Friday, May 26, 2006

Immigration Reform - Guest Commentary

Following is an email received from a gentlemen I’ve met through church. I had assumed him to be GOP simply because of his job – which is governmental security and not spoken about even that much. He is on the front lines and truly cannot speak of what he does, where, etc. I am pretty sure he works in America to keep us safe. I’m glad he does this and even more pleased that he wrote this email to many people and thought to include me.

It is an interesting read on many fronts and, a rarity in this time and place, as a moderate Democrat I am pleased to find some common ground with him on this issue. Frankly, I think both the House and Senate Immigration bills horribly flawed, two extremes neither of which can be funded or fulfilled. We need better laws. We need a less divided government, one that works together for the people, all the people, and not for their own turf. Here’s the email:

Dear all,

I am writing you this e-mail to express to you my deep concern for the future of our country and the life that my children will have to face. Please read it carefully and with an open mind. Whether you delete it or act on it is up to you. I do not pretend to know everything and those of you that really know me know that I'm a Christian and have dedicated my life to the service of my country and community. I'm not a racist and am not anti-immigrant. My words are those spoken by a patriotic American who loves his country and every morning I wake up knowing that I could be killed defending it. Enough disclaimers.

There is much that our country is facing that is uncertain. We are fighting a very difficult war against an enemy that does not belong to a country or state or wear uniforms. We have "people" in every continent and major US city putting their lives at risk to hunt these people down before they kill us.

Our national debt is mounting and there is more distrust of our government officials than at any time in my memory (As a kid I saw Nixon resign on TV, but did not know why). Congressmen getting picked off for bribes, a President out of touch with the people, Grand Jury probes.... The Congress screams separation of powers when the FBI conducts a search warrant on a Congressman’s office after he is caught on tape taking a $100,000 bribe. They are really saying that they are above the law and should not be subject to the same 4th amendment scrutiny dealing with probable cause, that every other American citizen is subject to.

Big business has let greed run the day, and the "bottom line" is more important than the country that gives them the opportunity to make money. Enron, World Comm, Tyco....., greed and deceit. Short term profits are more important than the well being of the average worker and the long term financial benefit of a stable American economy-instead you here the words "Global Economy", disclaimers of accountant errors misreporting true debt. Meanwhile thousands of Americans are losing their pensions and are losing their jobs to outsourcing, company financial restructuring, bankruptcy while the CEOs are getting compensated millions of dollars. Meanwhile the same big business interests, who are bribing our politicians (and this week we saw the fruits of their work in the Senate), alienating American workers by building plants oversaes and outsourcing other jobs, are in sourcing a huge illegal migrant workforce which lowers the "working wage" for the Americans looking and WILLING to work.

This week was extremely disconcerting to me, and as I go about my daily life working, raising my family etc. I do not see the concern or frustrations on the faces of the people I come across. I truly feel that I am living in a parallel universe-one that is so opposite of reality or I should say "my reality".

My opinions are not opinions based on some article I read in a newspaper or the book of the week-pick an author or slant-liberal/conservative. I do not trust our mainstream media to even report the truth anymore. I base my opinions on life experience and direct knowledge and first hand accounts. I am not beholden to any party anymore and do not worship any talking head on TV. I am not a "cool aid" drinker who will defend his party's guy. I am a disgruntled Republican who looks at every issue independently.

With this said, the debate our country is facing with Immigration Reform is probably the most important issue that has faced our nation in my generation. It transcends all the other major issues our country is facing today. It is not just about immigrant rights and the poor-it affects our national security, economy, national debt, infrastructure, quality of life as well as our country's long term survival as a sovereign and prosperous nation. Those that say otherwise are lying. Those that turn this into a one-issue vote are corrupt. The Republicans beholden to their business interests, and the Democrats desire for a larger future voting base.

We are fighting a war on terror, yet we have a President, Senate and some in the House who do not understand the ramifications of their actions-or if they do then we are really in trouble. We have over extended our military overseas and deployed "people" to every corner of the world to put their lives at risk to keep America safe at home. Many brave men and women have died. We have been attacked on our own soil. We have engaged the enemy of our country..... Yet we leave our borders wide open. That is not logical, nor is it rational.

