Illegal immigrants shouldn’t be imprisoned for trying to earn a decent wage.

It makes no sense to imprison illegal immigrants.  That will only increase our tax load. I suppose that Bush would again lower our taxes to make us feel better about imprisoning poor people. But wait, Bush is against this bill. Bush wants to give illegals temporary worker status for up to six months.  That’s a whole different subject.  I’ll let someone else bring up that subject.  It is so hard being a citizen in this country. We have so many things to think about.  It seems that no matter how hard we think about them, lobbying, bribery and illegal campaign funds make more of an impact than the voting booth.  I’m off subject.

We shouldn’t persecute people that are trying to do the right thing and work hard to feed their families.  If we really want to make a difference, we need to imprison the companies that are knowingly hiring illegals.  That will make a real difference.  Think of all the benefits we will get when we imprison the employers of illegal immigrants…

1. Companies will hire only those with a right to work.
2. Our food prices will go up because it will cost more to get the food to market.
3. Our construction costs will go up because it will cost more to build our buildings.
4. Our restaurant bill will go up because it will cost more to cook our food.
5. We will import more food from outside the USA. Foreign grown food is more healthy, because pesticides are used more often.*
6. Our farms and industries will start to fail because their products are too expensive to be sold.
7. Walmart will start new businesses; lawn-care, construction, and food service.*
8. Because of Walmart’s new businesses, more Americans will leave the country in order to be able to afford to live.

Has anyone ever read these words before? I wonder if they ever really meant anything.  Oh yeah, they meant a lot when the USA was trying hard to entice Europeans into this country.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

The debate over the fate of an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants — roughly 2.4 million of whom are believed to live in California — is headed to the U.S. Senate floor this week.

On one side is a strange assortment of bedfellows — Democrats and moderate Republicans, businesses and unions, churches and President Bush — all saying that America needs to find some way to legalize undocumented workers who are already here, while making it tougher for new people to enter America and remain illegally.

On the other side are conservative Republicans — and the grass-roots immigration-control groups that support them — who believe America should close its borders to prevent people from coming here illegally and make it tougher for those who are already here to remain, either by jailing them and those who may help them or by making it harder for them to get work and services.

The disparate groups supporting a more comprehensive immigration reform package say theyare acting out of economic need for the work illegal immigrants do and the Social Security money they provide. And besides, they say, just securing the border will not solve the problem of illegal immigration.

“What you have here, with illegal immigration, it’s an issue in the economy,” said Doris Meissner, senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute and a former commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. “It’s an issue where immigration law is out of date, an expression of a different era than the one we’re living in.”

The federal government has expanded its presence along the border in recent years to little avail, some policy experts said. In fact, increased enforcement may have increased illegal immigration, one said.

The Public Policy Institute of California, a San Francisco-based think tank, found that many illegal migrants who had once crossed the border to work and then went home were now staying because it is harder to get across and because they needed to make more money to pay the smugglers.

But to those who want to close the borders, the issue is simple: People who came here illegally have broken the law and should be punished. They pose an undue burden on schools and other services, they say. And they are taking jobs from Americans and forcing down wages, not filling jobs no one else wants.

“We are being impacted severely,” said Al Garza, national executive director of the Minuteman Defense Corps, which has sent civilian patrols to monitor the border. “And illegal is illegal. I don’t understand why people don’t understand what illegal means.”

The House of Representatives passed an enforcement-only bill in December. The bill includes provisions that would make it a criminal — rather than civil — offense to enter the United States illegally; authorize local police to enforce immigration laws; restrict court access; expand detention; and extend nearly 700 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Senate has a range of bills, including a comprehensive package from Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz,. and Edward Kennedy,

D-Mass. that would allow illegal immigrant workers to remain with limited-term visas if they pay a fine. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., put forth an enforcement-only bill.

was working on its own comprehensive reform legislation. But where the debate will go, and whether such a package could be reconciled with the House bill, is still up in the air, advocates on both sides of the issue say.

At a news conference last week in Oakland, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he believes “very strongly in bringing the immigration laws up to date” so they account for the necessities of the modern economy.

He commended President Bush for moving the issue to a front burner. “The discussion has to happen now because it’s overdue,” he said.

He said he believes there needs to be some sort of guest-worker program, although he said he would leave details to the experts.

The governor took some heat last year after voicing support for the Minuteman grassroots border-guard program. Asked whether he supports the program’s return, he said the federal government must live up to its border-protection obligations so ordinary citizens need not take matters into their own hands.

Local immigrant advocates, who have staged hunger strikes and marches that will end Monday with an 11 a.m. march to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s San Francisco office, said they hope such a package can pass. They are accusing lawmakers of playing politics with the issue.

“A lot of politicians are talking about this because it’s an election year, and they want to be able to go back home and say, ‘I was tough on illegal immigration, and I’ve tightened up our border,’ “ said Sheila Chung of the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition in Oakland. “But what they’re really doing is endangering the environment and local communities.”

Chung’s group wants legislation that provides a path to legal status for illegal immigrants, helps rebuild families whose lives are tangled up in paperwork backlogs and increase worker protections and civil liberties for illegal immigrants.

The Pew Hispanic Center estimated that 2.4 million illegal immigrants live in California in a March 2005 report. Local numbers are not available.

Local faith-based social service providers said they’re concerned the House bill, which expands the definition of “alien smuggling” in ways they believe could include them and the help they offer. And many local police departments have said in the past they won’t enforce immigration laws, because doing so would harm the relationships they have built with their immigrant communities and also costs money they don’t have.

The only thing everyone can seem to agree on is that the immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed.

“What we have now is the worst of all worlds,” Meissner said. “We have the market totally in charge. It’s not only a recipe for worker exploitation and depressing the wages of Americans. It’s also against all of our notions of the rule of law, and basic democratic principles.”

Posted by SPN on 03/26 at 08:25 AM in News

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