As I See It
Runaway Immigration: Too Much Good Is Bad
By Jill Chapin
May 14, 2006 - 7:25:00 PM

Most everyone who has an opinion on either side of the immigration issue would probably admit that if their lives were as devoid of hope as those who slip across our borders, we'd be right beside them. We would do so in a desperate attempt to provide a better life for our family, risking everything for the opportunity to enter a country full of so much possibility.

That's why placing blame on illegal immigrants might be misguided, if you wonder why we are more intent on enforcing our laws on foreigners than we are on our own citizens. Why go after millions of undocumented people when it would be so much more manageable to prosecute the merely thousands of businesses who hire them?

Political rhetoric promotes such so-called solutions as building a wall, deportation, fines, amnesty, guest worker programs. Really? We build walls; they build tunnels. We deport; they re-enter. We fine; they can't or won't pay. We grant amnesty; waves of more border crossers enter who also hope for amnesty. We offer guest worker programs for temporary stay; they don't leave when it's time to go. But wouldn't we do the same if we could?

We have a problem of too much of a good thing becoming a bad thing. Legal immigrants enrich and add texture to our lives, and provide the workforce for jobs that need to be done. But this does not translate into a wholesale opening of our borders to let in everyone looking for a better way of life, because let's face it - America provides a better way of life for a huge chunk of our planet. How much can our infrastructure sustain before it begins to sink under the weight of unregulated and unlimited population growth?

When do Americans get to demand that they no longer want their emergency rooms closed, caused by the fiscal calamity of too many illegals using those services who cannot pay to sustain the very care that we all need?

When do Americans get to demand that they only want to pay for the public education of their citizens, as opposed to the citizens of the world? How many schools are being built, simply to house the burgeoning populations of other countries' children?

When do Americans get to demand that our prisons be built only to incarcerate American lawbreakers, not international ones?

When do Americans get to demand an end to building more roads to accommodate millions of drivers who are using those roads with fake drivers' licenses and no car insurance?

When do Americans get to demand of their government that their cozy alliance with business has to come to a screeching halt? Allowing companies to hire illegals at below minimum wage may keep prices down, but maybe we don't care as much about the cost of strawberries, compared to the costs of all of above. And Americans will do those jobs that are touted as "jobs Americans won't do" if they are paid a decent wage.

Cutting off the supply of jobs might just create a slow but natural attrition of the illegal immigrants back to their homeland, which might also lessen the flow of those trying to enter the United States, if word gets out that the job market is drying up. Imagine the domino effect of fewer illegals in our overcrowded emergency rooms and classrooms and on our roads and in our jails if the breadwinners could no longer win the bread here.

When our political leaders talk glowingly of our country being a nation of immigrants, they conveniently lump the legal with the illegal, as if it were a mere technicality. I could go along with this hypocrisy if they would also be willing to blur the line between law-abiding citizens and lawbreaking citizens.

How many citizens would like amnesty for a parking ticket, cheating on their taxes, running a red light, embezzlement, and even treason?

In fact, those elected officials who hide behind political correctness and their own self-serving interests should vote for amnesty for themselves, considering what many believe to be their treasonous acts against the very citizens they are entrusted with protecting and serving. If they can't provide the strong leadership required to prevent what is increasingly perceived as the wholesale giveaway of our country, then maybe these guys should be the first to go.

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