By William Turnbull
For Northwest Asian Weekly
Calls for comprehensive immigration reform are now abundant. These are nothing more than calls for an open immigration policy and amnesty for 12 to 20 million illegal aliens.
New American Media, in its commentary, published by the Northwest Asian Weekly (July 4–July 10) calls on this country’s “core values” including “economic opportunity, equality under the laws regardless of ethnic background, and an embrace of the world’s most innovative, energetic, and ambitious workers.” I always thought that our core values included following the laws of the country, but evidently that was not convenient to mention.
Let’s tell the truth.
We had amnesty in 1986 under Republican President Ronald Reagan. In that year, Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). This was supposed to be a “one time” amnesty. This was not the case. Since 1986, Congress passed a total of seven amnesties for illegal aliens covering more than 5.8 million:
Under the IRCA, the border was to be enforced and illegal immigration was to be halted.
The amnesty happened and the border enforcement did not. Illegal immigration increased dramatically.
Those who continue to immigrate illegally knows that they are in flagrant violation of our laws. They sneak across borders, overstay their visas, and thumb their noses at our immigration regulations. They forge documents, use other people’s social security numbers, and steal identities. These are not the kind of citizens we need to attract. They need to be removed.
Breaking up families is another concern being raised. Keeping a family together can be simply achieved by the family reuniting in the country where the parents are of legal residence.
Children, including those who are U.S. citizens by birth, can return with the parents to the country where the parents are legal residents. As U.S. citizens, the children may also have the option of staying in the U.S. with guardians.
The problem of family reunification is really the stubborn refusal of those who don’t want to return home, and their insistence that since their child has a right to stay here, so do they.
Are other countries really so bad that people cannot live there? Would children living in other countries suffer so badly? Yet why, at immigration rallies, do we see demonstrators waving the flags of their home countries?
There are situations where people come here and seek political asylum. There are cases where they fear execution and persecution upon returning to their homeland. We have laws to address these situations.
Those who come to the United States and expect to circumvent our laws should suffer the consequences. In many cases, those consequences hurt their entire family and that is sad. However, the blame should be on the perpetrators, not those who enforce our laws.
Laws exist to provide for economic opportunity and equality under the laws regardless of ethnic background. I would be the first to object to anyone being denied opportunity or equality under the law. That does not mean that illegal immigrants have the same rights as those of legal citizens.
As citizens, we should insist that laws on the books be enforced by our authorities. We now have situations where cities, including Seattle, refuse to allow police to inquire about the immigration status of a suspect. They are discouraged from cooperating with immigration authorities and are not allowed to assist in the enforcement of existing laws.
This is a disgrace. Such cities and localities should be denied of any federal funding of any type until they remove such restrictions.
The argument that illegal immigrants do not compete with legal immigrants and citizens is no longer relevant. With our unemployment figures approaching 10 percent, how can we offer any jobs to those who are here illegally? These are jobs which could be taken by the unemployed or students as entry-level jobs.
Roofers, landscapers, and concrete companies employ huge numbers of illegal aliens. These are respectable jobs which honest, hard working Americans need and have the right to.
As for needed labor to harvest crops and other jobs, which open borders groups claim Americans will not do, there is no problem with a guest worker program. Allow people willing to perform these jobs to come here, work for a period of time, and then return home. It should not be an open door to citizenship. It is not an immigrant visa. It is an economic opportunity.
Our country is in debt. We are borrowing money from foreign nations in record amounts. Yet, we have somewhere between 12 and 20 million illegal aliens in this country sending an estimated $45 billion out of the economy. We cannot afford this.
Those who have immigrated here legally have gone through the long process. They have waited, they have undergone investigations, and invested time, money, and effort in applying to legally immigrate. They should be adamantly opposed to amnesty for those who simply cross the border or overstay a visa.
I cannot understand why there is not more of an outcry from those who have followed the law, including Northwest Asian Weekly readers, who now see their jobs, opportunities, and wage levels affected by those who ignore the law.
What is the solution?
Enforce existing laws. Enforce border security. Most importantly, fine and imprison those found hiring employees who are illegal aliens. Cut off their work, and those that are here illegally will go home. Toughen the laws on employers. If the word gets out that serious enforcement is taking place, employers will not take the risk.
We do not need comprehensive immigration reform if that means another amnesty. But we do need to enforce the immigration laws as they are written. ♦
William Turnbull can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.