep issues under the rug.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  74. James TEXAS

    here is where theyshoudl start. Take all the illegal folks pack them up and send them home, then and only then if they want to come back make them do it thr right way like every other immigrant did.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  75. Agnes W,

    He should begin by sending all of the illegals back to their country. My grandparents didnt just walk in to the USA. They had to apply and have a job when they landed on our shore.
    If these illegals really want to be here – let them start the RIGHT WAY – AT THE BEGINNING and do what is Right..........

    April 10, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  76. meikoseymour

    ...probably with President Obama's aunt? I'm just sayin'

    April 10, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  77. Bonnie Richard

    President Obama: You must start immigration reform by removing ALL ILLEGAL immigrants from our country, from our work forces. They are using up our jobs and our monies. They must go home and come back legally.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:12 pm |

    STEP 1: Have the baseballs to stand up to the Hispanic community and GO AFTER the employers. Simple, no illegal jobs, no illegals

    April 10, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  79. Debug

    What is Obama Thinking? With millions of Americans unemployed this is really nuts. He also wants to increase the guest worker visas (h1b).
    Who will defend us, the American middleclass. Remember, they maybe American hispanics that voted for you, but there are more Non-Hispanics that help you get elected.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  80. John, Fort Collins, CO

    The Obama administration should work with the Mexican government to ecourage and help them improve their economy, create jobs, and control their population growth. Why would anyone on the bottom stay in Mexico if they can live a much better life in the U.S.? I know if I were in their shoes, I'd be headed north.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  81. Greg S

    I think they should begin by kicking all illegal aliens out of this country. Door to Door, Jobsite to jobsite. And lets be America again instead of Mexico.

    Nashville, Tn

    April 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  82. Lee In Minnesota

    If we wanted to continue on a do nothing path, we would have another Bush. It is time to put Congress to work working instead of meeting with and feeding the lobbyist. I have very happy that President has introduced multi-processing to Washington. We may finally get our moneys worth. Only the lazy do not like a busy agenda for reconstruction of America...OH..and world diplomacy

    April 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  83. Gerda

    The president should start just where he is starting–with a bipartisan committee to plow through all the options and come up with some overall recommendations By the time they finish, the economy should have quieted ddown and the politicians can start their debate. Tis should all be done before Obama's first term ends

    April 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  84. Allen

    Start by enforcing the Immigration Laws on the books. Get rid of anyone who is here illegally. They are dragging down our economy and self-worth as a country. Also, even though we all feel it's too late, our enemies are probably already here...but why make it even easier for them to cross the border. Put in stricft border enforcement NOW!
    Maybe even take a look at our current immigration policy and put it on HOLD for a while until we get OUR ACT TOGETHER first...

    April 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  85. Egberto Willies

    1. Get an accurate non-emotional assessment of who are the illegals and where they are. Note while we think we know what illegals look like there are many here from Europe, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada as well.

    2. Create computer simulations on the economy based on their loss or deportation.

    4. Legislate based on the facts including a humanitarian component.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  86. Steve dean

    He should have a simple, practical proposal. For example, anyone in the country for at least 5 years and who has children born here is give permanent residency but not citizenship. Others subject to deportation.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  87. Athean Whizenhunt

    fine them $5000-$10,000 for being in the country illegally and give them 6 months to get legal

    April 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  88. Missy Raleigh, NC

    Every place that hires people who are here Illegally should be shut down and then the gov. should take over and hire americans!! Deport them all!!!!!!!

    April 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  89. Joshua W.

    where should he start? he should start by hunting down and arresting the illegal aliens that are not only taking away American jobs. some are committing crimes against Americans with their affiliation with either the cartels or the Latin based gangs. its sickening that he would even propose offering them citizenship. this is not what i voted for.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  90. Jay in Texas

    A great place to start would be by fining and jailing employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens. But don't wait for that to happen as politicians in both parties are indebted to many of these businessmen for campaign contributions so, in effect, they have been paid to "look the other way".
    Brownwood, Texas

    April 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  91. Tom

    How about enforcing the laws we already have.

    Tom, albuquerque NM

    April 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  92. Rob Z

    Very simple: first close the borders and enforce; second, hold employers responsible that the people they hire are here legally; third, change the law so that children of people here illegally are themselves illegal. Take away the incentives to come in illegally. And, we may slow the movement of drugs, money and guns at the same time.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  93. Justin

    1. Close the borders
    2. start shipping illegals back
    3. Pass a law that abolishes citizen at birth for illegals children

    Simple no? Or will this affect his re-election possibilities?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  94. Ray Polen

    Kill two birds with one stone. Build an electric fence with ground sensors along the length and power the fence with solar or wind energy. This will create new jobs for AMERICANS and keep out drug traffickers and illegal immigrants. Spend some TARP money on ICE and send them home. Invoice Mexico for health and welfare bill created by illegals. If someones parents have to go, then they go. Want to stay in touch...get a phone.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  95. aaron

    Annex Mexico!

    1/3rd the land of the US.
    1/3rd the population.
    6 times the amount of coastal property.
    We can guard those coasts and build a much smaller wall at the Guatemala boarder.

    I'd love to live in the Baha peninsula with a 7/11 close by.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  96. Deleana Badger

    Begin at the border and just make Mexico the 51st state of the United States of America. Then we can continue with Canada as the 52nd and finally Cuba can be number 53.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  97. Bou

    As an immigrant in line and waiting my turn, I believe they should start with fixing USCIS. The time it takes to go through the complete process is way too long and cumbersome due to red tape, lack of personnel and proper training. Whatever they do, if they give amnesty to the illegals, they had better give automatic citizenship to those of us waiting patiently for years in this long and slow moving "legal" immigration line.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  98. Joseph Mehuna

    Always politicians say things which they dont meant it.Immigration issue is so tough in both aisle,Mr Obama must play his card careful before take this bill to congress.The good time do push this bill is now while his popularity is at max.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  99. Caroline

    The President should start by enforcing e-verify.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  100. Jacquelyn 16, Iowa

    I think that by addressing the drug cartel violence in Mexico, less immigrants would be fleeing to the U.S. for safety.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  101. Marie

    We love all people but we cannot afford to be all things to all people. The White House should see to it that stricter laws are put in place for companies that employ illegals. Hit them with extremely heavy fines and assure anonymity of whistle blowers.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  102. D Smith

    Right after they get the border sealed as tight as a crabs butt-waterproof

    April 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  103. ed burris

    the president can start by building a very large and extremely long
    fence, followed by canvassing every hispanic to see if they are here
    legally. if not legal, SEND THEM BACK and then if they still want to live
    in the u.s.a., do it legally. there is no other solution!!

    April 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  104. John Roger

    The immigration reform is long overdue.
    Currently there is no enforcement because there is no way to enforce it without breaking half of America businesses that depend on the illegal immigrant directly or indirectly.
    Let's pretend that it was possible to send 12million back where they were born, imagine what that would cause to the economy, the great depression would be nothing compared.
    There are different kinds of jobs and although there are a lot of citizen out of work, the majority of them are not competing with the illegal immigrant.
    There is only one solution to the immigration problem, it's to bring the undocumented out of the shadow then use the 21st technology that was not available when Reagan did the last reform to enforce the law.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  105. Lisa S

    Hello Jack,
    President Obama should come and live in Southern California where we have been paying for illegal alien needs for years and our state is now paying for it. Why should we let these people come in any easier than those who came here legally. My step-father came to this country in 1962 from Hungary and did all it took to become a citizen of this United States. My grandfather came through Elis Island NY in 1908 then worked his way to citizenship. If he gives all these people clear passage, he is just bastardizing those who came before.
    I thought the whole idea is to do this legally not illegaly. America has rules don't we?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  106. Val

    He should start by enforcing current law, and particularly those that pertain to the hiring of undocumented aliens. After that, he can further pretend to strengthen the bandaid we have stretched along our border. Anyone that hires an illegal immigrant from any country, or outsources any job, during a period of unparalleled economic downturn should share a desert island with Bernie Madoff and every derivative trader.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  107. Bill Montgomery

    I'm an independant, but usually vote Democratic because they are usually for the middle class. The one exception is illegal immigration. How can you be for the struggling middle class, or the poor for that matter, and want to help illegal immigrants? This is NOT a discrimination issue. I don't care if the illegal aliens are from England, Italy, France, or Mexico. If they snuck in illegally or overstayed their visa, GET THEM OUT!!!

    April 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  108. Rasheed Nazeri

    First, I don't know why we have such low expectations of our presidents–everyone is complaining about how much he's taking on.

    As for immigration, regarldess of how unpopular it may be, we cannot solve the problem if we ignore the fact that over 12 million illegal immigrants live, work and exist around us all over the nation.

    He must start by beefing up border security to limit more illegals coming into the US and addressing the question of what to do with those already here. Deportation is not plausible–or practical.

    Recognizing them as legal residents would allow them to pay taxes and be more productive members of society.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  109. Wayne

    I gotta ask why we continue to describe illegal immigration as if this is a Mexican immigration problem?

    Or, why do we only address less than a third of the real problem?

    Most illegal aliens taking jobs from Americans came in on temporary visas and just stay.

    Why do we discriminate against the Mexican and make it so difficult to get here, but we let millions of 'IT' workers come, stay, and continue to work ilegally?

    It is not enough that the jobs promised to be sent to Mexico, they were sent to India and China. Then they let the Chinese and Indians come here for the jobs. Now they want to make the illegal Chinese, Indian, and maybe some Mexican workers legal.

