Kick out Criminal Aliens; Mythical Racism in Immigration Enforcement

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 3, 2011 | Go to article overview

Kick out Criminal Aliens; Mythical Racism in Immigration Enforcement


Byline: Rep. Lamar Smith, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

There has been a major shift toward pro-enforcement policies in the United States, diminishing the prospect of amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Critics of pro-enforcement policies allege that is anti-immigrant, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Favoring the rule of law isn't mean-spirited or racist - it is the very foundation of the United States and is at the core of why America can welcome immigrants.

We have by far the most generous legal immigration system in the world, admitting 1 million immigrants each year. That has always been a net benefit for the United States. However, illegal immigration puts a strain on our economy, schools and hospitals and even poses serious national security threats. Enforcing all of our laws - including immigration laws - is critical to our success and sovereignty as a nation.

Immigration laws do not discriminate against individuals based on their color, creed, gender or ethnic background. Instead, the law makes a distinction between law-keepers and lawbreakers. A crime is a crime, no matter who commits it.

Many pro-enforcement policies actually would reduce discrimination. Take E-Verify, for example. This remarkably successful program enables companies to hire legal workers by verifying the Social Security numbers provided by new employees. E-Verify does not ask ethnicity or race. It simply makes sure the person's name, date of birth and Social Security number or alien identification number match. If they

do, the process is over. If they don't and the person has a legal right to work in the United States, the employee then has an opportunity to resolve the discrepancy, which most do successfully within a few days.

E-Verify opens up job opportunities for citizens and legal immigrants by turning off the jobs magnet that encourages illegal immigration. If illegal immigrants can no longer live and work in the United States, many will simply return home voluntarily, and taxpayer dollars will be saved.

According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, illegal immigration costs American taxpayers $113 billion annually. This amounts to $1,117 per household to pay for the health care, education, welfare and incarceration of illegal immigrants.

Illegal immigration drains states' budgets, too. California is expected to have a $25 billion budget shortfall by June 2012. At the same time, illegal immigration costs the Golden State nearly $22 billion each year. If immigration laws were fully enforced, California's budget deficit would nearly be eliminated. …

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