Published by the Thousand Oaks Acorn on July 29, 2010
Everyone talks about securing the border, but the border is only a symbol of a much larger problem. Even if the border is sealed, it will not stop those who came to the United States legally then overstayed their visas--which today account for 40 percent of illegal immigrants.
Most illegal immigrants come here for jobs. We know at least 11 million illegal immigrants have jobs because the Social Security Administration (SSA) sent 11 million letters to employees whose Social Security numbers don't match their names.
While some of the discrepancies undoubtedly are paperwork errors, most are not. And that 11 million doesn't account for the underground cash economy.
In June, 14.6 million Americans were unemployed. It doesn't take a mathematician to see how taking a minimum of 11 million illegal immigrants off employment rolls would increase jobs for Americans. In addition, if we take away the jobs and other incentives that invite people to break our immigration laws, most will leave of their own accord.
To curb illegal immigration, we must enforce our immigration laws, stop providing benefits to illegal immigrants and stop waving the carrot of amnesty.
* Require employers to use EVerify, an easy-use, accurate, computer-based, employee verification system to ensure people have a legal right to work in the United States.
* Contact every person on the SSA list and every employer who employs a no-match worker, and give them 60 days to clear the discrepancy or lose the job.
* Have Immigration and Customs Enforcement follow up on every no-match worker and deport those here illegally.
* End sanctuary policies. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sued Arizona on the doctrine that federal law preempts local and state laws. To be consistent, he must sue every city and locality that provides sanctuary to illegal immigrants.
* Require all local and state law enforcement agencies to cooperate with immigration authorities to remove criminal illegal immigrants, including screening for legal status at local jails.
* End state policies, including that of California, of providing taxpayer-subsidized in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants. This is a matter of fairness as well as fiscal responsibility. Why should U.S. citizens or legal residents who have lived their whole lives in California be penalized for leaving the state for a year, when someone illegally in the country and in the state for a year gets a free ride?
Instead of enforcing our laws--work site enforcement has fallen 80 percent since President Obama took office--the president and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plan to give amnesty to illegal immigrants, probably during a lame duck session right after the elections.
It's a repeat of 1986 when Congress gave amnesty to millions with the promise to get tough on anyone breaking the law. Instead, illegal immigration increased and no one enforced the laws.
Instead of giving American jobs to illegal immigrants, President Obama needs to enforce our laws and free up those jobs for those with a legal right to work here.