"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people." - President Theodore Roosevelt
Americans must wonder what happened to this common sense approach advocated by President Roosevelt. Is it that it makes too much sense? Or is it just to simple? While it is true that the U.S. is a nation of immigrants we are also a nation of laws. No matter what side of this issue you fall, it is a most difficult one. I’ve been taught to love my neighbor and Mexico is our neighbor, but I'm also a realist and know that the current predicament we find ourselves in must be addressed, and soon.
No one can honestly deny the contributions made by immigrants to the U.S. We can look recently at Intel, founded by Hungarian Andy Grove. Google, founded by Russian Sergey Brin. Yahoo, founded by Jerry Yang of Taiwan. Microsystems, founded by Andreas Bechtolsheim of Germany, and the list goes on and on. But let’s not be confused by the term ‘immigrant’ with that of 'illegal immigrant,' they are very different.
Many in this country tell us that the illegal’s are willing to do the jobs that most Americans won’t do. While that may be true to some extent the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids the last few years such as the one at a Swift & Co. plant in Greeley, Colorado where 260 illegal aliens were arrested, hundreds of American citizens lined up seeking those jobs, (paying on average $9 an hour) prove different. Twenty years ago the average wage within the meat packing industry was closer to $20 an hour. It’s the same with the construction field. Once it was an industry paying a living wage today many of the available jobs pay less than $10 an hour.
There are those who tell us that illegal’s are paying more in tax dollars then they are taking out of the system. Hardly. The cost of health care alone is rising faster then any other industry. Hospitals are closing, emergency rooms are shutting down and health insurance rates are double and even tripping due to the direct effect of increased costs from services given to illegal aliens.
While researching for this article I came upon the following: "In a recent year in Colorado, the state's emergency Medicaid program paid an estimated $30 million in hospital and physician delivery costs for about 6,000 illegal immigrant mothers - average of $5,000 per baby. Those 6,000 births to illegal aliens represent 40% of the births paid for by Medicaid in Colorado. Those 6,000 babies immediately became U.S. citizens and qualified for full Medicaid services, with a cost yet to be tabulated."
From California to Florida the reports continue to show the same dilemma and there are far too many to list here. The numbers add up to over $20 billion a year in unpaid health care. Granted this isn’t all from illegal immigrates, but let’s be conservative and say only 25% of it is, which means over $5 billion a year!
Then there’s the problem with education. Our children are packed in over-crowded class rooms because of illegal immigration in many parts of the country, like where I live in Southern California. It is unfair to our own children.
There’s also the crime issue. This has been coming to light in the recent years due to the increase in illegal immigration. A study completed by researcher Deborah Schurman-Kauflin of the Violent Crimes Institute in Atlanta estimate there are over 200,000 illegal immigrant sex offenders in the U.S. and that some 100 cross the border every day. This alone should make every American citizen want the borders closed and it's impossible to tabulate the cost in police services, courts and the many broken people/families that are the direct result of this invasion.
What about the drug trade which puts billions of dollars into the hands of organized crime? We close the border and the problem will be drastically reduced. And let’s not forget the diseases which are brought into the country by illegals. Infections of Tuberculosis, which was close to eradication in the U.S., are on the rise. The West Nile Virus, unknown in the U.S. prior to 1999, has been found in 43 states according to the CDC. Chagas disease, common in Latin America where some 16 million are infected, has made its way to the U.S. Even the pro-immigration NY Times stated back in 2002, "The wide swath that West Nile has cut in just three years illustrates how vulnerable the United States is to imported diseases."
Then there’s the really BIG issue, terrorism. Our Intel services have known for some time that terrorists are trying to infiltrate our southern borders with WMD’s. If we leave things the way they are it will only be a matter of time before they’re successful. If this were to happen the rest of our concerns would become irrelevant.
The Obama administration is working hard toward an amnesty program and even have a website stating their targeted goals. But if you remember we tried amnesty in 1986 under the Reagan administration. At the time congress failed to secure our borders and succeeding administrations have failed to enforce our immigration laws and we’ve ended up where we are today, with over 20 million illegal immigrants. If we do it again we’re asking for another giant wave of immigrants.
Now the answers are not to deny medical care to anyone. This would be completely unacceptable, and I know that the majority of people who are entering our country illegally are only trying to better their situation, but the answer to this epidemic is keeping illegal aliens out in the first place and deporting those who have already entered illegally. It’s also imperative to have a ‘guest worker’ program, but not one that rewards those who have broken our laws.
I know this seems harsh and would, if enacted, break-up families, but understand that most illegal actions do the same. If we continue to reward illegal immigrants our health care industry and educational system will eventually collapse.