Bama Boosts Borders: The Immigration Controversy

Bama Boosts Borders: The Immigration Controversy.

By Quin Hillyer

Note: I host a weekly radio show on Thursday nights on WAVH-FM in Mobile, AL. Last week’s topic was Alabama’s controversial new law against illegal immigrants. Below is my opening monologue, slightly shortened and adapted into a news-column format.

It’s time to ask the question: What part of the word “IL-legal” do some people not understand?

IL-legal. Unlawful. Against the law. Not allowed. Verboten. Forbidden.

I hate to do this, but I’m extremely frustrated, as should we all be, with my former colleagues in the Alabama media. The newspapers, news and editorial sides alike, have turned into virtual campaign organs against Alabama’s new law dealing with illegal immigrants.

Day after day after day come the stories. The horrors for the poor illegals. The fear experienced even by perfectly legal Hispanic immigrants. Even the legal ones leaving their jobs or leaving schools. The produce rotting in the fields. Oh, the humanity!

Give …. Me …. A …. Break!

Instead of reporting about how scared the perfectly legal immigrants might be, why not actually do the job of reporting that the new law does not affect legal residents? Rather than report the fear, how about reporting the facts to dispel the fear. The simple fact is that not a single legal resident has personal reason to fear this law.

Oh, sure, the media thinks even the legal ones might suffer because they’ll be ethnically profiled. Really? The law explicitly disallows such profiling. What’s the deal: Does the establishment media think Alabama cops will break the law? Do they think Alabama cops are irredeemably racist?

Well… If the law leads to actual instances of improper profiling, then report on it. Until then, stop crusading. The climate of fear, if it exists at all, exists only because of misinformation. It exists in large part because the establishment media isn’t just reporting the fear but fanning the flames. It’s alarmism, pure and simple.

As for those IL-legal residents who now are fleeing: Good. That’s the point.

Now, let me be clear. Like Ronald Reagan, I actually would welcome more immigrants, not fewer. I think work visas should be easier to acquire through legitimate means. I think more visas for skilled specialists should be awarded. I think the whole immigration and naturalization system should be streamlined, modernized and humanized.

If people want to come here and work hard and abide by the rules, more power to them. Welcome to the United States. Come make us a better nation.

But don’t – don’t you dare, ever – make your first act in the country an act of lawbreaking. I don’t care why you do it: If you break our laws, you deserve no hospitality, at least not from our government or our employers.

There are good reasons for immigration laws. They aren’t about keeping out people who look different from us. They aren’t about keeping out those we consider alien. But this is about ensuring that those who come to this land of ordered liberty will understand and respect both sides of the equation, both the liberty and the order. It’s about making sure that our melting pot of cultures still maintains a common culture, while ensuring that people who come here understand our laws, understand our customs and at least make efforts, yes, to understand and speak our language.

Italians came and learned our language. So did Poles. So did Germans. So have people of all nationalities always done. A society is bound by common understandings and by a common tongue.  There’s no reason new immigrants can’t be expected to acculturate, or at least try. Sure, bring your culture. We’ll celebrate it as an addition to our own. But not as a replacement for our own.

Those have been among the historic reasons for having rules and standards for immigration rather than just having totally open borders. But now they aren’t the only reasons. In the modern world, and especially after 9/11, patrolling our borders and keeping tabs on who enters here is absolutely essential for public safety. Every year, statistics show, hundreds of illegal aliens from nations that harbor terrorists come across our southern border.

To protect our citizens, we need to know who is coming in and why. It’s a perfectly legitimate requirement. And to violate that requirement, to violate those perfectly sensible laws, is not excusable. If Alabama’s law makes an illegal alien feel unwelcome, then thank goodness for the Alabama law.

This doesn’t mean Alabama’s law is perfect. It doesn’t even necessarily mean it is constitutional. If it actually violates the Constitution, then to whatever extent it does violate the Constitution, Alabama’s statute is itself unlawful.

But, really, it is absurd to read the Constitution in such a way as to say that states can’t pass laws that merely implement existing federal law. Just because a current president doesn’t like a law and doesn’t want to implement it does not mean that it’s not the law. It may not be his policy, but it’s still the law. If a state wants to act in concert with the law as written, no matter how much it might contradict what the president personally wants, the state has a constitutional right to do so. It is federal law, not a president’s whim, which is supreme in matters of immigration. Alabama is wise to insist on that distinction.

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Our View: Secure border not only issue of immigrants but of safety | Lubbock Online | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

A small fence separates densely populated Tiju...

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Our View: Secure border not only issue of immigrants but of safety | Lubbock Online | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

Border security is an extremely complicated issue — politically and logistically — but is also an increasingly dangerous and expensive issue.

The 2011-12 Texas budget includes a near doubling of the amount we spend on border security, from $108.5 million in the just-ended two-year budget to $219.5 million in the current plan.

Why? We’ve been told repeatedly states should stay out of the border security business as it’s the task of the federal government.

When Arizona became frustrated with the number of illegal aliens flowing across the border from Mexico, with illegal drugs passing into and beyond it and with the mounting violence that was part of the rampant lawlessness exhibited by foreigners and their citizen partners in crime, the federal government offered speeches and platitudes. When Arizona attempted to help the federal government by at least identifying and detaining those in the state illegally, the state was sued by a federal government that arguably needs all the help it can get.

Granted, securing the 1,959-mile border is a big job. One need only study a map to see its not a wide-open flat area in which trespassers are easy to spot or stop. In some areas, a fence makes sense. The 1,254-mile Texas-Mexico border, however, lies along the deepest channel of the Rio Grande as it flowed in 1848 — not exactly an ideal foundation for a border fence.

And, yes, the nation is spending roughly $9 billion a year in its attempt to secure the border, according to an Associated Press analysis.

The AP said funding for border security had tripled from 2001 to 2011 while 1.6 million illegal immigrants were detained in 2001 compared to 463,000 in 2010. From those statistics, one could reasonably conclude increased enforcement and the recession dampening opportunities on this side of the border had worked to stem the tide of illegal immigration.

However, the flow of drugs has not decreased. In 2010, the AP reported, a record amount of drugs were seized — but Mexican cartels responded by increasing shipments. In the meantime, the cartel-sponsored violence that has claimed more than 35,000 dead in Mexico periodically spills across the border.

What once was merely an issue of illegal immigrants in the country morphed into a multi-faceted monster of national security, personal safety, public health and economic stability.

When Gov. Rick Perry sent a bill to Washington requesting the state be reimbursed $349 million for the cost of incarcerating illegal immigrants who had committed crimes in Texas, it was dismissed as political grandstanding in his bid for the GOP presidential nomination. In reality, however, it was a reasonable request for the owner of the problem — the entity which claims singular authority for border security — to pick up the tab. Washington declined to ante up.

Now, Texas remains on the hook not only for jailing illegal immigrants who break the law but augmenting the federal effort to the tune of $110 million a year to keep us safe.

It’s time for Washington to get serious about national defense. Calls to secure the border can no longer be demagogued as mere racist rants. The drug violence has elevated the issue to a dangerous and expensive threat.

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