Anita Crane
Obama's immigration 'reform' coming soon....
By Anita Crane
July 8, 2009

President Barack Obama invited a group of Senate and House members to the White House for a June 25 meeting on comprehensive immigration reform. Among other things, he announced that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will work with lawmakers and that the federal government will target employers who hire undocumented workers.

For years, Helen Krieble, president of the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation in Denver, has been trying to help business owners and temporary migrant workers. Therefore, she developed the Red Card Solution. After all, she owns the Colorado Horse Park, an international equestrian center in Parker, Colorado, which depends on the labor of migrant or guest workers (interchangeable terms). Yet she has never been invited to meet with President Obama.

Still, on June 23-24, Krieble conducted Red Card seminars in Washington for lawmakers and everyone who would listen.

Currently, U.S. law dictates that only 33,000 H-2B visas are granted to seasonal guest workers per each half of the fiscal year, but Krieble said that's too few workers for the demands of small business owners across America.

She said, "We have criminalized hard-working people, not to mention the business owners who are made to choose between hiring illegal workers, or going out of business without them."

"In even the toughest economic times," Krieble explained, "American workers reject certain jobs." These jobs literally mean putting food on the table via the fishing industry, livestock care, farming, and grocery and restaurant labor — to name just a few occupations. Krieble said, "The labor shortages cause businesses to close, worsening the economic recession."

Thus, the Red Card is an assignment ID pass that border officials can swipe to legally admit temp migrant workers. A microchip in the card would allow U.S. law enforcement officials to verify a foreigner's work assignment status in moments.

The Red Card is also designed to include the biometric data of a migrant worker's fingerprints and a retina scan for the purpose of eliminating identity fraud and the entry of criminals.

Embedding a migrant worker's assignment and photo in his ID would be good, but the biometric data concept might elicit an outcry from those who object to Big Brother government. For example, all 56 U.S. states and territories have either stalled implementation of the Homeland Security National ID and its privacy-invading database, or rejected it.

Nevertheless, apparently Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), new chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, has adopted part of Krieble's idea — with a different twist. On June 24, at the Migration Policy Institute's conference, he announced plans to write an immigration bill requiring that illegal aliens report to the U.S. government, become documented by surrendering their biometric data, and apply for citizenship. And he presented this plan to the White House.

However, Krieble's proposal is for temporary workers and it depends on the free market. "The Red Card Solution is underwritten when employers pay to list jobs with the private employment services opening offices in foreign countries," she said. "That means that business, not taxpayers, will foot the bill."

Krieble said Americans shouldn't assume that migrant workers want to become permanent residents or citizens. Her own experience is backed up by a 2005 Pew Hispanic Center survey of 5,000 Mexican migrants showing that 71% (a 4-to-1 margin) would "participate in a program that would allow them to work in the United States and cross the border legally on the condition that they eventually return to Mexico."

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), who has worked to reform the guest worker system, endorses the Red Card Solution in a DVD that was released by Krieble on June 23, but he wasn't invited to the White House immigration meeting.

In the video, Rev. Luis Cortés of Esperanza USA also endorses the Red Card Solution. Cortés has urged Obama to reform immigration law by Thanksgiving Day 2009, and the White House reportedly hopes to pass new immigration law by year's end. Furthermore, Cortés has urged Congress to cease law enforcement "raids" on immigrants, and so his Red Card endorsement is significant.

At Krieble's press conference, a panel of immigration reform and economic growth advocates endorsed her plan too.

Mario Lopez of the Hispanic Leadership Fund fears that the Obama Administration will produce a cumbersome bill with "big union payoffs."

Like Cortés, Lopez thinks that hard-working Hispanic migrants suffer due to federal limitations. He said, "Today there is no opportunity for these workers to come in legally. So people who just want to provide for their families make the difficult decision to break our law, go through great personal danger, then exist in the shadows."

Lopez considers the Red Card Solution as the best guest worker proposal he's seen so far, and he thinks it will appeal to the Hispanic American political base.

Matt Kibbe of Freedom Works agreed. He said, "One of the reasons we liked it is because it's a politically innovative idea." That idea, he said, is an opportunity to overcome political caricatures and build broad coalitions.

James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation said that the U.S. has an obligation to control its borders and enforce the law, but he stressed that when employers get the workers they need, it creates more jobs and grows the economy.

Steve Moore, an economist who writes for the Wall Street Journal, said, "It really is interesting that a small business owner came up with this idea." Moore has worked on immigration for 25 years and said that if more members of Congress were business owners instead of lawyers, we'd be much further along on this issue.

None of the Red Card endorsers suggested that it can entirely correct the problem of undocumented workers and illegal aliens in the U.S., but all agreed that it would be part of the solution.

The Red Card Solution video is online at and more information is available at

It remains to be seen whether Helen Krieble will be invited to the White House before some mammoth immigration bill is pushed through Congress and signed by the president.

© Anita Crane


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Anita Crane

It is with great sadness to report that Anita Crane passed away on November 10, 2023, at age 62. We offer our prayers to her family at this time, and want to express our appreciation to her for the many years she wrote for RenewAmerica.

Her obituary can be viewed here.

Anita Crane is a writer and editor with B.A. in Catholic Theology from Christendom College. She defends human rights in the light of Christ.


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