WASHINGTON, July 10, 2013 — For months we have been hearing that there must be comprehensive immigration reform to fix the problem of illegal immigration in the U.S. Nonsense! The only thing broken about our immigration policy has been our collective cowardice as a nation to enforce our current immigration laws.
Immigration laws are not difficult to enforce. The lack of enforcement has been intentional and calculated by Republican-leaning business leaders who want to exploit cheap labor, and by vote-hungry Democrats who see millions of Hispanic illegal immigrants joining their ranks after amnesty is granted.
The claim of a broken system is predicated upon the fallacy that a fence is too expensive and the federal government does not have enough resources. While a fence as one component of a secure border would be important (since a nation without borders is not truly a nation), it would be far less important if we simply enforced the E-Verify system.
E-Verify is the massive federal database that can certify whether a job applicant is here legally as either a citizen or an illegal alien with a green card. Prior to E-Verify, many believed it unfair to punish an employer who hired someone who may have given him forged identification papers. That possibility is eradicated with E-Verify. Now there can be no question — the employers are making conscious decisions whether to hire illegal workers. The penalty for doing so should be severe enough to deter any violation.
Until now, the politically correct crowd in Congress has been too tepid to demand enforcement. Consensus is finally growing for use of E-Verify for future employees, but if Congress simply mandated that E-Verify be used for existing employees as well, our immigration problem would be solved. Those who provided forged documents or no documents at all in the past would be caught.
When Mitt Romney was asked how he planned to deport the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in this country, he replied that if there were strict enforcement, they would self-deport. He was ridiculed by the media and the illegal immigration lobby, but in fact, self-deportation would become far more of a reality once the jobs for the undocumented dried up.
No jobs means no incentive to cross the border, and fewer incentives to stay — unless, of course, liberal political activists continue to stretch for ways to place illegal aliens on food stamps and other social services. The USDA has done just that in their memos coaching Mexican authorities that illegals need not disclose their status upon application for food stamps.
Just as amnesty was not the answer in 1986, when the first amnesty bill passed, it is not the answer today. The so-called path to citizenship requirements of learning English, paying back taxes, and getting in the back of the line are a sham. Who is going to enforce this, and how? How can we possibly verify how much an undocumented worker made over the last few years other than by taking his word for it? And if they are legalized, it would first mean legalizing everyone on the current waiting list. That’s a lot of people.
One thing that cannot be said about the undocumented is that they came here for a handout. They work very hard. But once they become indoctrinated in our generous entitlement culture — post-amnesty — it is only natural that our dependency culture will rub off, possibly to unsustainable levels. Food stamp enrollment increased by 50 percent over the last five years. In this new “anything goes” era, can you imagine what it would be after amnesty?
Let’s reject amnesty and increase legal immigration. Enforce E-Verify to assure we employ only those who are legally entitled to that job.
Steve Levy served as Suffolk County executive from 2004-2011 and a New York State Assemblyman (2001-2003). He currently serves as president of Common Sense Strategies, a political and business consultant company.
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