    Why does our government take care of foreigners as if they are American and does not take care of Americans?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  110. Derek Rollinson


    The solution to the immagration problem in this country is simple and two fold. Build a wall that run the whole length of the southern border, this accomplishes two things lowering the rate at which people can sneak in and it will create jobs! At the end of the day American citizens don't mind people coming here from other countries but they must sign the guest book on the way in!

    might be too simple for the folks in D.C. to think of

    April 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  111. Lance Schumacher

    How about starting by getting control of our borbers and then move to getting all the illegals returned to their own country, Once that is done, we can seriously consider streamlining the immigration policies/procedures and making it possible for legal immigrants to become part of the American dream. Any chance of this happening? I doubt it very much. Obama will "cave" to the special interests and declare amnesty, which have the same results as the previous one, more illegals flocking across in preparation for the next amnesty.
    Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    April 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  112. Ed

    No entilements, no benefits, no citizenship implies no emmigration problem. Just look at Switzerland or Germanty.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  113. Linda pegg

    Oh don't get me started!!!!!!!!!! Yes, Mr Obama if you want just 4 years in the white house this would be a good way. Bring our troops back from Iraq and send them door to door If you are not in this country the right way. Have buses ready and ship them back. They did it to the Japaneese. No wonder our economy is in such a mess. Look at what these illegals are costing this country. In medical,jobs.welfare on and on. Now they don't want to inforce immigration during the census. Please!!! Do you think they are going to even answer the door. Also look at what the Mexican Drug Traffic is costing us. We could go on and on. Lets send them south. You think if I do something illegal I won't get a ticket or arrested. Why are the Mexicans any different. I am 55 years old and have worked all my life two and three jobs. I am fed up with it. You take a survey and I am sure 75% of the Americans feel the same.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  114. ken m.

    J ack , the best start is no start, open every job in america to americans first, i belive now there will be no problem to fill these job, hispanacs go and free your own country, gang bangners and all. ken

    April 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  115. HD in Phoenix, AZ

    By totally securing the border between the US and Mexico. Our immigration system is not broken. If there is anything that is broken here it has been the fact that our nation's congress never upholded our countries immigration laws and the fact that the US southern border is wide open to anyone to infiltrate the country.

    HD in Phoenix, Arizona

    April 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  116. Charlene Choate

    We should start by changing the law so that any child born in the US of illegal aliens is automatically a citizen of the place from which the aliens entered illegally and not a US citizen! This is a major place that they gain access to our services and break our economy. We have to provide services to all US citizens, so the entire family is allowed to stay because they came here to have their babies.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  117. Konrad Kuczak

    Immigration reform should begin immediately with the arrest, conviction and imprisonment of employers who have hired illegal aliens. If the illegals could not look forward to jobs in the U. S., they would not emmigrate. A couple of perp walks would do more than all the legislation congres could enact.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  118. Jim Blevins

    Jack, you act like this is your country - your ancestors stole it from the rightful owners. Perhaps if you remember that the people you are so adamant to keep out have more rights to this country than you, the president will have a much easier time resolving this problem.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    April 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  119. Terry Gloege

    As it relates to illegal immigration, President Obama should begin when President Bush and President Clinton should have begun. He should take immediate steps to secure our borders and see to it that we enforce current law. He could also take a trip to Maricopa County Arizona and learn a thing or two from Sheriff Orpaio.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  120. Jeff Traylor

    Jack it's simple, export 1 illegal for every job lost.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  121. Ron

    After the President gets the economy in order, he should start trying to have our current laws enforced. We don't need new ones.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  122. Ray Bell

    They should start by cleaning out their own "HOUSE". Those who are NOT doing what they are elected to do.
    I am a Canadian and am glad I live in Canada.
    I see the U.S. Government bringing the U.S.A. to it's knees. For what reason?? Why are they hell bent on destroying a great country??

    When I saw Obama and Gytner chatting on camera they were like two little kids, happy with what they are doing. You need REAL leaders.

    Just for your information, Mr. Cafferty, just be glad that Bush had the initiative to go into Iraq. Things would be worse than 9/11 if he didn't.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  123. Bruce Marshall

    Jack they can begin by closing the boarder, send the 101st and 82nd if need be. How many terrorist are coming in to the this country??? Home land what??? And I want 12 million from Europe let in also. It is like it is ok to rob a bank as long as I pay the tax on what I steal.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  124. Evelina Fernandez

    It makes perfect sense to tackle immigration during the current economic turmoil. The truth is that our economy has depended on this low-paid workforce for years. Isn't it time that we face up to that fact and figure out how to deal with it? If employers, including American families, did not depend on undocumented workers, they would not be here. They are here because we want them here and businesses need them here, period. Come on, lets get real!

    April 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  125. Jason

    Im in the US Army and I feel anyone illegal that can speak english should be required to join the armed forces to get their citizenship..

    April 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  126. CAS

    He should start by fixing Employment Based immigration system. The EB2/EB3 based immigrant came to US legally, pay taxes and are productive. However, they are stuck for 10-20 years in immigration system. Many of these could buy house but dont because they are not certain of USCIS policies.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  127. Bob

    Jack, i'd start with an IRS style investigation that issues fines to employers of illegal workers. That should help with revenue right off the bat, and legal workers would also benefit right away. Running raids on workers is totally rediculous.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  128. Emma, CA

    Hi Jack,

    Trying to deal with this issue is complicated. Especially when there are 12 million people who violated our laws so long ago and have somehow maintained living and working "in the shadows."
    Who are we kidding, the were able to do it because companies broke our laws to begin with by hiring them. So what should be the first thing President Obama should do........enforce the e-verify law for employers..........NO Butts!! Second and at the same time........secure our borders with fences, reserve troops, and more border patrol agents with lots of dogs. Also, he can start by giving Ramos and Campeon their jobs back!!

    April 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  129. Sly, Alpena, Mi

    The first thing The White House should tackle before they even talk about Immigration reform is to Totally: Secure Our Boarders.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  130. Bryan

    Start by not rewarding illegal activity. I have many friends, who went through the legal process to enter this country. If you give illegal immigrants amnesty, you will be slapping legal immigrants in the face. Take care of the U.S. right now.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  131. flying wolf, Manchester NH

    Start with e-verify! Bring it back! And if President Obama wants to be like FDR, bring back the wpa and get unemployed American teenagers working at farms and other jobs that have been taken over by illegal aliens.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  132. Kent

    I brought my wife here LEGALLY!!! It cost me alot, to hear the President or ANY politician telling me that illegals can stay make me very mad as well as all the others that played by the rules.
    Maybe everyone should remember one thing, these people are ILLEGALLY, and the last time I checked a dictionary the word illegally it was against the law. Aren't me a nation of LAWS???

    April 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  133. James, Charlotte, NC

    The beginnings of all solutions are in formulations of ideas and policies. The government has to deal with it and by continuing to waste time on interviews and elections the problems never get resolved. Thanks to our current President who wants to work on decade unresolved problems. Start now by talking about it and forming correct policies!

    April 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  134. Citizen

    The working class of this country has been hit hard for decades now by our countries trade policies. Just what we dont need is millions of illegals filling and driving down the wages, of the few working class jobs we have left.
    How many jobs must we, the American people, loose before our "leaders" start representing our interests, instead of there own?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  135. Patricia Prospect, CT

    The first thing that congress needs to do is to amend the constitution to read that you are NOT automatically a citizen just because you are born here. You must be born of parents who a LEGALLY here and your parents must be citizens themselves.
    That will stop the whole debacle of children being born of illegal immigrant parents being citizens while their parents are not. Then it will stop all the bleeding hearts who say you can't deport the child because it is a citizen and you can't deport the parents because you are ripping a family apart.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  136. Judith Nicholson

    I voted for Obama because I trust him and his ability to delegate wisely. Whatever he thinks is best for our country...probably is.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  137. stokulapoke

    If an individual is here legally, they will have the rights of an American citizen, which means they will be paid a reasonable wage and have more money to spend on businesses. This circulation of revenue is exactly what we need to generate the economy.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  138. Oscar (Wahiawa, Hawaii)

    Legalizing immigrants is a great idea however it doesn't make sense when more immigrants are slipping in illegally. Pre. Obama should fix the border by building more walls and expanding the border patrol agents.

    Hey right there! More jobs for unemployed Americans!

    April 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  139. Ronald Campos

    I think he should start by helping families come together. For example I have been married for the past 1 year and 8 months in July it will be 2 years. But where is my wife she is still in Costa Rica!!! Why??? She should be here with me but shes not. Paper work paper work paper work its really sad when you used to be so proud of this country but now im not so sure im so proud im sick!!! Thats where he should start by helping those families be together. I was born here in NJ im an American the longest it should take is maybe 3 months thats it its been almost 2 years. This country makes me sick...

    April 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  140. David

    To "fix" the immigration system in the United States, the government should start with the employers. If there are no jobs, the illegal immigrants won't come here. Make it a FELONY (1+ years in prison) for an employer to knowingly hire an illegal immigrant. Make it a misdemeanor (up to 1 yr in prison) for them to not fire an illegal immigrant within a week if they find out they are illegal after they have been hired. Then, fine the business 100,000 dollars for every illegal immigrant, with the fee waived if they hire a legal citizen to replace them. Enforce this with regular raids and workplace checkups.

