Currently, the federal government is preoccupied with talks regarding the federal debt and 2012 budget, two very important subjects that have overshadowed just about everything else, including illegal immigration.
Undoubtedly, immigration will be an important issue in the 2012 elections. We may be distracted from it now, but the problem is not going away anytime soon and it impacts our economy and the next election. The left tries to trivialize the problem, as they see illegals as potential voters, while the right is angered that our existing immigration policies and codes are not being enforced.
Several years ago, the company I work for wanted to bring an Australian and a Brazilian to this country because they had special technical skills we needed. To bring them in, we had to jump through a lot of hoops and legal red tape. It was not easy. In 2010, Homeland Security reported the total number of persons in the legal naturalization process was 619,913. The leading countries of origin were Mexico, India, the Philippines, China and Vietnam.
This impressive number is higher than in years past, but it becomes rather insignificant when you consider there are an estimated 13 million illegals currently in the country. Some would argue illegal aliens are needed to perform cheap labor. This is a rather naive argument, since they are hardly "cheap." They may be paid lower wages, but we all pay for illegals one way or another.
Among other things, they get free medical treatment and a free education that U.S. taxpayers fund. I do not believe most Americans grasp the magnitude of the costs involved. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) found we are paying a staggering $113 billion a year to support illegals. If we break that number down, we see $84 billion is absorbed by state and local governments. According to FAIR, "Education for the children of illegal aliens constitutes the single largest cost to taxpayers, at an annual price tag of nearly $52 billion."
If you are having trouble understanding why state governments are struggling to balance their budgets, you can now start to understand why. Also consider that most illegals do not pay income taxes.
So is illegal immigration really "cheap"? Hardly. Does it have a bearing on our economy? Absolutely. I certainly do not have anything against anyone who comes to this country legally and becomes a citizen. Rather, I have a great deal of respect for that person, as he has had to learn about our government, take a test and be administered an oath of allegiance. In all likelihood, he will be a better citizen than those who do not take the time to vote. However, I cannot fathom why we are tolerating illegal immigrants who come to this country only to exploit it. Illegals have become a expensive burden on our society.
Palm Harbor, Fla.
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