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Citizens for Limited Taxation
|Speak out on illegal immigration||Wednesday, February 27, 2008|
|Marie J. Parente, Milford||Metrowest Daily News|
America! Rule of law, one flag, one culture. Everyone welcome.
Invariably, daily visitors to coffee shops both here and nationwide encounter a controversial subject that is increasing in volume and intensity. Illegal immigration. The presidential candidates have not given illegal immigration the attention it deserves.
As long as illegal immigration is ignored, it will continue to flourish. The operative word is "illegal." Amnesty is not the answer. They entered the country illegally, gained employment illegally, drive vehicles of all sizes illegally, and engage in various businesses illegally. Its nomenclature is imbedded in terminology that obscures its negative effect on American society. People who object to illegal immigration have been called racists, bigots and isolationists.
Social tinkerers describe the illegal population as the "undocumented" (no paper trail) and American citizens as the "documented." The undocumented change their names at will to avoid sanctions, while the documented, (legal citizens) have their names and life histories recorded by town, state and federal agencies, military and medical facilities. Eighteen-year-old American males are required to register for Selective Service. Federal law requires undocumented males to register as well. However most do not.
America is a nation whose people expect justice and equality under the "the rule of law." It is unconscionable that the illegal population is allowed to live outside the law. Citizenship matters. As the Revolutionary author of "Common Sense" Thomas Paine once wrote, "Our citizenship in the United States is our national character. Our citizenship in any particular state is only our local distinction. By the latter we are known at home, by the former to the world. Our great title is Americans - our inferior one varies with the place."
One comment that angers "the Greatest Generation" is "your parents were once immigrants." Omitted from that phrase is the word "legal." Left out are the records stored at Ellis Island and elsewhere that document their entry into the United States, showing names, dates and the ships on which they journeyed to America. They began the citizenship process early on, learned a common language, English, to permit working with other groups in a new nation. They earned citizenship.
Their children defended the American Dream in two World Wars, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq and other military conflicts to preserve the freedoms found in America.
During America's largest growth in immigration (1900-1930) millions of people, in search of opportunity, came to America legally. Those seeking government assistance, which was virtually non-existent, were seen as "beggars." Few risked that label. The newcomers were documented at security checkpoints, had sponsors for housing and employment and submitted to mandatory health checks. Considering contagious health risks, it was simply a means of protecting the American people.
Today, reports of overcrowding, tuberculosis and contagion can be linked to illegal immigration. Illegal border crossings occur without benefit of chest X-rays, health or criminal checks, or other mandatory requisites of legal immigration.
For many illegal immigrants, today's rich assortment of government-funded health, housing, and food programs act as disincentives to obtain work visas, learn English, and find a legal job. Undocumented workers consume taxpayer funded programs, education, health care, and welfare that far outweigh any taxes paid from illicit income sources that exploit them and serve to depress wages for others.
Millions have filed income tax returns to obtain the forthcoming IRS "rebate." There are reports of illegal aliens, who are unable to read signs or the driver's manual, driving unlicensed, unregistered, uninsured cars causing serious and fatal automobile accidents endangering themselves and others.
Every society has a core set of rules and sanctions used to enforce those rules in order to preserve order, protect the health, security and rights of its members. The blatant disregard for those laws by illegal aliens is especially troubling.
Some discount the concerns of citizens whose jobs have disappeared to lower paid laborers, overcrowded houses, schools and hospitals, disease, motor accidents, animal abuse and other crimes. In Massachusetts, there is legislation pending that would grant driver's licenses to illegal aliens, and the Governor has proposed giving college tuition discounts to their children.
While middle class families are struggling to send their children to college and pay the bills, it is unthinkable that millions will be spent on illegal aliens or their children.
The mantra "It's a federal issue" is an excuse for inaction.
Yes, our borders should be sealed and patrolled. Moreover, employers and property owners who knowingly harbor or assist "undocumented" workers should pay heed to Federal laws citing serious penalties and imprisonment for doing so (Title 8 USC 1324).
Several states have enacted laws restricting certain activities of illegal aliens, including limitations on driver's licenses to prevent their use as identification for voter registration, obtaining high interest loans and boarding airplanes.
The time for action is now. Speak out. America is worth it. Enough is enough. Or is it?
Marie J. Parente of Milford, a former state representative and town official, writes on alternate Wednesdays for the Daily News.
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