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The Human, Financial Costs of Illegal Immigration - The San Diego Union Tribune

Op-Ed

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Thank you to readers for taking the time to take part in our discussion. I will be as straightforward and direct with you as you were in your comments on the "Living in the Shadows" project. This is not an issue that exists on the political fringe or lives in the shadows. It is front and center in the lives of all San Diegans because its consequences transcend policies as well as our borders.

With nearly one in 10 San Diegans unemployed, it is vital we provide jobs to our citizens. Nationwide implementation of the E-verify system would strike at the heart of the leading source of the problem -- employers who hire illegal labor. Illegal immigration creates a black market for jobs in which employers can exploit low cost, illegal laborers.

I read an interesting comment that proclaimed illegal immigration perpetuates America's evolution as a welfare state. It's difficult to disagree, given the cost to San Diegans in uncompensated emergency room expenses incurred by illegal immigrants has been estimated at $154.9 million a year.

The costs of illegal immigration are not just financial; they are human. The U.S. government is serving as an accessory to criminal activity when it sends mixed messages about granting amnesty to 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants. Even the mere discussion of granting a "pathway to citizenship" sends a message that it is acceptable to violate our laws and come to this country illegally. This was illustrated by the violent murder of 72 immigrants last August and other victims of the human-trafficking cottage industry.

Those of us who serve the American people should support policies that serve the American people first. And, once again, what part of illegal do people not understand?


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