- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 19, 2004

Do you want to know why”affordable health care” is beyond the reach of hard-working Americans? Can you not figure out why the costs of public education are skyrocketing? Are you baffled by the dueling Republican-Democratic policies on immigration? Consider these startling statistics: Each year, American taxpayers will spend more than $7 billion to educate the children of illegal immigrants; $1 billion for health care and emergency treatment; and nearly $3 billion to detain illegal aliens in state and local jails.

I didn’t grab those numbers out of thin air. Reporter Jerry Seper gleaned them from congressional reports and studies by immigration groups and several universities. He then incorporated those stats and other cold and hard facts into an eye-opening three-part series that was published last month (www.washingtontimes.com/national/20040719-124724-2248r.htm). If those statistics are not pushed down ASAP — and pushed down drastically — they have no where to go but up.

Unfortunately, neither Team Bush nor the Kerry-Edwards camp is offering immigration policies that push in the right direction. In fact, as illegal immigrants and potential and known terrorists continue to “hide in plain sight,” as Jerry’s series warns us, Congress and the White House continue to disarm the very people paid to safeguard America’s immigration policies. Interior enforcement programs — that is to say, the apprehension of illegal aliens, inspections for illegal employees and sanctions against employers who hire illegals — have become inferior enforcement programs. Moreover, despite the fact that American taxpayers continue to pay the high price of lax immigration enforcement, local legislatures are offering new welcome mats for longtime illegal immigrants and dusting off older mats to entice new ones.

How did it come to this?

Jerry writes: “Law enforcement authorities and immigration experts think work-site enforcement began to collapse in 1993, at a time Congress and the White House — responding politically to rising public concern over increased illegal immigration — were turning their attention to border enforcement.

“They said increased interior enforcement was not an option because neither Congress nor the White House wanted to deal with an avalanche of criticism from unions and employers who would have been exposed to fines and other sanctions — many of whom are huge political donors.”

Keep in mind, please, that John Kerry and his fellow Democrats controlled both the White House and Congress at the time. And, instead of Republicans taking a lead on behalf of Americans and law-abiding immigrants, they fell into line behind Democratic policies. In no small measure, September 11 forced policy-makers on either end of Pennsylvania Avenue to shift gears.

Still, while Big Brother turns a keen eye toward ethnic profiling, Baby Brothers view the consequences of violating U.S. immigration laws with a blind eye. For example, in the nation’s capital, five D.C. lawmakers support legislation that would grant non-U.S. citizens the right to vote in local elections. The proponents of the measure, the Equitable Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2004, are moving in lockstep with a fad in such left-of-left cities as Chicago, San Francisco and Takoma Park, Md. (Takoma Park, a politically quirky little city dotted with lovely clapboard homes, long ago declared itself nuclear-free. Since the Iraq war, many of its lawns are sprinkled with signs that say, “War is not the answer.”)

That D.C. Democrats are pushing such an unworthy and un-American legislative agenda reflects the hypocritical nature of immigration policies on several fronts. First, here is a city whose residents are relative newcomers to the voting franchise. Indeed, denizens of the capital couldn’t vote in presidential elections until 1960, and limited home rule that broadened voting rights in local elections wasn’t granted until 1974. Second, for two decades, D.C. voters and other stakeholders have been struggling to lift the school-age population — particularly its children from no- and low-income homes — out of poor-academic bondage. The financial and political consequences of the city’s failed policies have, for all practical purposes, left it bankrupt of solid, middle-class demographics and values. This school year’s budget for 62,000 children will likely surpass $1 billion. (Do the per-pupil math.)

What’s more is that the city’s elected leadership has been hankering for full congressional representation. To now swing their weight behind granting voting rights to non-citizens seems more than a bit disingenuous and certainly hypercritical.

In closing allow me a few additional questions: Are Republicans pushing lax immigration policies in search of cheap labor? Do Democrats plan to take advantage of newly franchised immigrant voters as they have black voters? Precisely where does John Kerry stand on immigration issues? Who ultimately pays for affordable health care, rising education costs and other costly policies?

You won’t be surprised with your answers. The key is to remember your answers when you vote later this year.

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