    Detroit, MI

    April 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  141. david doherty

    He first should make it desirable to leave the country and try to enter it
    legally, perhaps with a program that gives self deported immigrants points for the fact that they did leave. After a criminial background check (which would make them unable to enter the US) if they do have a record. This could kill two birds with one stone

    April 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  142. Festus

    The immigration system is really broken... even LEGAL immigration. I have been in this country LEGALLY for 12 YEARS. First as a student and now on H1B. The back log goes back to about 10 years. Now I stand the risk of loosing my job. Guess what I become ILLEGAL the moment I get the pink slip. No time to sell my houses and return to my home country. I think that is inhumane. I have paid enough taxes, carried out community services etc. I think I deserve to be considered for a green card.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  143. Ei

    A good place to begin is with using e-verify and fines for employers so we can give the 7 million jobs the illegals are doing back to the good american citizens. It would cut down on unemployment and the illegals would go home by themselves. Wouldn't cost us a cent.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  144. Alan - Buxton, Maine

    They should begin with e-verify. No person who entered this country illegally should be able to get a job here. These people are in violation of our laws, have to steal our social security numbers and use fraudulent documents to gain employment. They overburden our social service systems, pay few if any taxes and send their money back to their own countries. Enforce the laws and there will be no reason for these people to remain here. We allow hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants every year we don't need illegals swarming across our borders.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  145. Jason

    Fixing immigration starts with viewing it as a supply and demand issue. There's a demand for cheaper labor here (how does that help the standard of living again?) which the illegal immigrants supply. We end that by making it so expensive to hire an illegal, those employers will find it more economically feasible to hire Americans and legal immigrants at legal, and decent, wages. Fines and real jail time are great sticks. The carrot? They stay out of jail and in business.
    This must also be accompanied by massive reforms in Mexico so the citizens there don't feel like working here illegally is a better option.
    The only negative effect is paying a bit more for fresh produce. Onlly a person's own conscience and pure greed will determine if the added cost is worth eliminating this increasingly dangerous and uncontrolled situation.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  146. Ken in NC

    If the Obama Administration wants to start tackling immigration reform they need to start at the border. Secure the border and then give any person in this country illegally 30 days to come forward and star the process to make themselves legal. After 30 days, any one found in this country illegally shall be imprisoned for not less than one year and upon release, they shall be deported to their home country.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  147. Raj

    Start by looking at the constitution, if only politicians would be elected to enforce it rather than to show boat.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  148. Rolando DePuy

    Jack I suggest that Obama (gather all the Illegal Aliens) and return them to their country. Our Country is suffering the consequences of the Mexican Goverment (getting Richer) and export their problems. It's time that we charge the Goverment of Mexico $5,000.00 for each Illegal that we have to return tyo their country, along with the cost of all the crimes they come here to do.
    I can't believe that all goverments that we have, have to do this.... Are they getting paid under the table for each Illegal we accept?????
    I was for Obama, but when he puts in the back burner, Social Security and other emergencies we have in this country like work et al
    then he has been bought!!! Another sold out Goverment official

    April 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  149. Dorothy J. Martin

    The very first thing should be to secure the border. Then we can talk about how to make paths to whatever.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  150. Diane/Allentown, PA

    By rounding up every person demonstrating with a foreign flag Jack and send them back to own their country they love so much. This sense of entitlement – where does that come from???

    My four grandparents and many aunts and uncles came to America through Ellis Island from Scotland and Ireland, they were willing to work to make a life for themselves and our family. They became US citizens as soon as possible. They did not arrive expecting the US overnment and citizens to support them. They followed the laws of their new home. They paid their taxes.

    I don't believe we should have to support the people who believe things are done to them and for them, but never BY them Jack.

    We have immigration laws and creating a "path" to citizenship?? We've always HAD a path – they just choose not to follow it. My family followed that path along with millions of others, and were proud to do so, if they followed it, then everyone follows it.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  151. don


    Anyone who's mother can't join the DAR should be made to leave.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  152. Walker Elliott Rowe

    I am an unemployed IT worker and farmer displaced from my job by Indians on visa programs. Start by requiring all employers including those in agriculture to use the eVerify program. My Mexican friends are all working in agriculture using stolen social security numbers so it makes it difficult for me to find work on other people's farms because there is a ready supply of migrant workers who either pay no FICA tax or work using stolen numbers. This drives down wages for everyone in farming.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  153. Terry in Fayetteville, NC

    They should put as much US labour as possible to the task of finishing the border fence to the south. Isn't there a job shortage? When the border is secure and the highly successful e-Verify program is fully deployed, then, and only then, can consideration be given to people here illegally.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  154. Estalene Harrington

    in an article March 10 New York Times an article called Workers Without Borders made the most sense I've seen re: immigration. It suggests an international worker's union. People could move between jobs, and be free to expose abusive employers. They would flow to regions with a shortage workers, and be able to return to their homc countries. They would have to promsie to report employers that violated labor laws and could lose their visas by breaking that promise. Etc-etc.

    I encourage everyone to read that article.

    E Harrington

    April 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  155. Mike

    Hi Jack:

    Everybody is talking about illegals because they have the vote. I would say that President Obama should tackle legal immigration first and then illegal because that too is broken. The usual proposal which comes up in every senate bill is path to legalization for illegals living in US for 5 years. These bills specifically say that guy have to be undocumented to be eligible for amnesty. What about legal immigrants living in country legally for 5 years. They are specifically excluded because they don't have enough votes – which is the ultimate deciding factor here. I have uncles who came to this country illegally and were given Amnesty by Regan. I decided to follow the legal route, and here I am in a limbo for more than 5 years and my uncles saying that I would have been better of if I would have come illegally. SO IN ALL WHAT MATTERS IS VOTES and NOT THE LAW.

    Chicago, Illinois

    April 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  156. Helen

    Why is making immagrants legal such a bad thing, they just do the jobs that nobody in these united states don't want to do. They also pay in to taxes and social securtiy like everyone else only they don't get the benefits. I worked for a man who hired illegals at $3.00 an hour then decucted for lunch which they didn't have and he worked them hard. I feel for them, heck we send money to Iraq to rebuild their country and we cry about people that come here to work and live a decent life. What happened to compassion and caring for others? I sometimes am ashamed of the people who are crying about illegals costing us so much without any record of how much they contribute to our society. That boss I worked for deducted all the taxes from their pay and then paid them only after weeks of making them wait for their money....

    April 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  157. Lisa D. Coconut Creek FL

    I think immigration reform is way overdue! With millions of illegals in the country, it's a problem that's not going away and it's needs to be addressed. These people are here and rather than costing the government and tax payers money in welfare programs, they should have a legal oppertunity for a beeter life and improved work conditions. Besides, they are not stealing american jobs when they do the work that educated americans don't want.
    When was the last time you stood waitibg for a day labor job to pick fruit?? That asumption is rediculous. We are all immigrants in one way or another. I commend the President for standing up for what is right!
    Lisa D

    April 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  158. Teresa Everhart

    Enforce the laws we already have on the books. Deport any illegals when caught. Use e-verify and fine any business for hiring them. It doesn't matter how long they have been living illegally in this country, they broke our laws to get here and should leave. They should go through proper channels if they want to live in this country. Amnesty is unfair to those who have and are trying to come to America legally.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  159. LaMar Peterson

    Round up all the illegal's and send them back home. It is time to defend our boarders. We have enough problems taking care of our own.

    Thank you

    LaMar I Arizona

    April 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  160. michael

    anybody that loves america should support the president on this and see to the success beause he is bringing back what and how america was built even before the nez perce's war in 1877 which is free world for all and america will only get better if he did succeed on immigration reform which means bringing back the hope of america

    April 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  161. Arnold

    The President says he will "remove incentives" for immigrants to come to the U.S., but amnesty is the biggest incentive of all! We should not consider anything about immigration until the border has been securely sealed so that any "immigration reform" will not spur another tidal wave of illegal immigrants. The answer to the problems of Mexico or any other country is not to invite their citizens here to the U.S.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  162. Rasheed Nazeri, University of Richmond, VA

    Start by stepping up security measure at the border to limit new additions to the illegal immigrant population and finding a way to deal with the 12 million plus who are already here. Unpopular as it may be, we have little choice but to legalize them–deportation is simply unfeasible.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  163. Brad Tinkham

    Jack – Start by having our spineless Congress legislate against the employers of these people. Make every employer have to prove that his employees are all citizens or LEGAL aliens. Fine the hell out of those who hire and feed these parasites. Prohibit anyone employing illegal aliens from any government business and/or tax incentives.


    Hummelstown, Pa.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  164. Martin Gray

    Obama will self destruct on this one. It will never happen. Forcing Amnesty on an unwilling population and remaking the ethnic make up of the United States will lead to armed insurrection. This is so tone deaf it's beyond belief.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  165. Steve

    I came to this country legally, and worked hard to get my citizenship. Thinking that people can just cross the border illegally and in time get citizenship is not fair to all of us who got here the hard way. American dreams is truly a blessing, but it is a right just to anybody, you have to work for it. If you're illegal, you need to go back to your country, and come back legally.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  166. Randy - Denver CO

    I think the best place to begin is to find out what the reality is. Do illegal immigrants hurt the economy or do they help the economy? Once we know the truth then we can decide should we make legalization easier or harder? If it is made easier should we just state that if you have lived here and worked here, and can show proof, for over 10 years with NO crimminal charges (save minor traffic infractions) you should be allowed to stay after paying some fee ($5,000?). If harder should we make it an automatic prison sentence of 10 years and ALL bills associated with that sentence forwarded to the government of the country they come from. Simple, helps those who are not hirting us and minimizes the chance of those who are causing the problems of being allowed to stay.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  167. Jeff Archer

    There is only one place to start , closing the borders and work from within.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  168. Simon in Syracuse, NY

    Mr. Obama, tear down this wall. It wouldn’t be fair to the tens of millions of poor, starving souls and rabid terrorists hunkered down at our border, chomping at the bit to cross over the line to receive their rightful portion of the American Pie if we merely granted amnesty to the scant 12 million illegal aliens already in this country. It’s high time to spread the wealth (and the misery), not just locally but globally.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  169. sandy

    I think it’s odd that the children of illegal aliens are automatically us citizens; there are many countries in which that is not the case. I believe that changing this policy would be a strong disincentive to many illegals as many come here for the purpose of child birth. I can however go along with permanent residency for the children given that it was not their choice to come here.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  170. Jerry Kronenfeld

    We should begin exactly as the President has begun. For an issue as complex and controversial as immigration, serious representatives from across the spectrum of opinion need to work together to define the critical issues, identify alternatives, and then to chart a path to a reasonable, feasible alternative.

    Our current policy is failing and causing great harm. Ad hoc solutions forced down people's throats have not gained traction. For an issue as contentious as this, process and not emotions is the only way to go. That is one of the reasons that your remark (about President Obama squandering his approval rating on this issue) may be good, flashy showmanship but fails the test of being a serious statement.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  171. Bob

    Jack Obama isnt going to tackle Illegal immigration in any way that will upset Mexico. he does not care that U,S. citizens are struggling to find work. he only cares about those who will finance his next wild idea about the economy and who we can bail out next. He doesnt even understand who owes who respect. The King of Saudi should have been on his knees to Obama after we saved thier Bacon

    April 10, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  172. Andrew

    Legalize drugs so the criminals have no reason to come here in the first place and stop the war on drugs. its not working. At the same time we can secure our boarders completely and catch the illegal ones already here, offer them schooling or military service.

