The debate over illegal immigration is full of non sequiturs, mixed messages and false assumptions. First of all, no one in his right mind is against immigration, per se. A lot of people, including myself, however, are against illegal immigration. To be against illegal immigration does not mean that you're a racist! Everyone wants secure borders. No one believes the borders should be sieves because the people crossing them illegally only want to come here to work. And the garbage that illegals are doing "jobs that Americans don't want to do" is just that: garbage!
Let's have a sane approach to immigration shall we? That means first and foremost that it's got to be legal immigration. The US also has a Visa program. That means that people can come here legally for periods of time for specific purposes. There's nothing wrong with these basic concepts. We don't need a ton more legislation. What's on the books now is probably enough.
Securing our borders is something that really needs to be done especially after 9/11, especially in view of the War on Terrorism. The fact that the majority of people coming across the border are not terrorists is irrelevant. It only takes a couple of terrorists to come in along with the others who are only looking for work to knock us cattywampus, and we cannot afford to take that chance.
The technology that is available today could certainly secure the borders if only we decided to use it. If satellite technology can read a license plate in Iraq, it can certainly locate people running over the border. Unmanned aerial vehicles or drones can patrol the border. Outposts along the border every 100 miles or so manned with helicopters could pick up communications from satellites and drones identifying the location of people trying to cross illegally. They then could be tracked and picked up. Electronic barriers can alert border personnel when tripped. There is so much that technology and additional manpower could do. Why not build our military bases along the border instead of in posh interior locations?
Instead we waste billions of dollars in Iraq and in building military bases all over the world leaving our homeland border security a joke. Camp Pendleton which is located about 50 miles from the border is stocked with hundreds if not thousands of helicopters. Not one of them is used for border security. Our military personnel, the best trained military force in the world, are not used for border security. Why not? Isn't it their job to protect the homeland as in homeland security? We could make it impossible for anyone to cross our borders illegally if we had the will to do it, and a correct assessment of our priorities.
The approach to the war on terrorism has to be first and foremost defensive as in defending the homeland as in border security. The big threat is not a missile, but someone bringing in a bomb in a suitcase. If workers can't come across our border illegally to pick lettuce so that we can pay less for lettuce in the supermarket, what is that compared with preventing mass destruction and chaos due to infiltration of terrorists? And, in addition, stepped up border security would also prevent the importation of illegal contraband such as drugs. What a nice little bonus that would be!
As far as what to do with the 12 million or so people who are here illegally, why all the talk about giving them a "pathway to citizenship." As a practical matter it would be impossible to deport them all. However, the important consideration is to deter future illegal immigrants. President Reagan supposedly solved the problem once and for all with his granting of amnesty in 1986 to what were then only 2 or 3 million illegal aliens. What a farce that turned out to be! Supposedly the idea was OK, you guys are here, you can be American citizens, but NO MORE of you need apply. You better not come here illegally from now on. And the result is...12 million more illegal immigrants in 20 years. Nice result, Reagan. Smart move. I guess you solved the problem once and for all.
From Juan Mann:
Today, the number of aliens is four fold what it was in 1986. And the US is grappling with the prospect of another amnesty—in large part because of the example set by Reagan.
Instead, the Democrats have a plan to put the illegals at "the end of the line" on a pathway to citizenship. Why put them on a path to citizenship at all? They're here. Let them be here, but you don't have to grant them citizenship, and, because you can't deport them all, doesn't mean that you can't deport some. My solution would be to give them a 90 day period to come forward and identify themselves and be issued an ID card. Then they're accounted for and not part of some underground.
They should then have the full protection of US laws that protect every other American citizen and worker such as worker's compensation and the right to unionize. They should not, however, be full-fledged citizens and should never have the right to vote unless they want to go back to where they came from and apply to immigrate legally. Other than that they should have the full protection of American laws. Those who didn't come forward would be subject to deportation. Those who've committed or commit in the future criminal acts would be subject to deportation. Those who came here yesterday and have no job or family ties would be subject to deportation. Those who had jobs, family ties, etc, could stay, but I wouldn't put them on a path to citizenship. And ones who come from now on would be deported. I am not in favor of President Bush's "guest worker" program because it does not afford "guest workers" the full protections of US law, but makes them chattels in the hands of the corporations that employ them. But the key to preventing new arrivals is getting serious about border security and that includes airports, seaports and tunneling under the border.
We should have satellites tracking the entire border, both land and sea, with rapid deployment forces capable of intercepting planes, boats, people on foot, in vehicles etc. And our military should be redesigned to handle defense of the homeland instead of military adventurism overseas!
Fortunately, there are people like Lou Dobbs who are talking sense to the American people about the situation, and, finally, people are starting to listen. Some of them are even Congressmen and women!