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Now More Than Ever - Stop Illegal Immigration! 

Border Security First? - YES!

"Simultaneous/Comprehensive" Reform? - NO!


Steve Beren - January 15, 2010

VIDEO: to view Steve Beren's speech to the October 10, 2009 Evergreen Leadership Conference, CLICK HERE

Border security is the priority. Unless and untill we secure the borders, the problems caused by illegal immigration will only grow worse. "Border security first" is imperative from the point of view of national security and American sovereignty. Also, with very high unemployment among American citizens, it is more important than ever to stop illegal immigration and to take measures to reverse the flow of illegal immigrants to the United States.

And previous experience with a "simultaneous" or so-called "comprehensive" approach (i.e., 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli bill) has proven disastrous. In practice, in a "simultaneous" or "combined" approach, the amnesty provisions and so-called "reform" provisions are easily and quickly implemeneted (with severe negative results), while the border security measures fall by the wayside.

That's why public outrage - the opposition and outcry of American citizens - killed the 2007 attempt at "comprehensive immigration reform" (the McCain-Kennedy bill, supported by President Bush). In retrospect, the citizen movement in opposition to McCain-Kennedy was a precursor to today's even more powerful Tea Party movement, townhall protests against socialized medicine, and other grassroots efforts in support of constituional government.

The issue of illegal immigration and border security is one of the major challenges facing America, and will be one of the key issues in the 2010 congressional elections.  During my 2008 congressional campaign against far left Democratic Party Congressman Jim McDermott, I was proud to have the endorsement of the Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee.  

I am an immigration conservative, fiscal conservative, national security conservative, and social conservative.  The Republican Party is strongest and most effective when it remains committed to these policies and values.  

The American people want secure borders, so they want an end to illegal immigration.  The American people want economic recovery, so they want government spending sharply reduced.  With high unemployment among American citizens, and with record massive deficits, it is more important than ever to strengthen border security and end benefits for illegal immigrants.

In the current economic crisis, it is more crucial than ever to turn off the magnets - jobs and benefits - that attract and encourage illegal immigration.  Illegal immigration distorts the American economy, exacerbates the economic disruption, and increases wasteful government spending.  With growing millions of Americans out of work, allowing illegal immigrants easy access to jobs and benefits is outrageously unfair to taxpaying American citizens. 

I'm a descendant of legal immigrants.  All four of my grandparents, and five of my great-grandparents, were legal immigrants from Europe.  They played by the book, enduring delay and bureaucracy and hardship and sacrificed, but they played by the book.  They loved America before setting foot in America, they longed for freedom and opportunity.  Above all, they would never do anything to violate or circumvent the laws of this great nation.  So, looking at today's illegal immigration situation, I know how unfair it is to those who've played by the rules.

Illegal immigration is unfair, and illegal immigration hurts our economy, and illegal immigration burdens the taxpayer.  In this post-9/11 world, illegal immigration and border security are issues related to national defense and the war against Islamic terrorism.  And given the economic crisis - soaring unemployment and record wasteful government spending, stopping illegal immigration is more important than ever.  Now is not the time for extending benefits to illegal immigrants.  Now is not the time for giving illegal immigrants a fast lane "path to citizenship" (we already have proper, legal ways for someone to work towards being a citizen!).  Now is not the time for a policy of "open borders" and "amnesty."

In my 2008 campaign for Congress against far left incumbent Jim McDermott, I campaigned against amnesty and benefits for illegal immigrants, and for tough border security.  And I put forward a common sense proposal to reverse the flow of illegal immigrants.  Here's my four-point program to strengthen border security and stop illegal immigration:

STEP #1: We should discontinue providing free healthcare, driver's licenses, free education, free social services, food stamps, welfare, and other benefits to illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants have become a massive underclass, not paying taxes to support social services, yet using these services disproportionately because of their poverty status. This greatly increases the tax burden on the American citizen taxpayers, while also depressing wage levels. This is a great disruption to the American economy, and curtailing of benefits for illegal aliens would destroy a big part of the incentive to come to the U.S. illegally.  The domestic and economic policies of the Obama administration - restricting liberty and expanding the federal government - have only exacerbated the situation.  Government control of the medical and healthcare industry, which would increase benefits to illegal immigrants, must be stopped.