    Miami fl

    April 10, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  173. Cyrus


    People need to understand the difference between an "Amnesty" and "Legal pathway". No one has advocated for an amnesty for 12+ million illegal immigrants in this country. Even the most ardent supporters are in favor of a penalty and illegal immigrants getting behind the line, which could take up 10 years.

    Beyond the stupid anti-immigrant rhetoric, Lou Dobbs' rant about breaking social order, and sheer xenophobia, this is about economics. If 12 to 25 million law abiding illegal immigrants pay a $2,500 penalty, pay back taxes since their arrival, and get back in the line and continue to pay taxes till they become citizens, we can increase our tax base and U.S. would earn an additional $1.8 trillion PER YEAR in tax revenue.

    People want to see budget deficit reduce and we decrease borrowing from China? Then we can either print more money or increase the tax base. Legalization is the answer.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  174. Vincent

    I think Immigration reform time is now it is important for the country, there will be always a reason to don't have a reform "Economy" or any other reason but the need of the reform is real and the issue will be always there untill the goverment fixt it

    April 10, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  175. Brandon Fureigh

    My wife is a LEGAL Immigrant to this country. It was a long, expensive, and emotionally 8 months. Two people living off of one persons salary is difficult in these economic times, especially in cities like LA. By the time my wife got her status approved and was able to LEGALLY pursue work opportunities, there were no jobs for her to get. She has a Masters Degree in International Business and couldn't even get a minimum wage job for like 6 months.

    You want to start somewhere Mr. President, how about shutting down the boarder. Make sure no one is crossing the boarder illegally. You have to stop the bleeding, then you can take out the scalpel. Then fine the ones that are here, deport the ones that have been convicted of crimes or do not have children, and have the ones you grant Permanent Residence Status that have no money to pay a fine pay it off in community service or military service, or they can opt to go back to whatever country they came from.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  176. Warren, Illlinois

    Obama just wants to get his illeagl aunt , whom is supposed to be deported, a way to stay. Enforce the laws we already have.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  177. Chris

    Those who entered the country illegally must be sent back to their homeland. We're a nation of laws. That's it. No negoiation. We can't saved the world. We're the most hated nation in the world, yet still everyone want to come here. Sent them home.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  178. Lois

    They should begin by hiring BLACKWATER, USA to do what all the talking heads can't. or won't.

    Phoenix, Arizona

    April 10, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  179. PopGuy

    Start with an earnest enforcement of current immigration laws. Provide incentives for illegal entrants to self-deport, such as aying for their transportation home (it's cheaper for us in the long run). Then, zip up the borders and ports with a combination of border patrol, national guard and high tech surveillance.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  180. marilyn b.

    Since the illlegals already have broken the law by being here, they should be sent back from whence they came. Staying here would be like a Ponzi pyramid. They woulld be at the bottom working for little which would bring the wage scales on the next rung of the ladder lower, etc., etc. Plus more money would be spent in the welfare system to help support them. It is a lose, lose situation. Plus , the senior citizens' Social Security would not be raised sensibly even though many have worked 30 and 40 plus years. The money has to come from somewhere.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  181. Marjorie Lominy

    3 points:
    Border Control
    Border Control
    Border Control

    April 10, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  182. Arnold

    The President says he will “remove incentives” for immigrants to come to the U.S., but amnesty is the biggest incentive of all! We should not consider anything about immigration until the border has been securely sealed so that any “immigration reform” will not spur another tidal wave of illegal immigrants. The answer to the problems of Mexico or any other country is not to invite their citizens here to the U.S.

    Arnold from Los Angeles, CA

    April 10, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  183. Raoul New Orleans, La

    Most of the solutions proposed are a Pandora's box of wars on non-entities, i.e. war on poverty, war on drugs, etc. This is an economic quality of life issue which will only be solved when we work in concert with Mexico and Central America to improve access to economic opportunity there. We should provide a pathway to citizenship for the illegal aliens here, because the witch hunt will cost too much money with no results (see war on drugs). By the way, anyone who is against amnesty should boycott all produce and products which are suspected of production with illegal aliens.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  184. John, NC

    People with British and Irish, or even Mexican ancestors(To mention some) should be so glad they don't have to be in the situation of so many illegal immigrants today. Many of these people created the now immigration laws. For some may seem fair, but the truth is that so many illegals are well deserved a chance to live the "american dream" as we call. Most of illegal DO PAY THEIR TAXES, and work very hard. Rules should take place of course in case of any reform. Yes Lou, WE NEED ACTION on this issue! Not anyone should get the privilege. They need to prove they work hard for it.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  185. Willa, East Stroudsburg, PA

    We once solved a mouse problem using a three prong approach:
    1. We sealed up the crack in the basement, garage access and front door (entryways).
    2. We caught the mouse (humane trap) and removed him to a nearby field.
    3. We adopted a barn cat with an attitude and very long whiskers

    April 10, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  186. Rose in Az

    How about enforcing the laws we already have. Recognize what the meaning of the word "illegal" really means. I think going after the employers is the best start, fine them big time.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  187. Lee

    I think they should outline what reform is needed and streamline it where it will not harm or hurt Americans in the long run.

    There is so much spectulations about what it would or will look like, that nobody knows. I think like the President said, he need to put it up and let the People review it and vote on it that it should be law or not.

    Just an ideal.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  188. Bob

    Given our current unemployment situation, he can begin by enforing our current immigration laws and beefing up border and port security. Now is not the time to reward people for breaking the law even though it is our own fault for letting it get to this point.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  189. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    How about enforcing the immigration laws that are already on the books? If anyone is in America illegally there should be no support of any kind. We have our own to look out for first. Isn't that a novel idea?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  190. Michelle Centreville VA

    They should start by enforcing the laws as they promised in 1986. They gave 3 million illegal aliens amnesty and promised us that would be it. A one time deal. They said they would secure the border and bust any employer who hired illegal workers. Here we are 20 years later with millions more illegals and no enforcement of immigration laws. Does Obama really think that giving 20 million illegal aliens amnesty is going to stop illegal immigration? If so I've got a bridge to sell him in Brooklyn.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  191. Denise

    Gee Jack, it doesnt' take a Harvard degree to answer that one.

    How about enforcing the immigration policies that we already have.
    What a concept.

    What doesn't this administration understand about the word "illegal"?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  192. maria, california

    We need to enforce the laws that we already have. If employers faced penalties, fines and imprisonment for real then we would see a lot of this problem go away. We also need to stop paying out benefits and giving services to those illegally here. We have to stop dangling the magnets. Also get rid of the whole anchor baby thing. You need to have one parent a citizen in order to become a citizen at birth. And they need to stop with the chain migration. In a time when we have millions unemployed, millions underemployed and millions about to run out of all unemployment benefits we need to focus on getting the country back first. Of course the borders should be secure. I don't understand why we will defend other countries borders but not our own! It just seems that if you are here illegally right now that everything is being given to you and everyone is fighting for you. What happened to fighting for the American people first? That isn't protectionism. That is just common sense.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  193. Jim Corrigan

    I don't know why they always say our immigration system is broken. The only thing that is broken is our immigration laws aren't being enforced. The president should start by taking the following action.

    1) Enforce our existing immigration laws.
    2) Call for Congress to mandate all employers to use the E-Verify system.
    3) Send the National Guard and seal the border until we regain control.

    Jim Corrigan
    Somonauk, Illinois

    April 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  194. Anne

    It's hard to believe that our intelligent president cannot see the harm legalizing aliens will do the US and to himself. No president can take care of everyone but his caring must start at home. I say send them home and use our resources for veterans, seniors, home owners, teachers, those without health care and on and on. If we can do that, we can look at how worthy those who choose to cheat their way to staying in the US.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  195. Linda

    In Arizona we voted to fine businesses that hire illegals to the point of closing the businesses. Our sheriff, Joe Arpiao, got right to work, then the Mayor decided to remove $1Milliion from Joe's budget because he was getting yelled at by the illegals. Yikes! Even when we vote it in the government works against us. To date, no businesses have been charged, but if this were a national plan, it could make a difference. Now they have just moved to some other state.

    NPR even had a little piece saying finally the children of illegals are turning of age and can give the illegals a voice -like they deserve one! I told my husband we should move to Mexico become citizens then we can move here illegally and our kids can go to any college for instate tuition. Also, we wouldn't have to pay for insurance and we could get it all free. California made a big deal welcoming them all and now their bankrupt and blame the Feds for letting them all in. Incredible.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  196. Joe D

    Not only no but HELL NO! Have we have become so politically correct that we think we need to invite another 20 million illegals into the US.

    In my little town of Rock Hill, SC one of the largest garden nurseries hires illegals almost exclusively. Others need not apply. This is wrong. I think we need to deport all illegals and go after the thousands of employees that hire them.

