Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Illegal Immigration to US: A Crisis That Must Be Handled

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Illegal Immigration to US: A Crisis That Must Be Handled

Article excerpt

PRESIDENT Clinton's new attorney general, former Dade County, Fla., prosecutor Janet Reno, listed three top concerns in her Senate confirmation hearings: violent crime, drugs, and civil rights. All three are critical, but I would add a fourth that hasn't received the attention it deserves in the past 12 years - the complex issue of illegal immigration and the role of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

More than ever, immigration problems are in the public spotlight. The tragic bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, the fact that Mr. Clinton's first attorney general nominee, Zoe Baird, hired illegal aliens, the documented costs of undocumented aliens in California, and a recent report that 90 percent of the crime committed in an Arizona-border town is committed by illegal aliens all point out that illegal immigration is a growing problem in many regions of the United States.

In fact, it is safe to say that our borders are a revolving door for anyone who really wants to come here, including international terrorists. And while we have experienced relatively few incidents, we need to take tough, decisive steps now to reduce the many threats that this revolving door poses.

As a member of the House Judiciary Committee who has been working for years to regain control over our borders, I am pleased that more and more Americans are aware of how severe this crisis really is. For those who may not yet fully understand, here are a few facts:

There are an estimated 4.5 million illegal aliens living in the US today. These aliens come to the US to find work, obtain free medical care and other government benefits, and have a better life than they can have in their homelands. This virtually unchecked influx of illegal aliens has caused serious problems for the nation, and has reached crisis proportion in California.

The Center for Immigration Studies estimates the net cost to American taxpayers at some $5.4 billion a year, and a report from the California Auditor General last summer estimated the net cost to the state at some $3 billion annually. …

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