"Our borders have been porous for decades . . . In fact, we don’t do a very good job tracking who comes in and out of the country as visitors; large numbers avoid immigration laws simply by overstaying their visas."
–– Barack Obama, July 1, 2010
In his address at American University in Washington, D.C. last year, President Barack Obama outlined the comprehensive immigration reform legislation he would have the U.S. Congress pass.
On the one hand, he proposed better tracking of foreign tourists; while on the other hand, he sought total amnesty for illegal aliens not here on vacation.
While identifying the problem as a lack of border security, he was vague on legislative fixes. Much of his speech was a rehash of the ill-fated McCain-Kennedy immigration bill of 2007 that would have given a free pass to foreign nationals who enter the United States illegally, with no suggestion on how to stop the continuous influx of illegal aliens across the southern border.
The president delivered his speech on immigration to appease the restive Hispanic voters (legal and illegal) who elected him. His words came off as pure politics with no practical solutions to the increasingly serious problems posed by the up to 30 million foreign nationals residing illegally in the United States.
In the year and a half since the Obama speech, illegal immigration continues unabated, as events at the grass-roots level confirm. Take, for example, a southwest Florida county, where on Jan. 18, 2011, during the mid-morning hours when most citizens and legal immigrants are at work, 100 open-borders activists gathered for a rally.
Led by the chairman of the county Democratic Party Executive Committee, the rally was staged to protest an immigration bill being proposed by that county’s state senator. Among the protesters were a group of women holding babies swaddled in brightly colored woven blankets.
The proposed bill, much like the Arizona SB 1070 Act, is meant to address the growing presence in the United States of illegal aliens. Like the Arizona Act, the proposed Florida bill would permit law enforcement officers, when making a lawful stop, detention, or arrest, to ask for proof that the person is in the country legally, if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the person is not.
A local newspaper reported on the rally, where the immediate response of the protestors was to label the bill’s duly elected sponsor a racist. President Obama’s admonition to avoid uncivil discourse apparently had not reached the county level.
The chairman of the County Democratic Executive Committee stated that, despite the bill’s wording, the effect would be for law enforcement officers to consider people’s accents and skin color, when questioning their legal status. In effect, his implication was that law enforcement officers would prove themselves to be racists.
Another speaker, a Democrat state senator, did admit that illegal immigrants can drive up government subsidies for healthcare. On the other hand, she noted that deportation of undocumented workers can impact several sectors of the state economy that depend on low-wage labor. She concluded that illegal aliens are the civil rights issue of the day.
Other speakers claimed that Mexicans would be the most vulnerable to stoppages for citizenship queries. Immigrants who enter the United States with a legal visa but then overstay their visa, they concluded, would be less likely to be stopped and questioned about citizenship.
Their reasoning was not clear, leaving the impression that U.S. citizens are more prejudiced against Mexicans than against other foreign nationals.
One advocate commented on the DREAM Act, a bill being supported by Obama to grant legal status to children brought into the United States illegally by their parents.
The county Democratic Executive Committee chair concluded that innocent people — like those young illegal aliens brought by their parents — will be unfairly targeted, if they happen to be stopped by law enforcement. Apparently no one told him that words like targeted are no longer acceptable language in political discourse.
What the rally speakers failed to acknowledge is that children brought illegally across the southern border are already benefiting financially from U.S.-funded education, healthcare, financial assistance, public safety, freedom of speech, and economic opportunities.
For the most part, the rally speakers failed to acknowledge the costs of “anchor” babies, children born in the United States to mothers here illegally. Estimates are that such babies cost U.S. taxpayers some $13 billion per year. Such expenditures, with no end in sight, are driving a number of states toward bankruptcy.
Rally speakers shied away from public expenditures for illegal aliens, since many U.S. taxpayers are questioning such expenditures that are driving a number of states into insolvency.
A local newspaper ran a headline stating that the rally warned their state senator about the proposed bill. The newspaper editor must not have gotten the word that heated language such as “warn” is no longer politically correct.
This is the grass-roots reality of the immigration issue. Open-border advocates and undocumented immigrants are setting the tone, and their tone appears to be heated. Only in America.
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