On Sunday August 1st, I updated this with a link at the end of this posting.
Illegal immigration. It has been ignored for decades. It was an issue facing this country before I was old enough to vote.
We have a process for legal immigration, citizenship, work permits, etc.; that has been largely ignored or overwhelmed for years.
And now we are facing a growing divide on the subject.
Those who believe we should not require people in our country to prove that they have a legal right to be here, have several arguments including:
- We are discriminating, racial profiling and harassing people if we question their status.
- We need the illegal population to take the jobs that legals would not take.
- It is the compassionate thing to do, to allow others into our country so they can escape the poverty and poor living conditions in their home country.
- If I am stopped for speeding I am asked for identification. I need proof of my identity to get a driver’s license, bank account, a job, a loan, etc. Having proper id is one step we use in this country to protect ourselves from identity theft and identity fraud. The only ones who should be worried about this are those that cannot prove who they are because they are not here legally.
- With the recession and rising unemployment currently affecting our economy, we don’t need a sub-culture of people who take money at substandard wages. This creates another problem of companies not paying their share of taxes, and it traps the sub-culture in a life of poverty due to the substandard wages.
- By paying someone substandard wages and living in fear of being discovered as illegal, we are not giving these illegal immigrants freedom, instead we are subjecting them to a different type of slavery.
When I was a teenager, the focus on illegal immigration was mainly on Cuban refuges risking their lives to come to Florida. But the past 25 years, it has been on illegal immigration from Mexico. As recent as 9 years ago we tightened up security due to 9-11. But we really didn’t.
As I write this, the news is out that a judge has blocked key portions of Arizona’s immigration law. The federal government has not been enforcing federal law so Arizona took matters into their own hands. So now we have a court battle over who has the right to enforce or ignore laws we have on the books.
It’s time to make some tough choices. I propose we do the following:
- Secure our southern border with Mexico. Naysayers say we don’t have the money or manpower. We really don’t have the guts. We have had troops oversees protecting other countries since World War 2. We have troops in the middle east fighting an unwinnable war. Bring them home. Let them serve us, protect us.
- Once we have stopped the influx of illegal immigrants, we need to decide what to do with those that are here illegally. In 1986 we offered an amnesty program. We could do it again, but only if we have secure borders first.
- Apply the same identity standards to everyone. And I mean everyone. I’m 50 was born in New Jersey. Make me carry id with me at all times, just like anyone over the age of say, 16.
Does anyone have the guts to do this? Arizona tried, other states and cities are trying to do this, but it will take the co-operation and support of the federal government to make this work.
Update: Regarding the work that immigrants do, read this: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/viewpoints/articles/2010/03/14/20100314thompson14.html