    Some say we are a nation of immigrants. True. But we used to have only a few million people. In 30 years we will have 450 million in the US. Mostly from recent immigrants and all the babies they have. In this century we may exceed the population of China. We need to stop immigration now. For our grand and great- grand children's sake.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  197. Paul

    In a simple word – deportation!
    We are quick enough to enforce speeding laws, drug laws, laws against murder and other mayhem, which are ILLEGAL. So, if we know someone is ILLEGALY here then simplly enforce the law(s) already on the books.
    No new laws or programs or committees are needed just the WILL to enforce those laws, which my parent's parents had to follow.
    Perhaps, here in the computer age, someones needs to consider that we the legal voting citizens, vote on line about how WE want our laws enforced.
    Thanks for your time.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  198. David

    Mount Vernon, NY
    I think that President Obama should start with passing the Dream Act, but should fix the economy first. If he keeps multitasking like this, the country may end up worse, and the unemployment rate would increase. Even though we see "rays of hope", there are still millions of breadwinners that are receiving pink slips, and have to tell their family the bad news.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  199. John from Waterbury, CT

    Stop the flow. Build a wall at our borders 50 feet high, 50 feet deep and loaded with sensors, cameras, etc. Hire more Border Police, tighten up security at our ports and costal area's. It'll never happen of course. It's just too logical but it is nice to dream about living in a country with a goverment that concerns itself with its citizens security.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  200. Peggy

    He should start by sending them home. They are not only taking the american jobs, but they have the system figured out. They don't pay taxes but get all the benifits. Food stamps, free health care, they drive on the roads with no insurance so again they don't pay. They drive drunk, and then they hit and run. How come the police is not stopping them. Look at the school teacher just killed in NJ on Wednesday. If americans drove on the roads this way you would be locked up. They also get unemployment benifits. How do they do that without a SS#. If they have one they are stolen identities. The mexicans are taking over the country with our governments blessing. I know I'm paying thru the nose and can't get help. Why are we continuing to pay for them?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  201. terry

    1. stop all immigration for one year – legal and at the borders – military if needed
    2. have all immigration employees work on existing claims and finish
    3. round up all illegals and deport
    4. restart immigration after the above has been finished

    April 10, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  202. Bob Skinner

    Obama could start by moving all illegal immigrants 2,000 miles to the South!

    April 10, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  203. Andre R. Newcomb

    "Don't let the screen-door hit you on your way out." . . . and then apply for proper documentation through the proper process.

    Andy of Sierra Vista, Arizona

    April 10, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  204. BigD Northern Minnesota Freedom Fighters

    Jack, they don't come Much More NAIVE than Me! (disclaimer) But, Now with Everything that's "Come Home to Roost" (phrase repopularized by Rev.Wright along with "Divisive,") come home to Roost + Rain on Obama's Parade of "Actually Going for It + Trying to Actually Get Things Done, It's Understandable that Some May Get Cold Feet!
    Obama has the Smarts, Charisma, Work Ethic, Perseverance, Confidence + Most of All the INTUITIVE MOXIE to Affect the US Government Much in the Same Way as the "Harlem Globetrotters" Changed Basketball Forever! Multi-Tasking is the Fuel + the Style of a "Get it-Done" Capable President That Just Doesn't Come Along that Often. God Bless America!

    April 10, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  205. luke

    The legislation under Ted Kennedy in 1986 passed an amnesty bill declaring that we need to bring these people out of the shadows. Every argument the Democrats pro-amnesty people made in 1986 they are doing again in 2006, 2007, 2008, and now in 2009. The other part of that amnesty bill was how we were going to secure our borders and control immigration. In 1986 4 million people got amnesty, there are reports there could be up to 20 million illegal immigrants now. The federal government has not secured the border, has not enforced immigration laws. At the state and city levels you have sanctuary states and in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Until the federal, state, and city governments are willing to enforce the law you will continue to have this problem.
    Just this year the federal government did a immigration raid in Washington, instead of deporting those people they were given work permits. In Boston a woman was ordered deported in 1994 and 1998, she is living in public housing and still seeking asylum status and stay in the US. How can the Democrats take up this issue when the won't inforce the laws we currently have?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  206. Joe

    Jack, the plan is out there. All you have to do is to get into the pockets of the employer. It’s not a new plan, but if an employer has an employee without a legal Social Security Number then they can’t deduct there wages. Watch and see how the fight to let the illegal stay in this country looses popularity. It’s all about the money.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  207. rick

    jack:i live outside tombstone az. 35 miles from nogales about 50 from naco. the one and only reform we think appropriate is to seal off this siv of a border. anything and anyone could come through. the border patrol is so out manned and out gunned they don't have a prayer of a chance to control the situation. it is time for the military or gaurd to man the border.as far as illegals already here they should be returned to their country of orgin. both my maternal and fraternal grandparents came through ellis island,i guess it's just not fast enough for some people. thanks rick

    April 10, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  208. Karen - Nashville TN

    I would like to see a working set of rules that are logical and enforceable, and are applied without exception. For example, it frosts me when Chinese illegals claim they should be allowed asylum because they want more than one child. Ridiculous. Would I be allowed Chinese citizenship because I wished to skin snakes alive?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  209. Richard Wagner

    I don't really care where he starts, just start but make it for real. Something needs to be done yesterday!

    We have heard many promises. It would really be nice to hear that some of them are being fulfilled.

    As far as the illegals that are already here are concerned. Can we even consider the expense of rounding them up and shipping them home? No way!

    Spend our time and money finding a way to put them all on the tax roles!

    April 10, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  210. Vivian

    Start by penalizing companies that hire illegal aliens. Next – people should realize these folks are ALREADY competition for our jobs, why do you think they come here? If they can't get jobs because companies are afraid to hire them, they won't be so quick to cross the borders.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  211. nick from sarasota

    The powers-that- be need to get the illegles out of the country, not help them. Unempoyment is out of hand, and the only people finding jobs are these illegles and green card holders, because they are the only ones that will work for the wages offered. I recently applied for a cabinet makers job, and was offered $13 an hour. I have 17 years experiance. If you get rid of the illegles 3 things will happen; you'll give millions of jobs back to Americans, you'll take a huge load off the health care system (they're the only ones getting any in this country), and last but not least, skilled labor will see better wages.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  212. Penelope Withers - Amsterdam

    I think Obama can expect as much bipartisan support as Pres Bush got on this subject.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  213. H.J. Clay

    Jack ,
    The illegal immigration problem can be solved the same way the illegal drug problem can – by doing away with the demand, period! Don't go after the poor people trying to earn a living; go after the employers trying to save a buck by hiring them. Then and only then will illegal immigrants become legally documented workers. Supply and demand, Mr. President – supply and demand.

    Armuchee, Georgia

    April 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  214. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    How about using the same laws required for anyone applying for a passport; picture I.D. and birth certificate. This could be used to verify citizenship status for anyone seeking education, healthcare, welfare, social security , employment and many other agencies that we haven't sured up. If I need a passport to leave this country and to enter as an American citizen, the same should apply to everyone else.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm |

    They should begin by streamlining the tracking of people entering the country legally, in order to make it easier to identify the people who are here illegally.

    Then they should strengthen and enforce penalties for being here lllegally to discourage this problem from occuring again in the immediate future.

    Finally, they should strengthen and enforce laws against employing iillegals.

    We had one amnesty back during the Reagan years, and that simply encouraged MORE people to come here illegally.

    These illegals .are great for employers, but they are stealing food, housing, education, health care and employment from millions of American citizens. I know at least a dozen people put out of their jobs by illegals.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  216. Lewis

    The White House should start immigration reform by approving E-Verify and enforcing the immigration laws that are on the books.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  217. Antoine in Plant City, FL

    Amnesty. Give these people rights. Everybody wants to whine about the cost of Immigrants. Here's a fact: they pay sale taxes and get no social service benefits. The gov't doesn't spend that much on social services compared to other stuff (like corporate welfare), anyway. As for jobs, I am tired of people using the term losely. What "jobs" are immigrants stealing? They are certainly NOT in your cubicles at work. I'm from a small farming town near Tampa. I know people are desparate these days, but 'TIL THIS DAY, I have NOTseen "Americans" in line to bend over and pick fruit, clean toilets and floors, or cook in the back of restaurants. How can someone steal what no one wants or owns?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  218. Edgar

    San Diego, California

    What our government needs to begin to do is to begin to offer amnesty to certain immigrants again, but with tougher regulations than the last time the US did this. What concerns many US citizens with immigration is that 1) immigrants will take jobs away, and 2) Immigrants will cause trouble once they are here. The fact of the matter is that most of the jobs immigrants take are those odd jobs that no other Americans want, like construction and field working. By restricting those immigrants right to be here, all we are doing is opening up jobs nobody wants to work at anyway. And also, most immigrants that come into this country are just trying to better their living conditions because those of their home countries are terrible. Only a small percentage of immigrants are trouble makers. We need to stop being pessimistic. Amnesty is what the government needs to start doing again, to grant those people that are hard workers the right to live here. Its ironic that a country that was founded by immigrants is kicking them out.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  219. frank

    illegals have been given jobs by companies that were done by americans. jobs that were at one time entry jobs to the middle class americans.why because these same companies found a cheaper work force.we should be punishing these companies for hiring illegals,and also not rewarding illegals by giving them amnesty.if a american breaks the law he or she is not rewarded he or she is punished.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  220. Steve

    You said even legal immigrants are against immigration reform, amnesty or whatever you choose to call it. No body ever asked immigrants anything and I don’t thing anybody ever cared to asked. As legal immigrant I have been watching this legal/illegal debate and I can say I for one have decided to go back. I was begged to come and work for US employer but green card process is so long and so unpredictable that I cannot afford to put my life on hold until I am sure I will be able to stay. I am legal and in line that has no beginning and no end waiting for result. God help those illegal immigrants who want to go at the end of this endless line. Good luck with that

    April 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  221. Steven

    The first step the government should take is to address the current process which all immigrant applicants must go through in order to get immigration documentation. Most of these processes can take years to finalize, leaving people who actually apply for work permits and other immigration-related documents in limbo while they patiently wait. Next, the government should ensure that all eligible applicants are allowed to enter the country to work, travel, etc. A large percentage of applications are rejected -due to a broken immigration system- forcing these people to find other means to enter the country to work (such as crossing the border illegally). Lastly, the government should understand that while there are jobs to fill, people will come to work. The government needs to bring these people out of the shadows, allow them to pay taxes like every other worker in the country, and set up a system where individuals can contribute to the economy in a more positive fashion.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  222. Ramesh, Detroit, MI

    "A strict watch on their employment and the taxes they owe to the government".

