Monday, December 19, 2005

Illegal Immigration Must Be Fixed

As of 2003, the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) has estimated that there were 8 million illegal immigrants living in America, a number which has been increasing half a million annually. One would think that this fact alone would compel our federal government to propose solutions and initiatives which would help secure our border more effectively. Unfortunately, our government has been failing us for several years in protecting our borders and in the process hurting the average American citizen. As the Democrats and Republicans argue over what will work, everyone should be clear on one main point: illegal immigration is a major problem, and needs to be fixed.

The National Research Council has calculated that illegal immigrants use approximately twenty-two billion dollars of the American taxpayer’s money a year. Although it is true that most illegal immigrants are not on welfare, they still waste government expenditures through means of education, incarceration, and medical care. The federal Bureau of Prison spent $5.8 billion on incarcerating illegals between 2001 and 2004. The worst part was that $5.8 billion was only 25% of the actual cost; the rest was shouldered by individual states. The expense of illegal immigrants is now on the shoulders of the average American citizen. To eradicate illegal immigration I believe the government should focus on three main areas: 1) to increase border security using the National Guard, 2) to garner international cooperation from Mexico, and 3) to enforce the law on illegal immigrants already inside our country by putting into practice a guest worker program.

There are a number of very important initiatives I believe we should discuss when implementing better policy on the border. First and foremost, we must recognize that we simply do not have enough border patrol agents on the borders to effectively catch all or even the majority of illegal immigrants. President Bush provided the southern border 210 additional border agents this year, despite the fact that Homeland Security was asking for 2,000 more agents. My solution is simple. If we are concerned at all about the safety of our country, and the economic dominance we sustain, then we should use the National Guard to secure the majority of the border. Recently, a congressional report has found that the deployment of 36,000 National Guard troops would "dramatically reduce if not virtually eliminate" illegal immigration. The government has the necessary tools to impede immigration with the US National Guard, yet no lawmaker has the will to engage such a hot button issue.

It also doesn’t help that the Mexican President, Vicente Fox, is calling for a modified version of an “open border.” This kind of international rhetoric is absurd. But what can one expect from someone who claimed that open borders were good because Mexicans “are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States." Fox doesn’t seem to care or realize that these illegal immigrants cost people like you and I money. Fox doesn’t seem to understand that an open border would be a haven for any potential terrorists to enter our country and destroy an entire American city. Yet, the slimiest of motivations may just be that Fox doesn’t want to deal with the extremely high poverty rate (over 40%) in his country. So, as Fox distorts how America benefits from illegal immigrants, he is concealing his true motivations. He doesn’t want to deal with the poor in his country, period. However, we need to get Fox to cooperate and understand why we should place National Guardsmen on the border. Without Fox on our side for these policies, the decline of immigration will not be as great as it could be.

While protecting the border and getting Fox to cooperate is vital for a secure border, we also must address the issue of what to do with all of the illegal immigrants already here in America. As much as I would love to wave a magic wand and deport the 8 or 9 million living here already, it’s simply not plausible. We don’t have the manpower or the money for that kind of an operation. So, my proposal would first create incentives to employers of any business to hire legal immigrants instead of illegal immigrants. There should also be harsher penalties if any employer decides to take on illegals to his payroll. Secondly, my proposal would implement a guest worker program, similar to Bush’s plan, which would allow illegals already inside the US to work for employers who need people for labor. Many of my conservative colleagues disagree with granting the illegal immigrants, who already broke the law, guest worker status in the US simply because it is unfair to the immigrants who legally tried to enter the country, and who are still waiting for citizenship. This position sounds like a good idea, but it lacks a pragmatic approach to address the illegals already in the country. Since we cannot deport them all, why not let them work and pay taxes to the American political system? After three taxpaying, hard-working years, the illegals should have the opportunity to apply for citizenship, granted they had no trouble with the law during their three year stay.

If these three points were executed on a federal level, not only will illegal immigration decline, but also government expenditures will decline, as they begin to pay taxes and pay for their own health care. The longer we wait and avoid enacting policies which could hinder illegal immigration, the bigger the problem will be in the future. If the Bush Administration does not protect the border then I believe the severity the problem could be catastrophic to our nation’s economy and to our national security.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would close the border and kick out all the bad immigrants. The good ones, I will help them become citizens and enjoy our American way of life. I wonder what the government is thinking about this right now? What do you think?