If we don't get it right, immigration debate could get ugly
The majority of Americans know that illegal immigration hurts our economy and endangers our national security. The president and the Democrats in Congress, particularly the Latino lobby, want to fix our immigration laws and policies. The latest in this "testy" issue is that the president wants to address "comprehensive immigration reform" before the November elections. Duh.
If the Democrats address this issue before the elections, they will lose their majority in both houses of Congress. Smart Democrats know this. The far left just doesn’t get it. In fear of losing their Latino constituency, (10 million voters in 2008), some Democrats want to challenge the conservative, independent, and "blue dog" (read Reagan Democrat) coalition at the least opportune moment in current history. With an estimated 25 million American citizens out of work, fixing immigration to allow illegals a path to citizenship and thus increase competition in this job market seems like political suicide. Nearly two-thirds of all Americans in recent polls oppose any form of amnesty, which is really what this comprehensive reform pig really is.
Although the official guess is that there are currently 10.8 million illegals living in the U.S., there are far more than that. Estimates by academics and organizations that study this problem estimate that at least twice that number is much more accurate…kind of like our "official" unemployment numbers which we know are bogus and don’t count the long term unemployed.
The U.S. Senate's previous failed attempts, championed by Senator John McCain, proved that "we the people" clearly don’t want what advocates of illegal immigration want. Their latest plan, espoused by the President’s Chicago pal, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, the House Hispanic Caucus chairman, calls for much of the same McCain provisions: tougher enforcement efforts, "criminal background checks for those illegals wanting to stay, and a six year wait for permanent legal status."
Clearly what we need is greater border and interior security to find, catch and deport all illegals to their country of origin. This means more, not less, workplace "raids." Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano needs to reverse her edict to halt workplace inspections so that those highly successful raids may continue to achieve superior results. We also need to fully enforce all existing laws for a test period to determine which laws increase our security and which ones don’t. Then, eliminate the bad, and enhance the good immigration laws.
A "comprehensive" study is needed before any "comprehensive" legislation is drafted. The study should concentrate on determining labor needs vs. labor forces available. Now you have something to sink your teeth into. What is the need? Fill it with legal immigrants, not illegal ones. Applications for citizenship status should remain the same until another study determines the appropriate numbers to accept from all countries with applicants- a higher calling-not given to those who can crawl through tunnels or climb hastily constructed border fences.
In summary, the majority of Americans do not accept "amnesty" as a solution. Mr. President and Congress, don’t craft legislation until we know what the facts are- number of jobs vs. number of American workers; which laws work and which ones don’t; and consider the results following increased border control measures.
If we determine that we need immigrants, hire them legally at the borders like we used to. Our system worked well in the past with minimum government intervention. It can work well again. If we don’t get this right, this issue will become much uglier and more difficult to control than the health care debate. Ouch!