"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." -2 Chronicles 7:14

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Illegal Immigration

It's amazing how fast the national media seems to move from one topic to the next, never missing a beat.  They are completely focused on convincing the American public that this or that is the issue they need to be worried the most about today (or this week, whatever they feel like this time).

The big issue was Social Security; the need to "reform" it, and the comments some people were making about it.  Now, the big issue in the news is illegal immigration.

If you are even the slightest bit informed, you know that illegal immigration is a problem.  A study released by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) shows that illegal immigration costs federal and local taxpayers $100 billion a year.  No human mind can fully comprehend that.  Last year, there were approximately 11 million illegal immigrants, along with their U.S. born children, in the United States.  Even without doing the math, by looking at those two numbers side-by-side you can see how much this is costing us.  Per household, it does come out to roughly $1,000 a year.  Since illegal immigrants are not distributed evenly among the states, that rate is higher in states with higher illegal populations.  The prevention is not an easy job, but it is one that needs to start, beginning with the federal government doing their part to help.

The fence at the border between the United States and Mexico is the main thing being used to keep illegal immigrants out.  It is approximately 650 miles long, 21 feet high and 6 feet into the ground, cemented in a 3 foot wide trench.  It was made with 5,000 PSI concrete, making it a very strong fence.  Its physical strength, however, does not keep people who are determined to come in from coming.  They just jump over the fence, glad and at the same time, probably wondering how long it will take us to figure them out.

There are so many different opinions on how to secure the border, something that sorely needs to be done.  One was a bill proposed by Arizona governor Jan Brewer last year.  Immigration Law 1070 would require all immigrants to carry their registration or legal documents with them at all times and also gives police the right to question anyone who appears to be an illegal immigrant.  This sounds like a perfectly logical way to ensure your legal immigrants have the most opportunity to earn jobs, and also to ensure that dangerous illegals are not roaming the streets in your town.  This only presents a problem for those here illegally; if you are a legal immigrant, this will not affect you.

E-Verify screening is another option states can take advantage of to protect their population.  This national online database gives the immigration status of virtually everyone in the country.  Therefore, if your name is not on that list, you are not here legally.  This is a tremendous tool for employers to check someone's status before hiring them.  The Legal Workforce Act is currently pending in the House of Representatives, which would require all employers to use the E-Verify system before hiring an employee.  This would conflict with the bill that California governor Jerry Brown is getting ready to sign into law, which would not require employers to use E-Verify.

A fence on the border is one of the most debated issues right now.  Many are saying we need a better fence to keep illegals out.  However, statistics show that a fence will not keep them all out.  We have a fence right now, and people are still coming in.  That's not to say we should take the fence down.  What I'm saying is, we need additional assets to that fence in order for it to be as effective as possible.  Border agents are one of them.  We have thousands of border patrol agents on duty right now, standing guard at the border.  The sad thing is, many of these agents lose their lives protecting our border.  We need more help from our national government to further protect these agents.  Many of these agents are state-issued, meaning that the national government is not doing its part.

The use of more drones and "aviation assets" (to quote Texas Gov. Perry) are something we definitely need.  They will not completely take over border security, but rather add to what we have now.  More cameras to show us exactly where the "hot spots" for entering the U.S. are could also prove beneficial, for obvious reasons.

I'm not claiming to have all the answers on border security.  I don't think anyone does.  What I do know, though, is that we need all-hands-on-deck in order to get this under control.  The issue of illegal immigration is not something that will be solved overnight, nor will it be solved without the entire nation standing together to fix it.  We especially need our president to support drastic changes to immigration policy in general.  The border states are not the only ones to blame for immigration.  They should not be facing it on their own simply because they are the minority.  While it should be a state-issue (every state has its own specific needs), the rest of the country should be supportive of them and the federal government should be doing their part to aid them.

Immigration is a vital part of this nation, and is another side of what sets us apart..  Every other nation in the world has to have walls to keep people in; we have to have walls to keep people out!  Immigration is a great thing when done correctly.  We have a great system in place for obtaining legal citizenship, and it should remain that way.  We should be encouraging all those who come here to seek that citizenship the way thousands have for generations.  That system needs no change; what needs to be changed is how people are actually getting in, in the first place.

"One of the critical issues that we have to confront is illegal immigration, because this is a multi-headed Hydra that affects our economy, our health care, our education systems, our national security, and also our local criminality."  -Congressman Allen West.

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