|Illegal immigration solution must focus on costs
By Rachel Alexander
Illegal immigration is perhaps the biggest issue facing the Southwest today. To address this problem, on Nov. 3-5, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office is putting on the Southwest Conference on Border Security, Illegal Immigration, and Crime to discuss the impact of illegal immigration and to propose solutions. The conference will feature many well-known experts and commentators representing a wide spectrum of viewpoints, including Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, Stephen Moore and John Fund of the Wall Street Journal, John Leo of U.S. News & World Report, Sheriff Larry Deaver of Cochise County, Arizona, and many others that you will recognize. The conference is open to all, and promises to be one of the largest and most serious conferences on illegal immigration, you won't want to miss it. For more information and to register, go to http://immigrationconference.com.
Illegal immigration is rapidly becoming one of the biggest problems in society today. Former President Clinton stated that "our borders leak like a sieve." A workable solution has proven elusive because the problem lies not so much with the addition of sheer numbers to the U.S. population, but rather with the disproportionate increase in costs to society illegal immigrants bring along. Yet the main focus of resolving the problem has been on border control, making it difficult to distinguish the two. This results in the assumption that concerns about illegal immigration stem from a desire to keep immigrants out.
This is not accurate, since U.S. law permits a significant number of legal immigrants into the country each year; approximately 480,000 family-based immigrants and 140,000 employment-based immigrants, as well as around 80,000 refugees and 20,000 immigrants seeking asylum, who may then apply to become legal permanent residents.
Unfortunately, the problem of illegal immigration is at a stalemate, since a large portion of society, led by those on the left, is reluctant to address the costs posed by illegal immigration. As the U.S. developed into a welfare state, poor illegal immigrants increasingly used a larger percentage of taxpayer dollars through reliance on government programs and use of other government resources, such as law enforcement and deportation. Further, since many U.S. employers illegally hire these workers at substandard wages, they avoid collecting social security taxes from them in order to hide their existence. This results in less taxes paid by illegal immigrants for the government services they disproportionately use. Current U.S. immigration policy reflects the reality that U.S. government handouts are too easy to obtain, and so only 5,000 of 140,000 employment-based visas per year are granted to unskilled workers.
Paralleling the increase in social welfare spending has been an increase in illegal immigrants. Each year the population increases by approximately 485,000 illegal immigrants – although this number is disputed, with the Census Bureau placing it at around 250,000 and the Federation for Immigration Reform placing it closer to 1 million. The total number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. is estimated somewhere between 11 and 20 million, 500,000 of which live in Arizona. Almost one-third of immigrants entering the country in the 1990's were illegal.
Rachel Alexander is the Co-Editor of IntellectualConservative.com and a Special Assistant/Deputy County Attorney for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.
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