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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Do we need Immigration Reform?

The following editorial appeared in the Beaufort Gazette, Sunday, January 12, 2013.  I could not let it go unanswered! Read my response below:

Time for real immigration reform

info@islandpacket.comJanuary 12, 2014 

A recent letter to the newspaper used the same old lies, misinformation and myths to object to comprehensive immigration reform.
In this case, the writer comes up with new, specious thinking and distortions. First, there is no objective information that undocumented people commit more crime while in this country. Quite the opposite is true -- fewer crimes are committed by this population than the general population. Look it up.
Secondly, no one believing in comprehensive reform is encouraging laws to be broken. We, pro reform advocates, want border security, fines for those who have entered the country to seek the American dream and a fair path to ultimate citizenship.
Thirdly, if the writer wishes to take on American religious groups, she needs to directly contact the Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, Unitarians, Lutherans, Baptists, and other denominations that support comprehensive reform.
Also, significant, objective data support the fact that undocumented workers primarily take jobs that no other Americans are willing to take. And the writer, without a serious attempt at objectivity, cites the number of immigrants as being 33 million -- another figment of her imagination.
Finally, no people are aliens (expect maybe those from outer space) and if the alternative to legalizing this mostly-positive workforce is to free criminally-prosecuted felons, I'm sure that idea won't gain much traction.
It is logistically, morally, and economically bankrupt to advocate doing nothing to resolve our immigration problem. Let's get serious and find common ground.

George Kanuck

Hell No!

George, If you want an honest debate on immigration reform, we must be honest with the words we choose to use. Alien as defined by the Oxford Dictionary:  noun

    a foreigner, especially one who is not a naturalized citizen of the country where they are living:an illegal alien
    a hypothetical or fictional being from another world.
    a plant or animal species originally introduced from another country and later naturalized.  

Therefore the use of the word in this instance is correct.  Those who would obfuscate the debate will attempt to change it by redefining it's core subject.  Hence, illegal alien changes to illegal immigrant, to undocumented immigrant and undocumented worker.  These people immigrated to our country.  They are not naturalized citizens and they entered criminally.  They are illegal aliens!

As to your first point.  DHS estimates, conservatively, that total illegal aliens in the USA is 12.9% of the total population as of 2013.  However, in 1980 only 9,000 criminal illegal aliens were incarcerated in federal prisons.  Today over 55,000 criminal illegal aliens are incarcerated in our federal prisons and comprise over 25% of the total federal prison population. In state and local prisons, there are approximately 297,000 criminal illegal aliens incarcerated, comprising over 16% of the total state and local prison populations.

One would think if illegal aliens were not committing more crimes than the general legal residents, the percentage would be equal to or less than 12.9% of total prison populations for federal, state and local. Yes, I looked it up!

The comprehensive reform that has been proposed and enacted illegally by fiat by President Obama, "The Dream Act" is outright amnesty for illegal aliens.  The Gang of 8 proposal is not any different in offering outright amnesty and punishes legal immigrants.  It encourages illegal immigration.  Extending entitlement programs to illegal aliens such as welfare, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, free or lower in-state tuition and much more encourages them to remain and entices more to enter illegally to gain these attractive benefits.

Pro-reform advocates state they want secure borders, then they hamper enforcement.  This is proven by the lawsuit by Border Security Agents who filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration and DOJ for preventing them from doing their jobs to secure the border and enforce immigration laws.

I have no qualms against immigrants, I am the grandchild of 3 immigrants, who entered this nation legally and obtained citizenship. One of whom served during WW1.  As for the actions of various religious organizations, I can personally attest to seeing a Catholic Church issuing forged green cards to illegal immigrants.  I was prevented from notifying ICE by my superior officers or making an arrest.  I served in a sanctuary city  under a very liberal mayor about 15 years ago when this occurred.  Because of what I witnessed, and of learning it was a system wide occurrence within the Roman Catholic Church as well as other issues of hypocrisy, I left the RCC and joined a church where none of these shenanigans are tolerated or condoned.

If an illegal immigrant comes here to seek political or religious refuge, then I see no problem in religious institutions and our government offering refuge and eventual citizenship.

As for unemployment, The US Dept. of Labor released their unemployment report which showed unemployed Americans totaled 10.4 million.  However, missing from this statistic is the number of those who are "marginally attached to the workforce" meaning they stopped looking or lost their unemployment insurance benefit.  They total 2.4 million as of December 2013 per the DOL. Also missing are those who are underemployed and those who found their full time job converted to a part time position.  The number of American jobs that are taken by illegal aliens is 8.5 million. That's 12.8 million Americans (that the feds estimate and we know that number is much higher) who are missing out on competing for 8.5 million jobs that employ illegal aliens.  That is 8.5 million employees, the majority of whom do not pay federal, state or local income taxes, contribute to social security or unemployment insurance.  That is the income of 8.5 million individuals, the majority of which leaves our country without stimulating local economies or revenues.  That is 8.5 million families who drain federal, state and local resources in hospitals, schools, emergency services and entitlement programs.  Several of my friends over the past 20 years have applied for jobs that were given to illegals, so the argument that Americans don't want those jobs is false.  Many of those low income jobs would have gone to high school and college age kids.  They are a disproportionate number of the unemployed, especially in the black community.  Think of the number of American families we could lift out of poverty if those kids could be employed in those jobs to help supplement their family income. Jobs in hospitality, landscaping and construction are jobs many Americans are very willing to work.

When our federal and state government tightened up enforcement of active immigration laws, a great number of illegal aliens voluntarily repatriated themselves with their native countries.  In cases of hardship, of which there were some, authorities worked with the alien to find an acceptable solution.  One such case was about 3 years ago, here in South Carolina involving Senator Lindsey Graham, of which I am no fan, but he did something good in this case.  It involved a young high school girl who wanted to get a drivers license.  It was at that time she learned she was an illegal alien.  She was smuggled into the USA as an infant, completely unaware of her status.  With the assistance of Senator Graham, she was able to negotiate an agreement wherein, she voluntarily returned to her native country, staying with family for a brief period, legally re-enter the USA, obtain a green card, and apply for citizenship.  She was able to graduate with her class and go on to college.

We don't need more legislation to reform immigration.  We need enforcement of current laws.  At one time this nation required the immigrant to secure a responsible sponsor who would vouch for the immigrant,.  The sponsor had to guarantee that the immigrant and their family would not be placed on the public dole and be a burden to society and the taxpayers.  When Congress overturned that requirement in the immigration laws they opened the floodgates to illegal immigration.  Maybe we should look to see what worked successfully in the past and made us a nation of harmonious immigrants and a world power.  Now that reform I can support!

Ann Ubelis, SC

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