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Saturday, May 20, 2006

A 1,951-mile Wall, and What about the 12 Million?

I can hardly believe I’m writing about illegal immigration – again. I’m really getting tired of writing about this issue. I’m bored with it and wish it would go away, but it won’t, not until the government passes meaningful legislation and solves the problem. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem likely to happen.

Today, I want to address two aspects of this issue: building a wall along the U.S. – Mexican boarder, and the so-called amnesty aspect of the issue. I don’t expect much debate from fellow conservatives on what I’m going to say about the wall. My opinion on what to do with the 12 million illegals already in the country is another story.

I have been advocating in all of my posts on this issue that the United States build a wall along our southern boarder. I’m not talking about a wall in the urban areas like the President proposed in his speech Monday evening. I’m not talking about a 370-mile wall like the Senate has voted for. I’m not talking about a 700-mile wall as approved by the House. What I’m talking about is a 1,951-mile wall from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.

I fully realize that I’m not the only one who is advocating this. I’ve also heard the arguments against building a wall, and I wanted to address those arguments.

Argument 1: Building a wall will create a bad impression of us in the eyes of the rest of the world.
Answer: I don’t care.

Argument 2: If we build a wall, they’ll just go around it, often into parts of the country that are more dangerous.
Answer: Not if we build it along the entire boarder, unless they want to swim around it in the ocean. I guess that also would be more dangerous, but once again, I don't care.

Argument 3: If we build a wall, it won’t do any good; they’ll just go over it.
Answer: Ten years ago, a fence was built along the San Diego sector. Since that time, apprehensions of people attempting to illegally entering the U.S. along that part of the border are down 95%, from 100,000 to 5,000 per year.

Argument 4: It would cost too much to build a fence along the entire border. Cost estimates range from $3 million to $5.3 million per mile. For a 1,951-mile wall, that come out to $5.9 billion to $10.3 billion.
Answer: First, find a private company to build the wall. I guarantee it could be done for far less money than for what the federal government could do it. Secondly, the federal government wastes more money each year than what this wall would cost. According to a Heritage Foundation study, “A real war on government waste could easily save over $100 billion annually without harming the legitimate operations and benefits of government programs.”

Some examples given of waste and fraud include the following:

*$24.5 billion was spent in 2003 “by someone, somewhere, on something, but auditors do not know who spent it, where it was spent, or on what it was spent.” Notice that even at the higher-end estimate for building a wall, the $24.5 billion is more than twice the amount it would cost to build this wall.

*$100 million was spent for approximately 270,000 commercial airline tickets that were purchased between 1997 and 2003 but never used.

*Medicare wastes $20 to $30 billion annually by 1) paying up to eight times what other federal agencies pay for the same drugs and medical supplies and 2) payment errors resulting in over $12 billion in waste.
Click here if you want to see more, but you get the idea.
We need to build a wall. We need to deploy troops and give them the authority to actually apprehend illegals coming into the country (as opposed to only being there in some sort of support role with no real authority). We need to do whatever it takes to eliminate intruders illegally coming into the United States. I think nearly all conservative are with me on this.

Now, on to the more difficult aspect of the illegal immigration problem: the 12 million illegals already here. From what I’ve heard and read, I’m afraid this is one of those rare times when I have to disagree with my fellow conservatives.

Many conservatives have blasted the President for advocating what they call amnesty. The President wants to provide a way for most of the illegal immigrants who are already here to eventually become citizens without having to first go back to their own countries.

As I see it, we really have only three options for illegal aliens already here.

1. Do nothing. Allow them to stay here illegally, draining our social services by receiving free medical care, education, and other services without paying into the system.

2. Round up 12 million people and deport them.

3. Provide some way for them to become legal
I think we can all agree that option #1 is unacceptable, so we'll rule that out. That leaves us, as I see it, only options 2 or 3: deporting 12 million people or providing a way for them to become legal.

Most of the time when I hear my fellow conservatives say, "No amnesty," I don't hear them say what they propose instead. So I'm asking, when we say "No amnesty," are we advocating deportation, or is there another solution that I'm missing. If we're advocating deportation, I disagree for the following reasons:

1. It's not practical. Yes, it could probably be done, but at what cost? To locate, detain, and deport 12 million people would be a logistical nightmare.

2. Morality. Even if it were practical to deport all illegals now living in the county, I don't believe it's the right thing to do. We have, as a country, for years given a wink and a nod, then turned our heads as illegal aliens have flooded in. So we, as a country, have to accept some of the responsibility for the current situation. These illegals do not belong in this country, but some have been here for 10, 15, 20 years. Some are married to U.S. citizens; some have children who are U.S. citizens. Are we going to suddenly say, after doing nothing for all this time, that all of these people now have to leave the country? I don't believe that's the right answer.
So what is the right answer? I believe it does involve providing a way for illegal aliens already living in the country to become legal residents, and eventually citizens. Call it amnesty if you will, but it also involves illegal alien registration, penalties, and responsibilities. It provides a way for the U.S. government to immediately identify illegal aliens currently living in the United States. It provides a way for illegal aliens to eventually earn citizenship. It does not allow them to jump ahead of those who have been waiting to come into the country legally. I won't go into more detail because I've already done so in a previous post, and many of you have already read it. If you have not, you can do so here.

As a diehard conservative, it troubles me that I might be in disagreement with so many other conservatives. However, statements like this one from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA, just don't make sense to me.

Rohrabacher, speaking on CNN's "Larry King Live," was commenting on President Bush's Monday speech.

He's playing these word games about massive deportations again, which no one is advocating... If they are here illegally and you make them here legally, that is an amnesty. (emphasis is mine)
If we're not advocating massive deportation, yet we don't want to "make them here legally," then what do we want to do? The only other option as I see it is to do nothing, to let them remain here illegally. Is there another option I am missing?

If there are better ideas for what to do with the 12 million illegals already living in the United States, please let me know. I'm certainly open to ideas. However, it's not enough to say simply, "No amnesty." We have to offer a solution.


Blogger SkyePuppy said...

There are better ideas for what to do with the 12 million illegals. Deport a bunch of them.

If they're criminals, deport them after they've served their sentences. If they just got here, deport them. If they're members of gangs, deport them. If they're advocates of "reconquista," deport them. If they live in the undergrowth in ditches or canyons, deport them. If they're collecting welfare and foodstamps and otherwise draining our economy, deport them. If they don't want to become Americans, deport them.

If they've established themselves by owning or renting homes and holding jobs and contributing to our society, and if they want to become Americans, then by all means let them stay.

10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

skyepuppy said "If they've established themselves by owning or renting homes and holding jobs and contributing to our society, and if they want to become Americans, then by all means let them stay."

This is precisely the reason why immigration has to be delt comprehensively (which includes guestworker program with path to citizenship). The Senate version is the best deal any anti-immigrant can get. Some think eliminating the illegals through fear, deportation and making their lives a hell would make America secure. Others want to make them truly temporary just like the immigration policies of oil rich middle eastern countries. Either of these historic decisions would add current administration to the folk lore of hispanic(immigrant)-americans? Status quo is better than any more restrictionist provisions in current senate bill.

11:28 AM  

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