ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION -- THE NATURE & SEVERITY OF THE
PROBLEM: WHAT CAN & SHOULD BE DONE ABOUT IT, & WHY
By Brian T. Kennedy
In order to bring the severity of the problem into focus, it is important to look at the raw numbers, or best estimates, surrounding this issue.
Rough estimates suggest there are between eight and twelve million illegal immigrants residing in America today.
The costs of illegal immigration are staggering, with some analysts calculating the expense in the tens of millions of dollars each year -- including money spent by U.S. taxpayers on social services at national, state, and local levels.
Many illegal immigrants, lacking legal status, pay nothing in the form of income tax, even though they receive many benefits from the modern American welfare state and send billions of illegally earned dollars back to their native countries.
There are costs other than financial, costs that are rarely talked about, but contribute to the overall problem.
Crimes committed by illegal aliens are a prime example. They are infrequently publicized, but a recernt report indicated that illegal aliens counted for perhaps two-thirds of the fugitive felony warrants in the City of Los Angeles.
Vicente Fox, President of Mexico, wants amnesty for Mexican illegal aliens who are living in the United States, the removal of all immigration barriers between Mexico and the United States, and establishment of open borders between the two countries.
Yet, Mexico itself has taken extraordinary measures to seal its southern borders with Guatemala and Belize, recognizing the dangers to its internal politics and economy posed by illegal immigration from its southerm neighbors.
Mexico also refuses to extradite criminal aliens who may face the death penalty or life in prison without possibility of parole in the United States.
More than sixty alleged murderers, including cop killers, from Los Angeles County alone are in Mexico today. Mexican authorities know their whereabouts. Yet, those authorities do nothing to help bring justice for American victims and their families.
The world recognizes that Amer\ican citizenship is a valuable commodity, proven by the fact that 1.4 million legal immigrants come to America every year!
To allow amnesty for those aliens who broke the law in order to get into the U.S.A., is a slap in the face of those who follow our immigration laws and come into the country legally.
And, in an era in which terrorism has been brought to our soil, having open and uncontrolled borders is suicidal, as well as just plain stupid.
That is why the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy has benn fighting, and will continue to fight, for common-sense strategies for dealing with the current immigration problem. These strategies include (1) building a true border, (2) removing the incentives for illegal immigration, and (3) teaching legal immigrants and new citizens the meaning of American citizenship.
Building a True Border. Despite our laws and the will of the American people, our borders are, for all intents and purposes, open to all comers. Any nation that does not protect its borders puts its very sovereignty at risk. Not enforcing border and immigration laws encourages illegal aliens to take a mocking attitude toward the rule of law. This, in turn, leads to higher crime rates.
In our recent Claremont Review of Books, Senior Editor Mark Helprin argues that we should add 30,000 troops to our Border Patrol. This would not only stop illegal immigration, but also protect us from Islamist terrorists seeking to sneak into the country and stage attacks against us.
Removing Incentives for Illegal Immigration. One way to remove incentives for illegal immigration is to change the laws regarding socalled "birth-right citizenship." Claremont Institute Senior Fellow Edward J. Erler has been a leader in calling on the American people to end "birth-right citizenship" for the children of illegal aliens.
In addition, pouring out billions in welfare and other benefits to illegal aliens must be reigned in. It is patently absurd to provide free education, social services, and even driver's licenses to people who are in our country illegally.
The Matrucular Consular -- an ID card issued by the Mexican government (through Mexican Consulates in the U.S.A.) with virtually no safeguards against forged credentials -- should no longer be accepted. The only people who need these cards in the United States, after all, are those aliens who are here illegally.
Teaching Legal Immigrants and New Citizens The Meaning of American Citizenship. We must do our best to teach legal immigrants the founding principles of American government -- including self-sufficiency and limited government -- at a time when the members of the Liberal education establishment do not themselves believe in those principles.
Americans' Continued Support of the Claremont Institute Needed. With patriotic Americans' continued voluntary support of the Claremont Institute, we will be able to move forward on the projects we are working on to address America's immigration problems. Our activities through this year and into 2005 include:
The Claremont Institute is working on each of these projects in order to inform and shape public debate in the area of immigration reform. Our efforts are directly tied to your financial help.
Illegal immigration is a growing problem that threatens our economic and social fabric. And we must confront it now. That is why I hope that you, as a loyal and patriotic American, can help with your most generous contribution for these specific projects.
More on Immigration & Illegal Aliens
Federation for American Immigration Reform
Congressional Immigration Caucus
Americans for Immigration Control
American Immigration Control Foundation
California Coalition for Immigration Reform
Brian T. Kennedy is President of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. The Claremont
Institute is located at the following address: 937 West Foothill Boulevard, Suite E, Claremont, California, 91711.
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