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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


February 26, 2008

A Crack in The Door

Farrell Keough

Over the next few articles, we are going to explore the issues and possible solutions to illegal immigration. During this process, we will ensure correctness of documentation as well as making certain we are not allowing a sense of racism to infect our perspectives.

Our nation is stronger and greater due to the influence and diversity of cultures that work here legally and whose adherents become American citizens. We should never forget this truth of our great nation.

Various schemes and mechanisms have been promoted to deal with this ever increasing problem. All of us will remember the Amnesty Bill shepherded by Trent Lott and many others. Thankfully this was stopped due to public outrage.

But, this type of proposition will continue to be brought forth by those with varied interests: some want all illegal immigrants to be given easy citizenship; some want the business community to continue to have a surplus of cheap labor; and some feel a growing constituency of illegal immigrants will benefit their cause.

We have had funding for border fences, but little actual construction has been accomplished. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff believes that a physical barrier is not necessary. Virtual fencing, a system of sensors and towers along with an unmanned aircraft is the current direction being pushed. Delays in completion have intensified the debate as to its actual capabilities.

To date, a stretch of 28 miles of the virtual fencing has been completed in Arizona. Much of the planned fencing is a vehicle barrier or chain link fence; neither of which would prevent human egress. Our federal officials have not shown the resolve to complete a barrier and fully man it to keep our borders free from this human invasion. Seeing individuals via a camera is very different from preventing them from entering the country.

This has left much of the nation without a process to address their local problems with illegal immigrants. As we have noted, Frederick County Sheriff “Chuck” Jenkins has leveraged the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act to allow the deportation of illegals arrested for a crime. As we have noted before, this took many, many months of constant pressure on federal officials by Sheriff Jenkins. This will greatly benefit our local community!

But, what of the many more illegal immigrants, those not arrested for a crime? Are we to just throw up our hands and remain impotent to stop or reverse this continual onslaught? Hopefully not.

Two bills are currently in their First Reading in our General Assembly which begin the process of quelling this situation. Our own Sen. David Brinkley is one of the sponsors for Senate Bill 421: Counties and Municipal Corporations – "Sanctuary Laws" for Illegal Aliens – Prohibition.

In short, this will require local governments to “fully comply with and support federal immigration law; prohibiting local governments from restricting their employees from requesting, obtaining, sending, receiving, or maintaining immigration information. It also requires local governments to enforce federal immigration law and protect civil rights, etc.”

A second bill sponsored by Sen. E. J. Pipkin (R., Eastern Shore) is SB 52 – Task Force to Study the Cost of Illegal Aliens in Maryland. This bill will allow Maryland to obtain and analyze the actual data to understand the full cost of services surrounding illegal immigrants in our state. Once we have hard facts, we can make a case for options to deal with these costs and liabilities surrounding both parents and children.

Hearings for this bill have been cancelled multiple times. Hopefully this does not bode poorly for its possible passage. One must remember that our own Gov. Martin O’Malley has flip flopped on drivers’ licenses for illegal immigrants, hence the landscape does not look favorable.

These two bills, in conjunction, will give us a starting point to document the effects this group of law breakers is having on our society. Once we have reliable information, we can begin to tackle the possible remedies for these costs and safety concerns. Until then, you can visit www.HelpSaveMaryland.com to learn more on how to affect legislative and judicial reform. Another resource to learn more about the actions being considered is www.BlueRidgeForum.com. We must unite as a group, else our voices will not be heard.

In future articles we will begin to explore other areas of the influx of illegal immigrants, issues like ‘anchor babies.’ The current federal viewpoint is that all children, (excepting those of foreign diplomats) born within the United States are considered legal citizens. Based upon the Fourteenth Amendment, this situation has the result of creating a whole new ethical complication. If the child is a U.S. citizen, can we deport the parents?

We will also review organizations like CASA de Maryland. Beginning as a group to help newly immigrated citizens, this association has taken on many new tasks including lobbying for in-state tuition, drivers’ license, and amnesty for illegal immigrants. We will also review the sizeable tax breaks and funding this group is receiving from our tax dollars.

We will touch upon issues like Social Security Insurance, (commonly called Social Security) payments being made to illegal immigrants; redesigning things like voting ballots to include foreign languages; and the effects of having millions of illegal immigrants within our borders.

For instance, what effects does this have on our roads and environment; what effects does this have on our schools and hospitals; what effects will deportation have on our economy; and are misleading terms like “the jobs Americans won’t do” going to continue to frame the conversations around these issues?

These are big problems and will require multiple approaches to overcome. While we need to remain compassionate towards those who flee to our nation, we must also remain cognizant of the effects these illegal activities are having upon our economy, tax base, and infrastructure.

We cannot continue to allow the status quo. The social, societal, and economic costs are too great. But we can arm ourselves with knowledge and act in groups to influence the necessary change.

fkeough@hotmail.com



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