Illegal immigration: A rising and dangerous tide

If you aren't an illegal immigrant in a border state, you probably know someone who is, or the child of someone who is. Photo: AP

WASHINGTON, April 3, 2013 — In a Senate hearing on February 13 of this year, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said U.S. border security has “never been stronger.” Last week, Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake and Democratic Senators Charles Schumer and Michael Bennet toured the U.S. border in Nogales, Arizona and saw a woman climb an 18-foot fence before she was apprehended by American border security.  

This year alone, American taxpayers are footing a $113 billion bill to ensure that illegal immigrants receive free education, health care, and other services, according to a study by Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a non-partisan group that has been called to testify in front of Congress about immigration bills more than any other group in the U.S.  

There aren’t any credible groups or leaders in this country who are advocating a roundup and deportation of all illegal immigrants. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, there were approximately 11.5 million illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. in 2011.

While there should be no mass roundup and deportation of illegal immigrants, there needs to be comprehensive immigration reform as soon as possible, and it needs to benefit legal residents and taxpayers more than it benefits illegal immigrants. The U.S. Congress, and especially its Democratic members, is more concerned with illegal immigrants and whether Hispanics will vote for them than with legal, taxpaying Americans.

While most illegal immigrants came to this country searching for opportunities that were unavailable to them in their native countries, there are still many illegal immigrants who come to this country and do enormous damage. Studies by the FBI and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) estimate that 50 percent of all gang members in Los Angeles are illegal immigrants.

Some of these gangs, like the 204th Street Gang, have undertaken efforts to ethnically cleanse their neighborhoods of African-American residents. In December 2006, illegal immigrants and members of the 204th Street Gang, Jonathan Fajardo and Daniel Aguilar, walked up to a group of young African-Americans and started shooting indiscriminately, killing a 14 year-old girl named Cheryl Green.

SEE RELATED: Libertarian Republicans favor immigration amnesty; other GOPers do not

A witness to the crime who had talked to police was later stabbed 80 times, and his body was dumped on the side of a highway. At their trial, Fajardo and Aguilar were found guilty of committing a hate crime and of murder, and were sentenced to death. A former gang member who testified at the trial admitted that the 204th Street Gang “basically hates all blacks.”

Not all illegal immigrants are gang members and murderers. Most aren’t. But Green is not the only legal American who paid the ultimate price for this country’s porous borders and lack of action when it comes to deporting dangerous illegal immigrants.

In August 2010, another 14 year-old African-American girl, Shatavia Anderson, was shot and killed by gang members. One of her two killers, Melvin Alvarado, was twice deported back to El Salvador and managed to make it back into the U.S. before murdering Anderson.

Meanwhile, police officers in Los Angeles are not allowed to arrest individuals who have illegally entered the country. Many officers know the names and locations of dangerous gang members who are illegally residing here but are powerless to do anything about it due to the Los Angeles “sanctuary law,” Special Order 40, which prohibits officers from questioning or apprehending someone for just an immigration violation, thus preventing police from enforcing immigration laws.

SEE RELATED: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of a sane immigration policy

A week after Anderson was murdered her uncle said, “It’s really senseless what happened to my niece, and I don’t like it. They’re starting to come over here and they can do whatever they want. What you’re doing is giving them a green light, telling them ‘Hey, you can do whatever you want.’”

More often than not, Democratic leaders and the Obama Administration charge Americans who want tougher border security and comprehensive immigration reform with racism. Imagine that an illegal immigrant gang member murdered a member of your family, or that a substantial share of your paycheck were used to provide illegal residents of this country with free education and health services. Would you want to be accused of being ignorant or racist just for objecting?

Chances are that if you live in a border state and aren’t an illegal immigrant, you know someone who is or you know a child of an illegal immigrant. Many of them are hard working, respectable, tax paying, and patriotic. But American borders are not secure, as Napolitano would have you believe, and they came here in contravention of our laws. Illegal immigration is illegal, and legal residents of this country are not only paying a financial price; many are paying with their lives.



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Michael Shapira

Born and raised outside of Boston, MA, Mike Shapira is a graduate of Brandeis University where he majored in Politics and wrote for the student newspaper, “The Justice.”  Mike is a political centrist who admires leaders like Senators Joe Lieberman and Scott Brown.  Mike has a profound respect for the men and women who serve this country.  He believes that all servicemen and servicewomen deserve a warm and comfortable place to sleep at night.  

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