- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 23, 2005

Measuring support for immigration policy

Congress has a great and long-standing tradition of disagreeing without being disagreeable. The comments of some members of Congress regarding the polling work of the Tarrance Group suggest that on the issue of immigration this tradition has been cast aside (“Another option for immigration control,” Letters, Thursday).

I have worked with hundreds of members of Congress and congressional candidates over the years and have consistently found them to be committed and dedicated public servants who make great sacrifices to serve their country.

On the issue of immigration, there is considerable disagreement about the most effective solution to this problem. President Bush and many members of Congress advocate a comprehensive solution to the problem that combines both tighter border security and tougher enforcement with registration and the opportunity for current illegal immigrants to earn legal status. Others, including the editorial page of this paper, advocate a focus solely on border security and enforcement (“The immigration debate,” Editorial, Thursday).

Our polling has consistently demonstrated strong support among all voters — Republican, Independents and Democrats — for the comprehensive types of solutions supported by President Bush and many members of Congress.

However, in debating the merits of this type of comprehensive solution, some have said some nasty and false things about the Tarrance Group and its work. I would like to set the record straight. First, and most importantly, although the Manhattan Institute was the sponsor of the most recent survey on immigration, the Tarrance Group has never and would never allow any client to publicly release or even field survey questions that we did not think were fair and accurate. In addition, despite the characterization by this newspaper, the Manhattan Institute actually has an ongoing internal policy debate on immigration, employing both earned legalization advocates and attrition advocates.

Second, some of the criticisms that have been raised seem to be based on the fact that this paper reported only selected findings from the most recent survey. In fact, the survey of likely Republican voters from October 2005 found that 72 percent of likely Republican voters support a comprehensive immigration reform plan that combines tighter border security, tougher penalties and an earned legalization program that requires illegal immigrants to come forward, register, pay fines, receive a temporary work permit, live crime-free, learn English and pay taxes to begin a multiyear path to citizenship.

Also, fully 63 percent of likely Republican voters oppose dealing with the problem of illegal immigrants currently here by “deporting all 11 million by any means necessary.” It should also be noted that a majority (53 percent) of likely Republican voters oppose “harshly enforcing all current laws on illegal immigration so that life is so unpleasant for illegal immigrants that they would be forced to leave” as a solution to this problem.

It is not until later in the survey that respondents are informed that a massive deportation program would likely involve breaking up families, raids and ID cards. This leads 84 percent of likely Republican voters to believe that total deportation is not possible.

Immigration is certainly a contentious issue that will be debated with great passion by many members of Congress. I would just hope that future debates could be focused on policy instead of name-calling and false attacks.

I would invite anyone interested in the full story on this poll to review the results at www.manhattan-institute.org.

ED GOEAS

CEO and president

The Tarrance Group

Alexandria

Removing ‘every single illegal entrant’

I am pleased finally to see a government official speak the truth about illegal immigration: “Return every single illegal entrant, with no exceptions” (“Bush vows to oust ‘every single’ illegal,” Page 1, Wednesday). Kudos to Michael Chertoff, secretary of Homeland Security. It’s about time.

It’s time to ensure that every single person who breaks our most basic immigration laws is sent back immediately to his or her homeland, along with his or her dependent children. Children are, after all, “dependents,” meaning they live with — and where — their parents live, not the other way around.

We simply must get control of our borders — and our heartland. We are fools to do otherwise — and worse, we are destroying our heritage and giving away our own children’s future.

Instead, we should be applying another U.S. law, the one that prohibits criminals from profiting from their crimes. Take from each illegal alien all that he or she has earned or purchased in this country; it was, after all, gained unlawfully. No one else in this country is allowed to gain by his crimes.

Murderers are not allowed to earn money from tell-all books and movies. Heirs who murder their benefactors are not allowed to inherit from their victims in many instances. Corrupt businessmen cannot keep their planes and houses and bank accounts. Neither should people who steal across our borders be allowed to keep their cars, money, houses or furniture.

Confiscating accumulated wealth, however much or little, has three advantages. One, money recovered (it was obtained illegally, after all) can go to funding expanded enforcement. Two, without money, deported aliens can no longer return faster than the agent who caught them can fill out the paperwork. Three, the loss of material gain provides the strongest possible disincentive to return, thereby encouraging the brightest, the best and the hardest-working of the world’s poorest nations (or so they are described by pro-immigrant groups extolling the virtues of these lawbreakers) to stay home and work to make their own countries wealthy and free.

Automatic, immediate deportation is not only the best response, it is the only lawful response our nation can take. Aliens who think they have a legal case can file their paperwork from their homelands. They don’t have a right to be here to do so.

It’s also time to devise a reasonable immigration policy that strictly limits the total number of people allowed to enter this country each year (people, not households counted as a single unit) and sets a logical basis for choosing them.

PEGGY SHEKEM

Springfield

I think the idea presented in “Herndon group to monitor illegal laborers” (Page 1, Friday) is good, but I don’t think anything will ever be done.

I can give two examples: First, 20-some years ago I worked construction in Dallas. On two occasions the companies I worked for told a group of American workers that they were being laid off, and they could come next week and pick up their last checks.

On these occasions, friends and I went back and discovered three to four times as many illegal laborers working in our place. On both occasions, being young and upset at the unfairness of what had been done, we called Immigration to report this. Both times one, two weeks later, riding by the site — I even stopped once — the same illegals were there. Once, I called in a month after reporting the first time to ask Immigration why the illegals were still there. They said, ‘we’re very busy.’ I now understand their situation better, but still don’t like it.

Now, I live in Maryland and go to a flea market almost weekly. At this flea market, 90 percent of the people who attend are immigrants from Latin America. It would be a huge effort for Citizenship and Immigration Services to do anything, but if they did I wouldn’t be surprised if of the 300 to 500 Hispanics there on either Saturday or Sunday, they found that a very large portion were illegals. The Howard County Police surely know or suspect this, but again nothing is being done.

Personally, I think it’s a case of see no evil, hear no evil — or simply it’s just too much of a hassle to do anything.

It took the tunnel scare in Baltimore to get anyone to find out the suspects were here after their visas had expired. So, maybe it will be that this is how America ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

DAVID RUSSELL


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