- The Washington Times - Friday, February 13, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I appreciate the story about the rancher who holds illegal immigrants at gunpoint (“16 illegals sue Arizona rancher,” Nation, Monday). The problems he faces with vandalism, burglaries and massive littering would infuriate any reasonable property owner, but until we address the reason for the massive influx of illegal aliens, the problem will continue.

The primary reason border states are experiencing massive budgetary shortfalls is an untaxed cash economy fueled by undocumented workers who do not pay their fair share of taxes for their children going to taxpayer-funded schools and who show up at taxpayer-funded free clinics and publicly funded social agencies instead of paying for their own health insurance.

I have been to Mexico and have seen the deplorable conditions the illegal aliens are escaping - and I would cross the border if I were a citizen of Mexico, so I am not advocating draconian measures to remove them from the United States. What I do recommend is a system that would require them to pay their fair share of taxes by making it incumbent on businesses to withhold federal, state and local taxes for all workers instead of paying them cash.

It would require filing tax-evasion cases against all persons or companies paying any worker in cash. This would include homeowners who hire workers in and around their homes. The homeowner would not be required to withhold the applicable taxes if he or she did not employ more than 10 workers per year, so the requirement would be that banks and check-cashing services that cash personal or company checks would have to automatically withhold the taxes if the worker could not show that the taxes already had been withheld.

I am sure this proposal would require some modifications to make it workable and establish monetary and criminal penalties, but legislation of this type would go a long way toward balancing state budgets while still welcoming hardworking immigrants with open arms.

BILL WILLIAMS

Atlanta, Ga.

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It’s unfortunate that southeast Arizona rancher Roger Barnett felt compelled to use force to protect his family and property when he detained individuals trespassing on his land until authorities arrived.

I trust the court system will weigh the facts and deal equitably with the issue before the court. But enough is enough.

The organization I represent, the Arizona Farm Bureau, has many members who live near the Mexican border. From Yuma to Douglas, they tell of the same frustration of illegal migration across their farms and ranches leaving behind cut fences, open gates and trash. They tell of break-ins and coming upon heavily armed drug runners and human smugglers. They also tell of the human suffering when they find those who die on their rangeland or who knock on their door for food and water because they are lost or have been abandoned by their “guides.”

Blame for this problem lies directly at the feet of our Congress because of its inaction on the immigration issue. Unless the border is secured to thwart all illegal activity and our worker visa system is updated, border residents will continue to have unwanted and dangerous traffic across their farms and ranches.

The border needs to be secured in conjunction with an updated visa system that would allow legal access through the border for temporary and permanent workers - workers our Department of Labor has determined are needed and do not replace willing American workers, workers who will be employed by businesses that have demonstrated to the U.S. Labor Department that American workers are not available.

An updated and streamlined visa system using new technologies is key to securing the border. This frees up enforcement resources to concentrate on the illegal activity that remains.

KEVIN ROGERS

President

Arizona Farm Bureau

Gilbert, Ariz.

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