Monday, July 26, 2010

Immigration Reform: Who, What, Why, & How

One man's view:

The real problem with the United States immigration laws are enforcement, and interpretation of the laws to do so. It is obvious that federal laws are to be enforced by the federal government, but they are not doing the job, and this lack has placed the burden on the lower echelons of government.

With the problems immigrants have caused not only to the Border States, but to the nation as a whole by utilizing state services that they have not contributed to and committing crimes that they are not being punished for, the states have taken it upon their selves to enforce the law. Who gets upset about this and challenges our nation's laws? The nation whose citizens are the heart of the problem: Mexico.

Mexico's immigration laws and policies are far stricter than any implemented or proposed in the United States, and is strongly enforced on their southern border. How do they enforce it on their northern border? They do not have a reason to enforce it there since it is the United States that has a problem with illegals crossing over. Why keep your problems confined when you can place the burden on someone else.

In the desert of Arizona the border patrols occasionally find bodies of migrants that have successfully crossed the border only to die, and others that have been killed after crossing or being brought over by smugglers and the drug cartels. An assumption would be that perhaps half of the people crossing are the undesirables like criminals and drug carriers. Then there are those that have family in the United States that they are trying to get to.

Arizona SB 1070 echoes the federal immigration law, but adds a specific punishment which the federal doesn't. It also adds to the equation how and who will enforce it by allowing local and state law enforcement to check immigration status of anyone they encounter during the course of their duties that they have reasonable suspicion to believe is here illegally.

Countering the federal law are cities that have taken it upon themselves to give sanctuary or a safe haven to illegal immigrants and are known as "sanctuary cities". In these cities illegals that are criminals are being released without notifying federal immigration officials. In some of the sanctuary cities police and other city employees were told not to inquire about immigration status, and if they come upon an illegal to not report them to federal authorities.

Were these cities challenged by the federal government for violating federal law? No. It was not a big deal for a subordinate entity so low on the totem pole to say "I will not enforce this law, because it would entail a huge amount of resources" they can not afford or will use.

Here is where the problem of non-enforcement of immigration laws lies. If the cities would follow the law, the number of illegals would diminish because they would not only be unable to use public services, but they would not be able to find employment. A provision added to the immigration law in 1996 says that agencies both local and state, "may not prohibit or in any way restrict" their employees from sending information about a person's immigration status to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

State government could oversee and support their municipalities with their efforts by giving them the finances and resources necessary to enforce the immigration law. Their biggest job would be to insure that the cities and counties are enforcing the federal laws all ready established leaving illegals no place to hide and deny them the funds they need to survive.

At the federal level provide support to the states by, first, setting up punishment for illegals since they are criminals breaking the law. While supporting the lower governments they should shut down the entry point - the U.S.-Mexico border. Do not depend on another government that has something to gain by non-enforcement, or wants to bully you into doing things their way by disguising their support as international diplomacy.

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