It is obvious that our immigration system is out of control, and neither side wants to fix it. We are letting in large numbers of unassimilated poorly qualified people who are jacking up the population and spreading poverty. The only immigration that I favor is among the very qualified who tend to adapt well and help build up the country.
I saw this article in USAToday.com, which explains well the immigration mess that we face and what needs to be done to fix it. Not many people want to talk about it, but at least Lamar Smith is.
Immigration enforcement key to success: ColumnLamar Smith10:22a.m. EST March 4, 2013
Amnesty is not the answer, but enforcing the laws we already have on the books.
Amnesty advocates argue that our immigration system is broken and can only be fixed by legalizing millions of illegal immigrants. But they ignore the real problem plaguing our system today: lack of enforcement of laws already on the books.
America has the most generous immigration system in the world, admitting one million legal immigrants every year. There is a right way and a wrong way to enter our country. The right way is to play by the rules and wait your turn, not cut in front of the line and ignore the law. Better border and interior security will benefit American taxpayers and workers and make our communities safer.
But even if the border itself is secure, that doesn’t mean that individuals won’t continue to gain legal entry and remain in the country illegally. That happens when those on student, visitor or business visas don’t return home after their short-term visa has expired. They account for 40% of all illegal immigrants, more than four million people. Border security must go hand-in-hand with interior enforcement. Congress can take numerous actions to reduce illegal immigration at the border and inside the country. Some of these merely require that the government enforce existing law:
- Require employers to only hire legal workers. This will reduce the magnet of the easy availability of jobs that entices many to enter illegally. And it will reduce the competition for scarce jobs that hurts legal workers. More than 425,000 employers have signed up voluntarily for E-Verify that ensures that prospective hires are legally authorized to work in the U.S. And 99.5% of legal workers are confirmed immediately.
- Increase work-site investigations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to make sure employers are hiring legal workers. This will protect jobs for unemployed or underemployed Americans. Unfortunately, work-site enforcement is down 70% under the Obama administration.
- Implement an entry-exit system using biometrics (such as fingerprints) to identify those who entered on a temporary visa and overstayed their visit. They comprise almost half of all illegal immigrants. This administration has ignored the law requiring them to set up this system.
- Increase border resources and personnel so that fewer illegal immigrants will enter undetected. For every person apprehended today, others escape notice. The Government Accountability Office has determined that only 6.5% of the southern border is under “full control” of the Border Patrol.
- Refuse to issue visas to residents of countries that won’t allow their citizens to be returned home after they have committed crimes in the U.S. Many of these individuals are now released back into our communities where they often commit additional crimes.
- Expand the Secure Communities program, which identifies illegal immigrants who have been arrested for crimes. These offenders should be detained and then sent home, not released. The Obama administration allows some cities to ignore this law.
- Stop giving automatic citizenship to children born to illegal immigrant parents, which represents about 10% of all births in the U.S. today. At least one parent should be in the country legally. Automatic citizenship rewards illegal parents and often tempts them to enter the U.S. just to give birth.
Even if Congress enacts all these provisions, that still doesn’t guarantee they will be implemented. All laws are useless unless they are enforced. And it’s the president who can choose to enforce or not enforce laws, as we have seen many times.
Regardless of what initiatives are taken or what legislation is enacted, the flow of illegal immigrants will never stop. Some foreigners will not want to wait in line, others will take their chances and work illegally, and others will risk using fraudulent documents.
What’s more, if current legislative proposals to legalize millions of illegal immigrants are approved, amnesty advocates threaten to file lawsuits delaying enforcement provisions. So the enforcement measures will be tied up in court, but the amnesty provisions will go into effect immediately. The result is amnesty but no enforcement of border security. And as we’ve learned, amnesty without enforcement only leads to more illegal immigration.
Amnesty advocates promise that they’ll secure the border and enforce our laws once they get what they want — legalization of those in the country illegally. We’ve heard those promises in the past — and they were never kept.
We should not reward those who have broken our laws with amnesty. Even if we did, there is no guarantee that the border or interior would become more secure.
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, now serves on the immigration subcommittee.
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