Update (Sat., May 26, 2007, 3:37 p.m.):
I sent letters to Senators Warner and Web outlining (in principle) my opposition to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA, S. 2611). Here’s the letter I sent to Sen. Warner:
The Honorable John Warner
United States Senate
225 Russell Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Warner:
I am gravely concerned about the impact that the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA, S. 2611) will have upon our nation if it passes.
As the grandson of an Italian immigrant who entered America through Ellis Island in the 1920s, I believe that controlled, legal immigration has enriched the United States and served, in part, to make it the great nation it is today. Unfortunately, CIRA does not meet the definition of controlled, legal immigration because of its amnesty provision.
The estimated 12 million illegal aliens are here for one simple reason: they have flouted our laws. American citizenship implies respect for and obedience to our laws and creeds. If the very foundation of an illegal alien’s presence here is criminality, it is palpably unreasonable to expect that they will make good American citizens once granted amnesty. Thus, the act of decriminalizing their presence here is misguided at best, dangerous at worst.
Moreover, CIRA’s amnesty provision is manifestly unjust and unfair to every immigrant who has respected the laws of our country and submitted to the legal process required to gain citizenship. Decriminalizing illegal aliens already in our country says to others waiting to become American citizens that circumventing our immigration laws is without consequence. This has the undesirable effect of encouraging further illegal immigration.
Some have cited the necessity of CIRA given the logistical and financial challenges associated with enforcing existing immigration law. I utterly reject this premise. The negative impact that illegal aliens have had on medical systems in border cities is well documented, as are the tens of billions of taxpayer dollars that go each year to illegals who have illicit access to the welfare system. For reasons stated above, CIRA will exacerbate such problems rather than mitigate them. On that basis, it seems apparent that our long-term economic and security interests are better served by bearing the expense and effort associated with enforcing current immigration law now.
As a citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I am registering my fervent opposition to CIRA with your office. In addition, I respectfully request that you vote against this ill-conceived, pernicious bill that has the potential to harm our country deeply if not irreparably. If you support it, please know that you will forfeit both my vote and my support for your office in perpetuity.
Robert R. Monti
It’s after 4 a.m.
I am sitting at my computer at this ungodly hour for two reasons:
- Our bedroom bathroom toilet decided to break in the middle of the night. To keep our floor from being flooded, I had to enlist the assistance of my sleepy wife and dig the toolbox out of the closet. The only fix at 3:45 a.m. was to just close the valve that feeds the toilet until we can get maintenance in here. Unfortunately, the valve was stuck, so I had to crawl around on the floor with a wrench to get it to turn. Nothing like having your face in a toilet in the wee hours of the night.
- As a result of these activities, I can’t get back to sleep at the moment. So I’m blogging.
I’ve tried to steer clear of politics for awhile, but current events force me to revisit them for a moment. To be precise, the current flap over illegal immigration has The MonT-SteR’s rhubarb ruffled.
Now, understand friends, that I am not anti-immigration. Far from it. I am the grandson of an Italian immigrant. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that America welcomed my grandfather and his family here in the late 1920s. Controlled, legal immigration is a good thing, and it’s part of what has made the United States a great nation.
Illegal immigration is another matter, for a number of reasons:
- Illegal immigrants (NOT “undocumented” immigrants, which is one of the Left’s favorite designer propagandist phrases), by definition, must flout our nation’s laws to be here. The very foundation of their presence in our country is criminality. Some political elements are keen to dismiss this fact by casting illegal immigrants as innocents who have merely come to the U.S. for economic opportunity. That is not an excuse. Bank robbers are motivated by economic opportunity as well, but we don’t hesitate to arrest and prosecute them. Law breaking is law breaking, plain and simple.
- Excusing and coddling illegal immigration represents an enormous security risk to our nation. It is a matter of public record now that potential Islamic terrorist elements could be slipping into our country the very same way many illegal aliens do — via our porous southern border with Mexico.
- Our political unwillingness to follow immigration law has translated into law enforcement’s inability to interdict violent or damaging crimes committed by illegal aliens. There was a firestorm here in Hampton Roads not too long ago because an illegal alien caused a drunk driving accident that killed two teenage girls. This particular illegal alien had been arrested for driving while intoxicated well before the fatal crash; he should have been deported with prejudice at that time. Instead, the court gave him a mild slap on the hand in the form of time served and a pittance of a fine. He was released and warned not to drive. We all see how well that worked. This is a clear, practical example of how our failure to enforce immigration law is actually a dangerous practice that threatens the safety of the citizenry in palpable ways.
- Others have dealt with the deleterious economic impact of illegal immigration, but I view this as a lesser (though not unimportant) issue, so I shan’t belabor that here. Here are couple good articles I found on how illegal immigration strains our medical system to the breaking point and saps billions of taxpayer dollars. Here’s a third article from Business Week outlining how capitalism stripped of morality has led big business to fatten its bottom line while selling out American citizens by catering to the illegal alien population.
Illegal immigration is a crucial issue with deep ramifications. In my view, how we handle it now will impact the long-term viability of our nation as a land of liberty and opportunity.
Given the gravity of the issue, I was utterly dismayed to hear Sen. John McCain (R, Arizona) defend his stance on immigration with one of the biggest, most INANE non sequiturs I have ever heard. There are 12 million illegal aliens in our country, he said, and that makes enforcing current illegal immigration law (i.e., DEPORTING them) untenable. The only alternative, according to McCain’s logic, is this awful amnesty bill that he co-sponsored with the likes of Ted Kennedy.
My problems with Sen. McCain’s rotgut reasoning are as follows:
- The notion that the number of illegals makes law enforcement impossible is ridiculous. There are between 250 and 300 million people in the U.S. If we can’t enforce the laws on the books with 12 million, we might as well shrug our shoulders and give up on enforcing laws vis-a-vis the rest of the populace. After all, if we can’t enforce laws that effect 12 million people, what makes us think we can do so with over 20 times that number? Of course, no reasonable person would think along these lines — which makes it inexcusable for a U.S. Senator to do so.
- The logistical challenge and expense of deporting 12 million illegal aliens are often cited to assert that, in essence, amnesty is the only alternative. Given that 1) our lax attitude toward illegal immigration has the real possibility of resulting in a mushroom cloud over one or more of our major cities, 2) illegal immigration already costs the federal government billions of dollars each year, and 3) that amount is likely to double the moment we give amnesty to illegal aliens and will increase each year thereafter, I don’t see how the Senator can reasonably maintain this position.
If the national security issue isn’t compelling enough (and it should be), deportation provides plenty of economic incentive. In actuality, the country will be saving money in the long run by deporting illegals. If the political price of that is too high, then at least start by actively and systematically deporting those within the illegal alien population who have compounded the criminality of their mere presence in this country by committing additional crimes that are violent or damaging in nature.
Folks, I don’t mean to be hard-nosed here, and I don’t wish to overlook the human element in all this either. Those who know me well know me as a man of compassion. The Business Week article I cited above makes reference to a family of illegal immigrants that has started its own business and worked its way into the middle class. I applaud their hard work and ingenuity, and I don’t relish the thought of uprooting them and sending them packing. But the incontrovertible facts remain. They broke the law in order to get where they are. They made the choice to do that. They knowingly risked the consequences. We are culpable only insofar as we failed to enforce our laws. And so we face the painful prospect of forcing many such families out of the country.
The guilt we may feel at that notion should not stem from the enforcement of the law. It should stem rather from the libertine foolishness and cowardice that brought us this mess. And now the likes of Sen. McCain and President Bush would have us codify it and call it progress.
Not on your life, gentlemen.