    I think the Obama administration is looking for ways to pump money to counter budget deficits in years to come. I think this immigration reform may add a way to it.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  223. Richard

    They should start by enforcing the laws on the books now. I still don't understand how a government can enforce only the laws that they choose. Does that mean that I can violate the laws they don't enforce, or obey the ones I choose?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  224. charlie radman

    illegal immigration dropped significantly when the recession hit, we need to address the problem now while the volume of illegal immigrants crossing the boarder is low. otherwise when our economy recovers it will once again grow too quickly to contain or prevent.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  225. Erla Williams

    I can't beguin to accept, this Immigration Reform, that Obama, is NOW pushing upon us. I fully agree with the comment, that was made, about us already being in the " TOILET " .. How in Heavens name, can He, Put us down & disgrace us , on top of All the other Hell, that's already been thrown at us. Millions of us, are already suffering beyond, our control, & NOW, HE thinks this, would be a benifit. ?? WHO does HE think is already, taking care of all these Illegal Immigrants. They're sure NOT suffering..WE ARE, & this sure adds to all our Problems.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  226. Paul

    This is a country of immigrants. Some have come here legally and some have come here illegally throughout the history of America. These estimated 12 million illegal aliens have every right to be here as the rest us. Sure they came here to the "promise land" in search of a better life illegally so make them pay & wait a little longer to become legal Americans. But at least give them the chance to do it right. We cannot send them back and disrupt the flow of agricultural goods to our tables. Do you really want to pay $10 for a head of lettuce? Because that is what will happen when LEGAL workers take the jobs that these people perform out in our fields every day, if we send them back!

    Los Angeles, CA

    April 10, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  227. DeeMarie - Sweet Home, Oregon

    The White House wants to start tackling immigration reform this year. Where should they begin?
    1. By stopping all incoming for the foreseeable future or whenever our economy is strong enough to handle them, maybe 2050.
    2. Giving zero amnesty.

    Legal Americans are fighting for what few jobs there are and imo it's only going to get worse.

    I don't know what the heck Obama is thinking of but it's not about us.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  228. Monica Birakos from Whittier, CA

    Jack, President Obama is on the right track. Amnesty is the best policy for those who are decent, working people. You are sounding more like your colleague Lou Dobbs with your ranting about illegal immigration. I am not saying illegal immigration is right, but many of these people are good people trying to make a basic living. Also, they are not “aliens” they are human beings and your tone in this regard, is rather offensive.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  229. Helen

    Isn't the wall going to cost more to maintain and guard than it would to let them stay and work and pay taxes?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  230. John Roger

    people need to be educated on who are the illegal immigrants and what they do, and from the comments, how much the economy of the United States depends on the illegal immigrant.
    Everything that you buy in America today has the work of an illegal immigrant into it, directly or indirectly.
    You buy something from the supermarket, your vegetables, meat, fruit came from the hand of an immigrant.
    You go to a restaurant or fast food, the cooker is an immigrant.
    Any service, the immigrants are hard working generating revenue to their bosses and to America making everything cheaper.
    The rage is understandable, but the reality is that 12million people is a lot of people, that made America their home, it should never have got to this number, but now it's too late to deport all or starting enforcing the law, they are part of the America economy, if you don't understand that, then you need to be educated before you speak on something that you don't understand.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  231. Cyrus

    People who keep talking about building a wall along our Mexico border are reading Fox News and minuteman pamphlets. Equal number, if not more illegalscome from Africa, Europe, Middle East, and Asia. Are you going to build walls around your coastline too and ban all international flights?

    By the way, Obama's aunt was a political asylee, not illegal immigrant

    April 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  232. Bruce - Texas


    Any legislation needs to start with protecting our borders and our sovereignty.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  233. Jim S Gardendale, Alabama

    Jack, we should start by securing our borders and increasing the manpower and technology to accomplish that. Next, the bureauacry needs to be changed to speed up the review and approval process for immigrants who want to come to this country legally. Once this is done, we need to look at the illegal situation and decide what to do with the millions who are here illegally. For those who are convicted of crimes, I say deport them. If they return and are caught, jail them for life, particularly if they'r'e caught smuggling or dealing drugs. Finally, a reasonable quota should be established so that we are not overwhelmed with these immigrants and they should be required to learn about United States history and customes as well learn English. After all, this is the United States of America, NOT Mexico.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  234. Luis Huang


    The basic approach should be two-pronged. First, we need to reinforce border security at strategic points. Instead of a 2,000 mile fence, let's have say 500 miles of constantly patrolled areas, with some fence (paid by stimulus money) to keep out drugs and guns.
    Second, we need to consider allowing undocumented immigrants who have been here more than a decade a chance to get a legal status, with a chance for citizenship coming another decade later. IIt won't be immediate, but those living here most their lives have more than proven themselves to be productive members of society.

    Jack, you're also wrong. According to reports, there has been an exodus of immigrants leaving America because of bad economic times. The way I see it, I would rather have immigrants sneaking in than immigrants fleeing.

    Of course, if one Texas lawmaker had her way, all this depends on immigrants adopting easier names. Or better yet, everyone should have just one name. Easy enough.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  235. E.S

    This issue affects me greatly. I am out of work and don't know what to do right now. I don't think that anyone is taking a job from me. I married an immigrant and got her leagalized, but I do have other family now that is not so lucky. The children of illigal immigrants that grew up here can not go back home. We do need some way for everyone that is living here to be leagal. I belive that the first step is to protect our boarder then deal with the people living here.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  236. Luis Huang


    The basic approach should be two-pronged. First, we need to reinforce border security at strategic points. Instead of a 2,000 mile fence, let's have say 500 miles of constantly patrolled areas, with some fence (paid by stimulus money) to keep out drugs and guns.
    Second, we need to consider allowing undocumented immigrants who have been here more than a decade a chance to get a legal status, with a chance for citizenship coming another decade later. IIt won't be immediate, but those living here most their lives have more than proven themselves to be productive members of society.

    Jack, you're also wrong. According to reports, there has been an exodus of immigrants leaving America because of bad economic times. The way I see it, I would rather have immigrants sneaking in than immigrants fleeing.

    Of course, if one Texas lawmaker had her way, all this depends on immigrants adopting easier names. Or better yet, everyone should have just one name. Easy enough.

    -Luis from San Diego

    April 10, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  237. Bob Blaquera

    I am sick of hearing American media “pundits” rant about the illegal immigration.
    Everyone opposes amnesty for illegal aliens, especially when so many Americans are out of work. But no one is willing to admit the economic reality: Even unemployed Americans are not lining up for the awful jobs that illegal aliens are accepting. Illegal aliens are the only ones willing to accept less than minimum wage and no benefits to do breaking work. This cheap labor is the only thing making American goods affordable and competitive. If Americans took these jobs, they would demand at least minimum wage and health benefits. American food and manufactured goods would then be too expensive for Americans, and too expensive to export. Then the US economy would be even further in the crapper.
    Admit it America, you need the cheap labor.
    Bob Blaquera

    April 10, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  238. Matt from Michigan

    start e-verify throughout the U.S. and allow local law enforcement to act more like immigration officers and deport illegal immigrants. this will create more jobs for americans and more tax money for america considering illegals usually dont pay taxes.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  239. Sal

    Hi Jack, I am an immigrant myself who have recently been naturalized. There are millions of other people in the world waiting in line to come here legally. Giving an amnesty to illegal immigrant is not fair to those of us who have and are willing to follow the law. Immigrants from Mexico are here illegally and I don't think we should reward them by giving them a free pass. If President Obama would like to do something about illegal immigration this year, he should begin by fixing the broken border.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  240. Jaxon

    You start immigration reform by allowing illegals to serve in the military. For each year, beyond one, of meritorious service, legalize one family member who is here, illegally, also. Four years of service could bring in one's parents/spouse. Legal aliens are allowed to serve, why not illegals who have been here a requisite number of years. It's a decent paying job, to boot.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  241. angry

    i voted for obama but if he legalize illegal aliens i will vote republican from now on.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  242. john

    They should start by seeing them as human beings with families and ties to our communities first instead of terrorist, gangbangers or even people who are just here to drain america's economy. The truth is that illigal immigrants are here to better their lives and to support their families just as legal immigrants are and as people might get from some cable news shows they do not get any benefits from the govt even though some if not most are taxpayers through (ITIN) from the IRS. So talking about it and removing fact from fiction is a great and fair way to start.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  243. glenn , southeast-texas

    the fence !!!! and military troops along the entire southern border . it's done a pretty good job on the California segment . Glenn-Texas

    April 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  244. Evelyn Mills

    I believe at best they should return home and apply to come in legally.I do not believe that they should ever have citizenship as long as they came into this country illegally if they over stayed a visa or were smuggled in doesn't matter.If we were to give these lawbreakers citizenship they then can bring in all their relatives .We have enough peopls here as it is .So jack I say not no but hell no Enforce the law.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  245. Sharon - Salt Lake

    Please tell the president that he should begin by honoring those immi grants who have come into our country the time honored way.
    Then deporting those who have not. I'm sure that there are enough of them that those children born here have relatives who are legal that they can stay with. Believe me, I am a retired Obstetrics and Newborn nurse for 30 years and feel I have some experience in this area. I am sure that there are many others of us in different areas of exoerience with tales of horror from drug smuggling to gangs to God knows what, Need I say more? Pleas don't send our country down the tube..

    April 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  246. Melissa F. from Yorba Linda, CA

    Get rid of the red tape and the bureaucracy is the first step Obama needs to take. It's been 23 years of nothing but red tape. It's ridiculous how long it takes someone to become a legal citizen. They are illegal because Immigration is behind in the paperwork!

    April 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  247. Ronald

    The president should tackle the immigration problem from its source, that is securing the us boarders first. Until that is done, amnesty will simply worsen the inflow of illegal immigrants.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  248. Ron Kepics

    I think the president neds to reforn The North American Free Trade Agreement first. The US has been paying far to long for the sins of neighboring nations. Immigration reform by paving a pathway for illegals to gain status in America is not going to help the American economy. It will further drive down the standard of living in America.

