Let's remember the late JFK's words as our immigration officials deal with the hurricanes in the Caribbean Islands.
Famously he said: "Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country."
Our standard, knee-jerk response to a storm or an earthquake in some Third World county has been, over the years, let's not inconvenience that nation's illegal migrants here by making them go back to a troubled homeland. We then grant Temporary Protected Status for those here illegally (or legally as tourists), allowing those aliens to take U.S. jobs, and then we extend it again and again and again, as Mark Krikorian has written previously.
Rephrasing JFK, what TPS says to these migrants is:
Don't ask for what you can do for your country in its time of need, let the United States discourage you from serving your own country.
Let's turn that around, and use people who might become TPS aliens here, taking U.S. jobs, and (thinking of Kennedy again) help those aliens to form little Peace Corps operations back home where their various talents are badly needed.
If someone is here from, say, the Dominican Republic illegally, we should make that person an offer they should not refuse: Admit your illegal presence here and we will remove that blot on your record, and we will buy you an airline ticket home, and we will give you $1,000 as you step off the plane in the DR, and if you show you have been working in reconstruction (either paid or as a volunteer) we will give you another $1,000, perhaps in pesos, some months hence. In return, you will give us an assurance in writing that you will not seek to come to the United States again for five years; we will not issue you a visa if you try and if you are caught in the United States you will be jailed.
The returnee will be told to report to one of the recognized aid agencies working in his or her country.
People from the storm-tossed islands about to be deported, except those with records of violent crime, would get the same offer. Alternatively, they could opt to stay in detention centers until such time as they could be deported.
We could also, for those who are here in legal status, make a six-month extension of that status as one possibility, or a subsidized trip back home to help in the reconstruction.
These offers would be limited to people living in independent nations; they would not be offered to citizens of colonies like St. Martin, a Caribbean island divided between the Netherlands and France. In those cases, the colonial power is rich and the size of the colonial populations is tiny. At the most, we could buy one-way tickets from the United States to those colonial islands for their migrants in this country, whether here legally or illegally.
Let's not make yet another exception to our migration laws on behalf of people who are here illegally — let's make it easy for the same people to return home and be useful there.
Let's not brainlessly go through yet another round of TPS.