Illegals must be priorityPosted Wednesday, February 20, 2008, at 10:06 AM
If the estimates are correct, one in every 25 persons living in the United States is an illegal alien, the vast majority of them from Mexico and Central America.
Each year, they send billions of our Gross National Product back to Mexico to support their impoverished families. And American taxpayers spend billions more in health, welfare and education costs to support them.
The important word here is illegal (we have no problems with those who have followed the law and obtained the necessary paperwork to live and work here). Calling illegals "undocumented" is simply an effort to modify the language in order to make the problem seem less severe.
But it is severe and they are breaking the law -- and the bank.
In some parts of this country, in particular southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Florida, there are so many illegal aliens that English, the language upon which this county was built and operates, is no longer the dominant language. The need for bilingual public officials and paperwork adds hundreds of millions of additional costs to government spending.
We understand why they come to this country. Working for minimum or sub-minimum wages is still rich compared to what they could earn in Mexico or other poor Central American countries, if they could even find a job there. The trashy housing so many of them are forced to live in here is still a world better than what they had at home. Because even the lower economic levels of our country are still much better than the mid-range economic levels of most other countries in the world.
The problem has become so great that American citizens are increasingly inclined to support harsh measures to deal with them. A proposal in the Idaho Legislature, for example, to allow illegals to take advantage of "in state" citizen tuition rates at Idaho colleges is, frankly, doomed. We doubt it will even get out of committee. The vast majority of Idahoans would be justifiably furious if it passed.
We should make it easier for Mexican nationals to obtain documentation to work (and be tracked) in the United States. That would end some of the "illegal" problem (we simply cannot support lawbreaking).
We should work with Mexico to help its economy improve so the need to come here is significantly reduced.
But we also should quit simply sending them home when they are caught, because most of them promptly return by the same routes they used to get into our country the first time. A series of prison work camps could be set up so that those who are caught here wind up being incarcerated here for a few years before they are deported. We believe that, combined with an easier system to obtain documentation, would begin to discourage those who are purely "illegal" (and in the long run save us money despite the cost of the camps).
Added to actual and vigorous enforcement of the current laws, especially those involving the hiring of illegals, we believe some significant inroads can be made.
But the current system of turning a blind eye to the existing laws, and creating a revolving door at our borders, is simply not working.
Americans are tired of being overwhelmed by their numbers. Illegal immigration must be stopped, and must be made a priority of the next president and Congress.
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