More on the immigration debate |

More on the immigration debate

There has been a great hue and cry over the “rights” of illegal immigrants, which strikes me as an oxymoron. Just what rights should anyone who has entered the country illegally realistically expect? Certainly anyone who should not even be here should not be eligible for free medical care, food stamps, or any other form of welfare. We will address the issue of schooling for their children a little later.That said, how do we now deal with an estimated 10 million to 12 million people who are in this country illegally? It is virtually impossible to round up and deport all of them, nor should we grant them amnesty. We are facing this dilemma because our government has failed to serve our country and its citizens. The issue of illegal immigration should have been addressed 30 years ago, when it first became apparent that it had been increasing for 10 years. Instead, it has been ignored until a stream of less than 100,000 illegal immigrants a year has become a flood exceeding 1 million a year, adding up to the 10 million to 12 million person (and rising) problem we now face.So what should we do about it? It is not mine to do, but I throw out a few suggestions for consideration:1. We should immediately secure our borders to stop all illegal immigration, using our military to enforce that closure.2. Anyone intercepted attempting illegal entry should be treated as a common criminal, photographed and fingerprinted, and as punishment, should be deported and forever denied U.S. citizenship or any form of legal entry, permanent or temporary.3. Any illegal immigrant arrested and convicted of any criminal activity, act of violence, false documentation, driving without a license or on a suspended license or without proof of liability insurance (all indications of unwillingness to be responsible for their actions) should similarly be deported and denied reentry. The same penalty should be discretionary for legal immigrants, judged on individual circumstances.4. Granting citizenship to children born to illegal immigrants in the country should be terminated.5. All immigrants, legal or illegal, should be required to have identification cards with their photographs and encoded iris patterns, which they will need to have verified for employment. Employers should be required to verify and report the status of employees – legal immigrant, or illegal immigrant – and obtain a permit before employing an illegal immigrant. Employers who violate those requirements should be subject to significant fines.6. The minimum wage for adults should be increased significantly to create an even playing field for non-immigrants and immigrants alike, and to prevent hiring of immigrants at substandard wages, which take advantage of immigrants and drive non-immigrants away. Everyone should be paid a living wage for a day’s work.7. I support citizenship requirements for immigrants to learn English and pay taxes, and for illegals to pay a penalty.8. I favor a seasonal guest worker program to supply the need for agricultural labor, but without any attached “amnesty” provision.However, illegal immigration is only part of a much bigger problem, and that problem is the total number of immigrants. Just as we have to overcome our addiction to oil and particularly our dependence on foreign oil, we also need to overcome our dependency on cheap alien labor – because it really isn’t cheap. Californians are faced with the cost of building one new school every day for as long as present immigration rates continue, just to meet the education needs of the children of immigrants. We need to return to the immigration limitations which were in place before Congress relaxed those limitations in 1965, to ensure that the population of the United States will stabilize at something less than 400 million. Even that number will diminish the quality of life we would like to pass on to our descendants. The situation could be improved by a mandatory family-planning education program for immigrants, and by requiring illegal immigrants to pay the cost of educating any child after the first two per family.Glenwood Springs resident Hal Sundin’s column runs every other Thursday in the Post Independent.

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