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Jewish World Review
Sept. 30, 2009
/ 12 Tishrei 5770
The Ongoing Battle Against Amnesty
In a September 22nd editorial, The New York Times renewed its opposition
to the construction of a fence to deter illegal crossings from Mexico to
the United States.
The Times speculates that the current decline in border arrests "could
be because of the bad economy as much as the fence." They are probably
right. What I object to is the Times' insistence that a better solution
to the problem of illegal immigration is "for Congress to reform the
nation's immigration laws. No fence can keep a determined immigrant out
or absolve Congress of that responsibility." The Times' version of
reforming our immigration laws means providing amnesty and a path to
citizenship to the estimated 12 to 20 million illegal aliens now living
in the U.S.
The Times refuses to use the words illegal aliens when referring to
people crossing our borders without permission. Instead, it calls them
"immigrants," or "migrants." If people entered The New York Times
building without permission and squatted there, would the Times call
them migrants? Or would it call them trespassers and have them evicted?
I believe that the next legislative battle will be over amnesty and "a
path to citizenship." Regrettably, President Obama and Senator John
McCain stand shoulder to shoulder in support of such amnesty.
I oppose the granting of amnesty except in cases demanding a
compassionate response, e.g., children who are American citizens whose
parents are illegals. My solution to illegal immigration is prison for
American employers who knowingly hire illegals. I do not support
jailing the aliens, but I would support paying their transportation
costs back to their homelands. If their own countries want to give them
a preference in applying for U.S. citizenship and allow them to jump
ahead of those who have patiently waited in line, I would try in some
way to accommodate that action. I doubt that will occur.
If such amnesty is offered again, as it was in 1986, it will make a
mockery of our laws. The illegals will continue to come, hoping and
expecting a subsequent amnesty. The Pew Research Center, according to
the September 23rd Times, reported "one-third of Mexicans say they would
move to this country if they could, and more than half of those would
move even if they did not have legal immigration documents." Those
Mexican citizens seem to agree with the Times on open borders.
I believe that legal immigration is good for our country and should be
encouraged. We currently accept one million immigrants a year: 750,000
permanent immigrants and 250,000 refugees. They can all apply for
citizenship after five years. If that number is inadequate for our
country's needs, as it probably is, we should increase the number of
legal, permanent immigrants allowed to enter each year.
Both the Democratic and Republican Party leadership support amnesty.
They tried under President Bush to achieve that goal but were thwarted
on two occasions by an indignant American public. As a result of public
opposition to amnesty, both parties agreed to construct the fence. The
Times, other institutions, and amnesty advocates fought the fence tooth
and nail and continue the struggle.
The Times' editorial is correct, however, to criticize the cost of the
fence. It also tells us that "Investigators from the nonpartisan
Government Accountability Office report that the larger, actual
fence-covering a 600 mile-plus stretch between San Diego and
Brownsville, Tex.-cost $2.4 billion to build and will cost an extra $6.5
billion in upkeep across two decades." It also notes that "Auditors
reported last week that the high-tech, 28-mile "virtual" section of the
fence was running a mere seven years behind this month's planned
Ridiculous. Somebody, probably a lot of people, should be fired for
incompetence. That is why when government officials tell us they intend
to fund a new program like health care and save money by eliminating
waste, fraud, and incompetence, nobody believes them. This single
example explains why, but there are many others. The purpose of this
article is to sound the alarm so that we can gird our loins and prepare
for the next congressional battle over immigration which is likely to
take place in the election year 2010.
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© 2009, Ed Koch