    What has to happen is the open door to America needs to be closed by hold responsible the employers that knowingly violate immigration regulations by employing undocumented workers. In addition, if illeagals are working in America they need to pay Income Taxes to the American government and to the state they are working in. This would remove the motivation for undocumaented workers to travel to the US.

    Ron San Diego

    April 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  249. Chris, Bx., NY

    Good Friday, Jack! The President is smart to begin the debate..... he may want to continue this debate among different groups (including congress) throughout 2009, and form a consensus based decision for 2010.....

    April 10, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  250. Linda

    We have got to stop this born in America makes you an American BS. Your parents need to be American then you can be granted citizenship. As for what to tell the kids who grew up here and would need to leave- tell them to thank their parents for the free education they got up to this point and to talk to them about messing up their lives by moving here illegally, go home with the parents, or like Ed said, get a phone!

    April 10, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  251. Mark Williams

    I see alot of immirgrants here in in my small town, and the Nation ...They make money here in the US, and send it to there wife, and families in Mexico.
    Since the US loses' that money, to that country. Why can't we tax them 30% for sending that money, or keep them from sending it there?

    Mark Williams
    Hanford, CA

    April 10, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  252. Barbara Mc Coy

    I'm in favor of legalizing immigrants. Give them a SSN, Social Security, the biggest Ponzi scheme of all time is going broke, think what 12 million new payees would do for it, and make it where no matter their age they cannot collect for 10 years after getting their SSN. California is broke, think what the increased Taxes would do for the State!!

    April 10, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  253. Jane in CA

    Reagan's amnesty called for punishing employers, not the illegals they employed. With 12 million illegals, that part of the law has maybe been enforced a dozen times in the last 20 years. How about legalizing anyone who turns in their employer? We get to fine or imprison the people who enabled and encouraged the illegal immigration and let the immigrant make a clean start for fessing up.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  254. joe-Georgia

    Jack,immigration is a tough issue and divides us as Americans.If it is not dealt with now,then when? There has been so many excusses.Let us face it now,so we can go to something else.
    Our president can huddle it.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  255. TED

    The place to start with immigration reform is simple. Start where the problem is–at the border! Once the border is SECURE then we can talk about how to change the rules for becomming an American citizen.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  256. Christian in Miami

    They should start by employing more competent officials to enforce our laws and borders. The reason they want to reform immigration now is because its gotten out of hand and they are no longer in control. Enforce the laws we already have in place and watch how the system reforms itself, the laws were created for a reason.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  257. Fred N Flatau

    Jack ! You asked about where we should bebin with the immigration issue ? First let us know the facts. We do not know how many and from where they come. Second they are here and we are not going to throw them out even if the foreign goverments are willing to take them back.Many have children who are born here.I am a phisician and can'tthrow up my hand and do nothing if confronted with a problem. They live in an underground economy and no, they are not taking jobs that citizens want. Lets get real :they are not criminals , they want to work and yes this the right time. Let us not blind ouselves that the ugly specter of nativism is not a big part of our concerns , often by the groups that came before and faced the issues. Fred N Flatau

    April 10, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  258. Sandy in Arkansas

    They should start by stopping illegal immigration at the border. When that is accomplished then, and only then, can we deal with the illegals who are already here.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  259. Roger -Pinewood, Mn.

    Jack, this question is to easy. The best way to solve this problem is deport all those GOP nut bags that don't think they should have to pay taxes in this country and legalize the immigrants that are here working and would love to pay their fair share of taxes.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  260. Cameran

    I think President Obama should start by legalizing those who came here LEGALLY. He can also offer citizenship to the children and college students. The children shouldn't be punished for their parents' mistakes. Besides, they have lives here; school, friends, and they're used to living here. However, President Obama also needs to remember that the economy needs attention too.

    Yonkers, NY

    April 10, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  261. Sean


    Every time this issue come to light, it brings the worst in people, hatred. Our goverment cannot give amnesty but has to be compassionate and fair. Secure borders, set guidelines for legalization so it's not amensty. We cannot deport all of them.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  262. Don Collins

    Anytime is the right time to address one of the problems that has helped cause some of our(America's)downfall. But, I suggest the issue of amnesty be put to a vote by the people. Now the problem here would be to make sure all the illegal's with the false ID's don't get to vote. Do that and I'm sure the results will speak for itself. And yes, we need to finish the border fence.

    Don in Pa.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  263. Danny, Decatur ILL

    Start with the large corporations, such as Caterpillar, State Farm, etc that so cleverly bring in those from companies like Satyam (India company taking our jobs). They of course have the proper visas and correct documents and even allowed EXTENSIONS to stay several years at low pay. They send their salaries to the relatives "back home" (rather than send it here). Oh ...let us not forget the educational opportunities they are given while here. Yes....confront and stop the corporations ...or is this part of "Free Trade"? Corporations are not open minded enough to take their own inventory and recognize the damage they have done. I realize the complexity of this..."Corporate Lobbyist".

    April 10, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  264. John Coombs

    Building more walls and fences wont work Jack.
    This recession has shown the way to halt the problem
    Enforce laws against the employers who use undocumented labor. Including fines and imprisonment for re offenders.

    If you cant get a job you wont stay in the country.

    This would include raids on employers suspected of employing illegal workers.
    Don’t start shouting about peoples rights if you’re here illegally you don’t have any.

    I came to this country ten years ago and worked hard to become a citizen.

    I’m proud to be American and since then I have watched my pay go down as and when I could get work in the construction Industry

    With each month I have watched as more and more undocumented workers slowly took over the Industry I work in.

    The one thing I have noticed is that a large number of the employers who hire these folks in the building Industry are Legal Mexican business owners who then hire ndocumented Mexican workers.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  265. Christian Suah, Westland, Michigan

    Jack: this is very, very, simple; first President Obama should start by reforming this broken immigration problem now. The goverment can't remove some millions of people from this country with the financial problem this country has now. Let the goverment check the background of each illegal immigrant and if they are not found with crime be allowed to get at the back of the line but if they are found in crime, be deported.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  266. Darrell Lambson

    They need to do a "Cost Effective Study" first.
    They'll find that very few of the Illegal Alien Desenters would ever take the Jobs that these people are doing and then they should decide which would be cheaper to keep in United States; Illegal Aliens or Felenous Bankers, Businessmen and Mortgage Brokers?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  267. Dakota

    Jack, the White House should start with the Mexico government. Maybe they could give the illegal immigrants a reason to stay in their home country. I imagine the immigrants would not want to leave their home, but they possibly feel obligated in order to have the life they desperately want and deserve.

    Stillwater, Oklahoma

    April 10, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  268. Donald Reno

    Do what Eisenhower did in 1951 when the Korean War Vetrans came home – Deport all of them (he deported 12 million over 18 months in 1951) do not believe me research it yourself and you will know the truth. The Problem is now big business is running the Government behind the scene so there is no real enforcement of our immigration laws while the whole time the Government tells us it is not possible. Well Eisenhower did it in 1951 without high tech to help him.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  269. Nancy Rosenbury

    Viewers say that corporations should be fined for employing illegal immigrants. ANY business can be fined up to $16,000 per person for employing those who do not have authorization to work in the US.

    I'm not sure illegal immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans; there have been plenty of Americans on unemployment rolls for years. This isn't a new situation.

    I agree with most viewers – the problem is so large that a response to your question would be larger than a dissertation!

    April 10, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  270. Lee In Minnesota

    Simple. Just stop corporate America from hiring cheap undocumented labor and 90% of the problem will be solved. Just like with drugs, it is the people consuming the cheap labor or drugs that is creating the problem.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  271. Tony IL

    Exactly where they shouldv'e years ago, "At the Border". Next, start raiding businesses that have illegals there and deport them. By doing this, you will keep more illegals from coming into the US as well as getting rid of illegals already here. Of course by doing this, the President takes the chance of alienating the thousands of hispanics that voted for him. There's a fine line here but if you get rid of the illegals here, that will free up more jobs for us Americans.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  272. John - Indiana

    I have always considered myself to be a democrat. However, I strongly disagree with President Obama’s views on immigration.

    The United States has become the welfare system for citizens of countries other than its own. We put pressure on every country in the world to take care of their people. Yet, we refuse to stand up to our neighbors to the south.

    I do not view illegal aliens or the Mexican drug organizations as criminals. These people have to do something to survive. In some aspects it is no different than the looting in New Orleans after Katrina. Yes, I am sure that there were a handful of people with bad intentions. I have no doubt though that there were plenty of good people doing what they had to do to feed their families.

    Several Latin American countries seem to turn their backs on their “lower class” citizens. The United States has plenty of its own people that are currently struggling. It is our duty to take care of them first and foremost. It is our duty to do our best to see these people succeed.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  273. Sharon H.

    This is not a duplicate comment. Please tell the president. That he should begin by honoring the immigrants that have come to our country in the time honored way. I am a retired obstetrical and newborn nurse and I feel that I have had enough experience in this area that I can tell you, that these babies who were born here that are legal that they can live with if their parents are deported. Illegals should be deported. I'm sorry if it sounds cruel, but so is drug smuggling, gang shootings, and God knows what – along with border wars. Please stop all the killings and death in the desert.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  274. beat.tk@gmail.com

    Where to start....Look. It's fairly hard to change behavior with laws if people are already breaking the law. Businesses and immigrants pursuing legal means are more responsive to legislative changes. Not to mention, Congress can start with these groups since the solutions are less divisive.
    WRT legal immigration–modernize the immigration process. This will encourage good behavior.
    Then deal with American businesses that are providing incentives for illegal immigration. These businesses are subject to our laws. Just enforce them.

    This will take a lot of resources, including hiring thousands of immigration officers.
    But it will create some good will and a sense of law and order.

