“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.” Mark Twain
Why is it that so many can clearly define the illegal immigration problem facing the U.S. but are unable to as easily come up with workable, realistic solutions? See if you agree with what is almost universally agreed, right or wrong, is the problem in bottom line terms:
1. There are too many illegal immigrants crossing the US-México border.
2. There are too many illegal immigrants living in the United States.
3. Illegal immigrants cost the US around $29 billion a year.
Does that in a nutshell identify the problem as presented to the American people?
So then why is it that almost every year we have added more and more Border Patrol agents, built fences, placed stadium lighting, dedicated more technology, placed more equipment, have some military presence as a back up to the Border Patrol, increased the annual budget on securing the border, but each year there is an increase of illegal crossings?
Failure brings proposals to make them want to go back home are hatched, such as denying illegal immigrants driver’s licenses. California did that in 1996, but continued to experience an increase of illegal immigrant entries each year thereafter. So representative Sensenbrenner pushes through the Real ID Act which mandates all states issue renewal or new driver’s licenses only to those able to show proof of US citizenship or legal permanent residency. A program that will cost over $25 billion to implement and only citizens and legal residents will comply.
In the last 8 years we have poured close to $30 billion on border security, with an increase on illegal immigration every year, except 2001, and 2002 after 9-11. Add $25 billion a year (questionable) as an average taxpayers’ cost for benefits, brings the total costs to over $200 billion (ignoring their economic productivity). Throw in the $25 billion Sensenbrenner’s Real ID Act, and add the cost of National Guard, plus the added 10,000 new Border Patrol agents (around $1 billion a year on top of the $1 billion for the present force), plus the added $4+billion for 370 miles of triple-fences, the cost will rapidly reach the half-trillion dollar mark.
And, if the best prophet of the future is history, all this won’t stop illegal immigration, at best it may reduce it.
But let us suppose all these schemes work and the US-México border is sealed – no more entries from the southern border. What do we do about the better than 5,000 miles of coastal waters along the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic? And what do we do about the 4,000 miles along the Canadian border? Is there any doubt but that those points will be the new entry corridors?
Do we start the process of spending billion more on the Coast Guard, more ships, more men, new sophisticated equipment? And, along the Canadian border do we add more Border Patrol, fences, more technology, more stadium lighting? And it starts all over again?
Yet, none of our hardest anti-illegal immigration elected officials have put together that illegal immigration in earnest began in 1964, right after the cancellation of the Bracero program, the agricultural guest worker agreement between the US and México. No one noticed that historically illegal immigrants as a majority would travel home in winter until we began to seal the border making it harder, more dangerous, and more expensive to return, so they began staying. And, then began bringing their families thus incurring costs to taxpayers for the education of their children, the birth of their new children, and health care for families.
Albert Einstein remarked that some people would do the exact same thing time after time expecting different results, which sums up what is taking place on the issue of stopping illegal immigration.
To be sure, there is a need for border security, but unless something different is done to stop illegal immigration it will continue no matter how many times we do the same thing while spending more taxpayers’ money, creating internal divisions, invigorating the KKK, and other bigots and racists..
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 included a section forbidding the hiring of undocumented workers, which has been ignored causing better than 95 percent of the US-México illegal crossings. Enforcing that section by diverting half the economic resources presently spent on “border enforcement only” would cutoff the main reason for entering the US motivating those here to return to their respective homelands.
Patrick Osio, Jr is Editor of HispanicVista.com, Inc.
©2006 HispanicVista.com, Inc