Illegal by Bettina Restrepo – the author’s views on immigration

Illegal by Bettina RestrepoThe main character in my novel, Illegal, crosses into the United States illegally from Mexico.  Anticipating questions that may arise about my feelings on illegal and other immigration, I offer you this Q&A.  Please note, I am not an immigration lawyer.

Q:  What are your personal views on illegal immigration?

A:  My parents are first generation immigrants to the United States.  My father joined the US Army in 1963 and earned his citizenship.  My mother was naturalized with my brother as a result.

Do I believe someone should immigrate to the US and live under the radar.  No.  But, I do believe that our current system is so laborious and so convoluted to navigate that it (inadvertently) encourages immigrants to drop out of the system rather than try to participate in it.

Q:  How would you fix the system?

A:  I would encourage a system of sponsorship by either family or business members for individuals who wanted to work in industries that our own citizens have veered away from.

a.  Businesses would have to apply and show good faith that all immigrants hired would be treated fairly and paid the same wages afforded to all US citizens.

b.  Immigrants would pay income tax and be required to carry insurance that covers their health care.

c.  Business AND individuals that subverted the system would be penalized monetarily and not allowed to participate in immigration programs.