My immigration fix: Honesty plus a 20-point plan

No matter which political party they hail from, immigration “solutions” usually come in three varieties: half-baked, hateful and hideous.

You’ll find all of the above as Americans from across the fruited plain refuse to let their ignorance about the issue stop them from putting in their 2 cents about how to solve wanton separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

People also have lots to say about the bigger issue — how to secure the border, legalize the undocumented, provide a workforce to do jobs that Americans think are beneath them, etc.

I am often asked for my own solution, and I hate it. While it’s true that my vision is clearer than most because I’m not beholden to any political party, my ideas are no more valuable than anyone else’s:

■ Keep refugee families together and give them hearings even if it ultimately means deporting the entire family unit;

■ Reform legal immigration not by giving a leg up to the skilled and educated but by tying it more closely to labor needs;

■ Limit the family reunification policy to the spouse, children, parents and siblings of a U.S. citizen;

■ Resist nativist attempts to cut legal immigration and instead increase it from about 1 million annually to 3 million — which is still less than 1 percent of the total U.S. population;

■ Apply asylum laws equally so that brown-skinned refugees from Honduras have the same shot as light-skinned refugees from Syria;

■ Secure the border not with a 12th-century wall but with cutting-edge surveillance equipment, tunnel detection and improved roads;

■ Deploy National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border sparingly, and only to support Border Patrol agents;

■ Continue to deport those in the country illegally but preserve discretion to allow some of the undocumented to stay;

■ Create a path to earned legal status (not U.S. citizenship) for illegal immigrants who have lived here for at least 10 years and pass background checks;

■ Give permanent legal status to the estimated 700,000 recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in exchange for one year of community service;

■ Ban benefits for legalized immigrants and their children (no welfare, food stamps, subsidized housing, etc.);

■ Allow the legalized to become U.S. citizens, as long as they put in the effort and the process isn’t automatic;

■ Scrap unlawful quotas that require immigration agents to deport about 400,000 illegal immigrants annually;

■ Stop counterproductive efforts to deputize local police to enforce federal immigration law;

■ Create a tamper-proof identification card for all Americans to carry so employers know who is eligible to work;

■ Eliminate the exemption in E-Verify that applies to the No. 1 employer of illegal immigrants: the American household;

■ Repair the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which bars employers from “knowingly” hiring illegal immigrants, by removing the word “knowingly”;

■ Create a “three strikes” law for employers of illegal immigrants: First offense, a warning; second, a $10,000 fine; third, five days in jail;

■ Invest in Mexican states that send immigrants by using tax incentives to encourage U.S. companies to create jobs there so fewer people come here;

■ Parent better by giving our kids chores, requiring after-school and summer jobs, and creating a work ethic so they take jobs from illegal immigrants.

Much of this involves Americans owning up to what they did — or didn’t do — that got us into this mess instead of simply blaming immigrants. Which gets us back to where any sensible and realistic stab at immigration reform must begin: honesty.