Thursday, April 13, 2006

Illegal Immigration – Part I : Border Patrol

I spoke with a construction contractor in Butler County this evening who informed me that he has lost seven projects so far this year because he has been underbid by contractors relying on illegal immigrants. He told me he could not possibly get his labor costs to match ($6 to $8 per hour versus $20 to $25 per hour for an experienced carpenter). Along with the loss of jobs to Americans and legal immigrants, the cost of our inability to control the borders and enforce our laws has come as a very heavy burden to our public services, health care facilities, and educational programs at the local, county, and State levels; and jeopardizes the efforts put into Homeland Security.

The illegal immigration issue must be broken into two components – controlling the border and then what to do with the individuals currently in the country without the proper documentation. The House Bill, HR 4437 - Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Act provides great deal specifics as to what must be done to protect our borders. But, it begins with a listing of the Congress’s observations:

(a) Findings- Congress finds the following:

(1) A primary duty of the Federal Government is to secure the homeland and ensure the safety of United States citizens and lawful residents.

(2) As a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, perpetrated by al Qaida terrorists on United States soil, the United States is engaged in a Global War on Terrorism.

(3) According to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, up to 15 of the 9/11 hijackers could have been intercepted or deported through more diligent enforcement of immigration laws.

(4) Four years after those attacks, there is still a failure to secure the borders of the United States against illegal entry.

(5) The failure to enforce immigration laws in the interior of the United States means that illegal aliens face little or no risk of apprehension or removal once they are in the country.

(6) If illegal aliens can enter and remain in the United States with impunity, so, too, can terrorists enter and remain while they plan, rehearse, and then carry out their attacks.

(7) The failure to control and to prevent illegal immigration into the United States increases the likelihood that terrorists will succeed in launching catastrophic or harmful attacks on United States soil.

(8) There are numerous immigration laws that are currently not being enforced.

(9) Law enforcement officers are often discouraged from enforcing the law by superiors.

The House Bill correctly identifies that the first step must be the establishment of a policy and procedure to secure our borders against further unimpeded flow of illegal immigrants into our country. Within 18 months of passage, HR 4437 requires “the Secretary of Homeland Security shall take all actions the Secretary determines necessary and appropriate to achieve and maintain operational control over the entire international land and maritime borders of the United States.” It specifies the use of a combination of personnel, technology, and physical infrastructure enhancements to achieve the operational control of our borders. In this section, the term `operational control' means the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband.

Most unfortunately, the Senate took another approach. It ignored the need to control the border and end the flow of more illegal immigrants into the country, and instead focused on a policy to handle the estimated 12 million undocumented people currently in America. Amnesty became the plan (more in Part II), but with no restrictions on the flow across the border it will be a never ending problem and encourage many more to follow. Even the most uninformed among us can clearly see the need to close the door during the winter months OR let the cold air inside. Why can’t our elected representatives in the United States Senate do the same?

William G. Pierce, P.E.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here Here! I agree 100%.

Tue May 02, 12:27:00 PM EDT  

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