    The more contentious part of the problem, preventing people from entering the country illegally? We may continue to debate a solution to that for years. That is NOT the place to start.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  275. Jerry - Toronto

    Simple, throw out all the illegal immigrants and start from scratch. If they can't play by the rules then why should the rest of us who work so dam hard, request the proper paperwork, pay any fees, and stand in those two hour line ups just to get a stamp of approval to cross the border. The next step is to make it Federal law and mandatory for employers to verify that the person they are hiring are either citizens or have the proper documentation allowing them to work, period. If they don't, fine the crap oout of them. Anything less than that is a slap in the face of everyone doing it right.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  276. WAYNE

    He should start by enforcing our current laws on immigration. I saw this coming, when he appointed Solis (open border advocate) and Napolitano, DHS. As Governor of Az, she couldn't tame the tiger (Arpio) but is in a position to come down on him, for enforcing the law. This is political...period! But he's losing more votes in the future, than he will gain now. I think the people have spoken, loud and clear.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  277. Dave

    Jack, we need to hold accountable the corporations that hire illegal folks.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  278. Art Hasbrook

    Treating "immigration reform" as if it were only an issue of "immigration" is as much a mistake as looking at Vietnam as though it were outside the ColdWar. The US economy is dependent on legal immigration as a viable gain in population. But Mexico is our neighbor and in need. As "Americans" we need to have a leader who won't neglect our need for stable immigration, yet who won't neglect the terrors our Mexican neighbors face today. America is an immigrant nation. The While House should begin on a foreign level including Mexican leaders in further discussions about any need for aid and the direction their nation is headed. And begin, internally, raising the bar of penalty against US employers who neglect to follow regulated employment standards.
    Our economy is not struggling from the last 8 years but has been recovering from the unregulated high of the 8 years before that. Clinton regulated NAFTA to a degree but it is still hardly "Fair". Admitting to these realities are a need I can't see the White House approaching, but wouldn't it be wonderful?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  279. Buzz Mills


    In the last 22 years, since the 1986, Reagan, one-time amnesty, over 26 million illegals have been apprehended, after they crossed the border into our United States. The problem is Jack, less than 1, out of 4, illegals, crossing into our United States, are estimated to have been apprehended. According to the U.S. Immigration Service another 6 million illegals in our country are visa overstays. Lack of E-verify in the Stimulus Bill only entices even more illegals to enter our country!!

    Mandate E-Verify for ALL employees, and let's get this show started.

    Cupertino, CA

    April 10, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  280. Joseph Rivera


    First things first, the Obama administration must now secure the borders and ports at all cost. In this regard, they could utilize infra red technology and other military technology to combat these menacing border problems. In addition, we need to increase military and border personnel, local and state police including K-9s to watch these borders and ports 24/7. If we spent trillions of dollars in Iraq, then we could easily spend trillions of dollars to fully secure our own home. Thus, we could strategically minimize or even eradicate points of entry for illegal aliens, drug traffickers, and terrorists.

    Joseph Rivera

    April 10, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  281. Kiki

    First, secure the southern border. Second, enforce e-verify. Third, enforce ALL the immigration laws we have NOW. If that means sending these people back to where they came from, so be it!!! Do not let states issue driver licenses and do not give them free in-state tuition for college. Do not give them free medical services. If all these freebies were taken away, we would see a massive exodus.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  282. Carl D.

    It's a simple fix, start enforcing our immigration laws. If illegal aliens don't like that, or amnesty advocates don't like it ,maybe we should adopt and enforce Mexico's immigration laws.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  283. Susan

    Amnesty is not a solution to this problem. We have already tried that and it accomplishes nothing. This issue must be tackled on all fronts mentioned here. Border enforcement, deportation, enforcing current laws, English only, etc. No other western country allows this sort of border breach. We have a right to decide who comes here and who doesn't. Acting on this critical issue is long overdue.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  284. John T. Lucas

    Mr. Cafferty:

    The President, with his bully pulpit, can make a good start by not blurring the distinction between legal immigrants and illegal aliens. He should hold his own and others' feet to the fire until the euphemism " undocumented workers" is dropped and the illegals are identified exactly for what they are. After that the arrest and possible imprisonment plus fines for businesses who hire illegal aliens.

    John Lucas
    Victoria, BC

    April 10, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  285. Liz

    Can we please stop calling undocumented immigrants, "aliens," and yes that is a term the government uses to identify them, but it does not mean we have to use it, since we all know that by calling them "aliens" we take away their humanity, so people get over it and call them what they are, immigrants who are not yet legalized!!!!! Obama needs to start with the DREAM Act and then comprehensive immigration reform, but something for immigration needs to be done now!!!!! Close the borders yes, but also deal with the humans who serve you at the drive-thru window and wash your car!!!!

    April 10, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  286. bartholomew mcdowell

    So sorry, Jack, I love your honest heart; but on this issue, you are dead wrong. We need immigration reform for all because unless, like me, you are Native American, you have no right to hate on the people who like you, Jack, were immigrants...

    April 10, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  287. patrick

    Jack this is rather simple but Obama & democrats as well as Republicans are all so busy pandering to demographics and looking at an out of control birth rate among South American illegals that they rather secure control of that voter block rather then secure and control our boarders our future and our safety. Seal the boarders that way guns don't go there and drugs and illegals don't come here, deport all illegals and show proper respect to all new and soon to be American citizens who followed our laws and rules to have the privilege to be American, put E-verify in to full effect and last make sure anchor babies can no longer be used by illegals by making it a law that if both your parents are illegal so are you, and if just one of them are then the child is not a full citizen but more like a temp green card until there 18 and full citizenship if you have stayed out of trouble . Oh lets not forget making being here a 4th degree felony that will prevent anyone found here in the future illegally from applying for citizenship at all!! FYI I am a Latino American and proud of it, I make my race known so that the bull dung excuse of it being only racist who have this view can be put to rest.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  288. Linda Herman

    When I think of immigration, I immediately think of its humanistic aspect. I'm not quite sure how I feel about immigration reform – I understand both sides of the argument; however, I tend to be more in favor of it than against it. Having said that, now is definitely not the time to begin.
    When Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986, nearly 3 million undocumented immigrants were given amnesty and their illegal status was dismissed. Now, almost 23 years later, I tend to believe that the number of undocumented immigrants living in the US has increased significantly. Because of the poor economic environment in the US, I seriously doubt that Obama will gain favorable reaction if he pursues this issue at this time. Let the US get back on its feet first!!

    April 10, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  289. joan t

    Jack: The answer to your question is simple. Amnesty for Illegal lawbreakers? HELL NO! Whats next? Releasing all the felons in our prison system?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  290. Katherine

    They should begin by securing our ports and borders and by funding the E-Verify system and establishing harsh penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants. Our economy cannot afford afford to continue in our current mode when attempting to deal with illegal immigration. The govt needs to look at the current Visa numbers and make the necessary changes. It makes no sense to bring in foreign workers when Americans are unemployed.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  291. NeSS

    Let's start first with a clean slate and a conversation amongst colleagues from across the spectrum of debate on the issue. There should be only one caveat: if you're a hater, or are looking to do harm, or make political hay, then stay home.

    To the people who say illegals are taking our jobs: Have you ever picked in the fields for lots of hours a day? I see no U.S. Citizens flocking to the fields to take those jobs. Let's get real.

    There are solutions. Starting with being fair to all is an excellent place to have the dialogue. It astounds me how some of the most virulent attacks come from folks who continue to make claims about how Christian they are. Sad.

    And please ask Lou Dobbs to continue his message, but tone down the rhetoric. Leave the seditious fomenting of violence against human being the Faux news fools at Fox.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  292. ED in RI

    Simple! "Enforce the current laws!" Shut down corporations that benefit from illegals, and stop welfare programs that attract illegals to our country.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  293. David Younkins

    Obama all the way. Except on this issue. I remember when Reagen did it. I was screaming then. It ranked right up there with Reagan trickle down economics. We're worse off in both cases. Enforce the laws Seal the borders. Then lets talk. Dave Ohio

    April 10, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  294. Jewel

    I think we need to follow the rules that we now have in place. The trouble is, when we have problems, we always want to make the people think we are doing something to help the situation by making MORE RULES. The people that want to come to our country need to come the legal way. We need to know who these people are and that they are able to pass the test for citizenship-JUST LIKE OTHER COUNTRIES DO. It seems like we NEVER, EVER get anything right. We are contuinually setting up commissions to study what when wrong and why. JUST FOLLOW THE RULES.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  295. sylvester shepard

    Jack, I think the immigration issue is of immediate importance to our economic situation. For example, who are going to benefit from the new construction jobs that should be created from the stimulus package, American workers or illegal aliens, who the construction companies seem to favor over American workers? There should be some way to make sure that we are the beneficiaries of these funds since it's our tax money.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  296. Tom Joynt

    Secure the border and move forward with whatever reforms the congress and president can agree up on. We have a border – it needs to be secured first. Amnesty was done once before under Ronald Reagan – it failed as there was nothing to prevent re-entry.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  297. Jewel

    To answer the question of where the White House should start on the immigration problem–the answer is simple and easy: FOLLOW THE RULES WE NOW HAVE IN PLACE.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:51 pm |

    Close the immigration from all countries for a couple or so years. We need to get out of the Bush mess, so cannot afford Cuban's, Haitian's, mexican's, So.. American's or any other legal or illegal immigration. That wet foot dry foot should be illegal too. I say jail anyone who is here illegally, no matter what Country they are from.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  299. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    The president should keep immigration reform on the back burner until the economy turns around. The economy is absolutely the most important job that he must deal with right now.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  300. Elaine Faulkner

    Build the highest fence with electric shock....and give the our border guards automatic weapons to shoot and not be chaged with anything but protecting our borders....when enough get shot they "might" stay home. Our 14th amendment was not meant to include families or babies who were released fromthe mothers womb on our side of the Rio Grand. It meant anyone born herre was a citizen....how that has been stretched is unconcionably....and rediciulous...our forefathers are probably turning over intheir graves at the thoutht of fathers, mothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and everything else coming with a newborn on the river. I suggest if that's it, tell lthem we will keep the baby in an institution and they return to their country or thake the kid with them and go... enough of this.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:54 pm |