STEP #2: We must strengthen border security to sharply reduce additional illegal immigration. This includes carrying out the will of the American people by building the security fence along our southern border.  I absolutely support "a physically massive wall" along the U.S.-Mexican border, and I also support a virtual fence and the use of any and all of the most advanced technologies to protect our borders.   

STEP #3: Strict law enforcement. If a person is arrested on a traffic offense, misdemeanor, burglary, assault, or any crime, and it is determined that they are also in the country illegally, the fact of their illegal status should be taken into consideration.  In the case of minor crimes, deportation proceedings should generally take precedence over any traffic offense or other minor crime of which they might be accused.  In the case of major crimes such as murder, kidnapping, rape, child abuse, etc., committed by persons while here illegally, laws should be changed to allow more frequent use of the death penalty and longer prison sentences.

STEP #4: With millions of Americans out of work, and the number increasing daily, it is more urgent than ever that we stop providing jobs for illegal immigrants.  We must eliminate the incentives that encourage illegal immigration and increase the penalties to discourage it.  Dishonest businesses that hire illegal aliens should be severely punished. Their goal is to evade taxes, and their goal is to avoid providing workers with proper pay and benefits. My support for severe punishment of companies that hire illegal aliens does not stem from any anti-business sentiment. In fact, this is a pro-business position, because allowing amnesty for such dishonest businesses is unfair to the vast majority of honest businesses that play by the rules. Taking action against companies that hire illegal aliens will dry up the illicit job market that attracts illegal immigration. Some illegal immigrants will decide to return to their country. Others, contemplating illegal immigration to the U.S., will choose to stay in their homeland.

Implementing these four steps - strengthening border security, drying up the illicit job market, ending benefits for illegal aliens, building the fence, and strict law enforcement - will gradually lead to sharply reduced illegal immigration and eventually a reversal of the flow. Some will decide to return home on their own, some will turn themselves in, some will be caught committing crimes and deported.

It took twenty years for 12 million illegal immigrants to come to this country, and it will probably take many years to reduce the number to a small fraction of the current amount. 

Those who support amnesty and open borders argue that immigration is good for the country, because immigrants do important work and become part of the fabric of American society. There is some truth to this, but that begs the question. The counter argument is not that immigration is "bad." The real question is: which is better, illegal immigration or legal immigration?

Legal immigration is better for the immigrants themselves. Illegal immigration means exploitation and existence in a permanent underclass; legal immigration means fair pay and better benefits.

Legal immigration is better for the American economy. Legal immigrants pay taxes and contribute to society, earning their share of social services. Illegal immigrants live on the margins, while their social services are paid for by working class and middle class Americans.

Legal immigration is better for the culture and well-being of the nation. Legal immigrants play by the rules, learn English, and seek to become law-abiding citizens. Illegal immigrants start off on the wrong foot, breaking our immigration laws right off the bat, and are more likely to be mixed up in smuggling, gang activity, welfare fraud, identity theft, and other anti-social behavior.

Issues of border control, illegal immigration, airport screening, and port security must not be viewed from a pre-9/11 point of view.  In view of the terrorism threat, it is not "anti-Mexican" to advocate strong immigration controls, any more than it is "anti-Arab" or "anti-Muslim" to support stringent airport screening.

In the current economic crisis, it is more crucial than ever to turn off the magnets - jobs and benefits - that attract and encourage immigration.  Illegal immigration distorts the American economy, exacerbates the economic disruption, and increases wasteful government spending.  With growing millions of Americans out of work, allowing illegal immigrants easy access to jobs and benefits is outrageously unfair to taxpaying American citizens.

No "open borders." No amnesty. No "benefits" for illegal aliens.  No loose weak border security - especially in a time of war and terrorism.  And above all no benefits and jobs for illegal aliens - especially in a time of high unemployment and massive wasteful government spending.




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