What do we do with illegal
By Mike Harpold
May 28, 2006
What do we do with the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants
living and working among us, over four percent of our population?
The only practical answer to that question is, nothing. Yes,
No one seriously advocates a roundup of 12 million people, the
resources to do so don't exist, but I believe most Americans
agree that further illegal immigration should be stopped, and
so the emphasis should be placed on improving the current system
for verifying employment eligibility, enforcing the law against
employers who hire illegal workers and enforcing our borders.
But by the same token, there are no resources for processing
12 million applications to stay in the country, whether you call
it Guest Worker, Amnesty, or Earned Path to Citizenship.
The Senate on Thursday passed a bill that offered an estimated
five million illegal aliens who had been here for over five years
the right to remain in the U.S. An estimated four million would
have to leave, but could come back as one of 200,000 guest workers.
The remaining two million, having been here less than two years
would have to leave.
Come on now. The hallmark of this generation of illegal aliens
is their access to and skill in using fraudulent employment documents.
Of the estimated eleven to twelve million illegal aliens already
here, few are going to admit being in the U.S. less than five
years. At least Senator Diane Feinstein had the honesty to admit
the obvious and propose an amnesty for everybody who has entered
through last year.
The old Immigration and Naturalization Service was split into
three parts when it was put into the Dept. of Homeland Security
and the legacy Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
lacks not only the capacity to deal with the present backlog
of legal immigration, but has no internal capacity to police
the millions of applications that would be filed or to process
them. Moreover, the use of phony documents by illegal immigrants
has become so wide spread, and so many aliens have been able
to convert them into valid drivers licenses and ID's, it will
take at least a generation to sort through the mess.
On the eve of World War II, the United States found itself in
a similar dilemma. Several hundred thousand aliens, most from
Mexico, Canada and other Western Hemisphere countries, lived
in the U.S. illegally.
In response, Congress enacted the Alien Registration Act of 1940,
requiring every alien in the U.S. to go into their nearest post
office, be fingerprinted if over 14 years old, and fill out a
registration form called an AR1. The form was mailed to I&NS
headquarters in Washington, D.C., the lower right hand portion,
on which the alien had placed his thumbprint, was detached and
mailed back to him. It was called an AR3 and the alien carried
it as evidence that he had complied with the Act. As long as
he continued to report his address annually, he was never deported
unless he committed a crime. But he could not use the AR3 to
return to the U.S. once he had left, nor did it accord him or
his family any other immigration benefits. It was administratively
simple, neither rewarded nor punished the alien's unlawful presence,
Over time many of the aliens who registered qualified for an
immigrant visa through regular procedures, left the U.S., or
simply died. If implemented today, over time many unlawful immigrants
would also qualify for legal status under the present system.
But they would not displace the several million potential immigrants
already in line waiting for a visa.
We've failed for forty years to enforce our borders, and the
results will haunt us for decades. We need to start by closing
our job market to people who enter the U.S. illegally. In doing
so aliens using false documents who move to new employers will
be closed out, our shadow population will decrease, and pressure
on our borders and visa system will decrease.
As a nation we need to put an end to the anarchy that characterizes
the present situation, decide how many immigrants to take in
each year, revise those of our laws that are clearly unfair,
and decide whether or not we need guest workers and for what
jobs. We still take more immigrants and refugees within the law,
almost one million annually, than any other nation on Earth,
and I hope that we continue to do so. We are after all, despite
what the free trade ideologues in the present and past administrations
have been telling us, a nation, not just an economy.
Ketchikan, AK - USA
About: Mike Harpold retired after thirty-five years with the
U.S. Border Patrol and the I&NS. He has lived in Ketchikan
for 22 years.
Senate passes comprehensive immigration
bill By MARGARET TALEV
and MICHAEL DOYLE - The Senate on Thursday passed a sweeping
immigration bill that would allow millions of undocumented U.S.
residents to seek citizenship, establish temporary guest-worker
programs and strengthen border barriers to stem new illegal immigration.
Friday - May 26, 2006
With very different House and Senate
bills, real work now begins
By MARGARET TALEV and MICHAEL DOYLE - Now begins the real fight
over immigration policy - and a key test for the nation's weakened
The Senate's passage Thursday
of a bill that could lead to citizenship for millions of undocumented
workers is not yet cause for celebration among those who marched
and waved flags in nationwide rallies this spring. - More...
Friday - May 26, 2006
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