I have first hand knowledge of people wanting to do us harm crossing the border-not spin but FIRST HAND knowledge. Terrorists. The Mexican military escort drug runners into our country ON OUR SOIL and enables hundreds of tons of illegal drugs to be brought in ands sold on our streets. Canada's border is actually just as bad. We have caught people (bad people) who have just walked across that border.

I work with B.I.C.E. agents every day. For those of you who do not know they are formerly INS and Customs. There are just 200 agents responsible for San Bernardino, Orange, Los Angeles, and Riverside counties. That's it! They are overwhelmed and completely understaffed. They are terrified of this new Senate bill. It would be a tsunami. Any one of the before mentioned bad guys who illegally crosses our borders would be able to petition for legal residency under the new law and even if their paper work is blatantly fraudulent they would still be able to stay until their case is adjudicated in the immigration courts. And even if after 4 years they are ordered deported they can appeal to the 9th Circuit-yikes!

The immigration courts are so backlogged now, our current VISA system is broken-I can't tell you how many people overstay their VISAs and just disappear. And of those few that are caught and issued notices to appear - an estimated 90% just disappear again. These numbers are from ICE agents not FOX News. The reality is that once you make it in the country you never leave. That is the reality of any GUEST WORKER program. That doesn't even take into account the illegal immigration.

Any guest worker given status under this bill will never leave. His/her children will become citizens and then they can petition their immediate family to come. They will be anchored here. The Senate bill will allow 70-100 million new LEGAL immigrants in the next 20 years which equates to approximately 200 million new people (children, family members etc)-remember those overwhelmed courts and ICE agents-they will cease to function period. Sure they will conduct 70 million background checks, keep track of their whereabouts and ensure compliance. They don't know where the current VISA overstays are!!

At last check we have close to 300 million CITIZENS. That is an accumulation of 200+ years. In 20 years we would be almost at 500 million. Our infrastructure would collapse. Period.

This bill would draw millions more illegal aliens on top of the 12-20 million here now that we cannot deport. The expanded legal immigration and exponential illegal immigration would be devastating. We are in trouble now in Southern California. Our schools are overwhelmed, many of the students can't speak English, our emergency rooms are being overwhelmed, traffic is awful and our economic drain of tax recourses is devastating not to mention our jails and prisons are overflowing. In California we spend over 10 billion a year for services for illegal immigrants and their families. That includes health care, law enforcement, prison and jail costs, social welfare programs, education.....We are at capacity now and are barely functioning. The local politicians say it is a federal issue and will not allow cities or local police departments to enforce federal law. Yet the federal government ignores the issues and will not reimburse us for the financial cost of illegal immigration.

Social Security is allegedly in trouble now. I know there won't be much for me when I retire. Yet this news bill would allow an illegal immigrant who broke the law by entering this country, stole or manufactured a fake social security number (a felony) to work here illegally to legally draw from social security when they retire-even if they move back to their country of origin.

In case we all forgot English is our official language-but the Senate could not stomach that one. After much debate in this bill it is now our "commonly shared" language. People can vote, take drivers tests, get bank information, etc., in any language.

In the Senate Bill any fence construction that would take place would only be allowed after first consulting the Mexican government. I am not lying it is in the bill.

There is no governmental agency or system in place that would even be able to carry out the provisions in this bill. Look how great the Dept. of Homeland Security is doing NOW. Ask those people who live in border states or in New Orleans....

I could go on and on..

Here is what I see should happen. Secure our borders, and get our current legal immigration policy under control. Sanction employers for hiring illegals and hold businesses accountable for exploiting the labor market. Guess what - wages would have to rise and the American looking for a job would actually take a job if the wages were better. It would benefit the legal immigrants who have followed the rules, as well as their children. Look at the House Bill - it does all these things. It is rational and not racist or evil. Our borders need to be secured period. If it works after a period of several years then you can talk about those that are here illegally now. That is a compassionate approach-contrary to what Kennedy or McCain are saying. We owe it to our children and their children to protect our country from harm and to protect it from economic and social ruin. It is not racist to say we need to fix our system and secure our borders and until it happens we should not nor cannot expand immigration-both legal and illegal. The Senate Bill would do that.

Contact your Congressman and let them know that they cannot compromise with the Senate-period. We need enforcement of our immigration system and our borders first. Let them know that this is a grave mistake and will impact our country permanently. If they do not protect tell them you them you will vote them out of office!