Immigration Reform: It’s The Border, Stupid

Complaining about the illegal immigration problem gets you only so far. To make it all the way to the finish line, you need to develop solutions. Let’s consider one to help stop people streaming illegally across our border with Mexico for work or for free social services. Or to anchor themselves to our Country through the birth of a child. To solve that problem, the first thing we must do is secure our border.

This is not an endorsement of somebody’s political position. We don’t care what politicians say. But, like the blind squirrel that occasionally finds a nut, even they can be correct once in a while.

As a practical matter, if we don’t secure the border first we’ll be in a far worse position down the road. I mean, look at us. We’re living in 1986’s future – and we’re much worse off today than back then when amnesty was granted to less than 3 million illegal aliens. And promises of border security were thrown around like rice at a wedding. But like the rice, border security was swept into the garbage bin after the celebration was over.

The result of the empty security promise? In 2010, we have almost four times the number of illegals than in 1986. The combined net cost of illegal immigrants to federal, state and local taxpayers is $100 billion annually. The big price tag items are education, incarceration and healthcare. With entitlement programs to our own folks drowning our Country in debt, we can no longer afford to pay the costs of people here illegally. How do we turn off the tap? Secure the border to stop the flow.

To our politicians who say the border will be secured but only as part of a larger solution, we don’t believe you. We do believe that you’re all about securing your own political future. The 2,000-plus pages of Obamacare and of Finance Reform are gorged with pork just to get you re-elected. You even threw costly programs into those bills that were so far outside their scope a good hunting dog can’t pick up the scent. You admit ignorance about how those laws will shake out and what the actual costs will be and you don’t care.

How could a bunch like you be believed about a promise you’ve welched on for decades? You regularly break your word because you just can’t disappoint Hispanic voters, one of the fastest growing special interest groups in the Country. In trading the interests of all you serve for short-term political advantage, you’re driving a wedge through the social fabric of our Country. This must end. So, Immigration Reform starts with you reforming yourselves first by keeping the 1986 promise to secure the border.

If the border can’t be completely secured with physical restraint then genuine legal deterrents become necessary security components. This doesn’t mean Obama’s “silent raid” policy on businesses that employ illegals, imposing weak sanctions on companies and letting illegals find work in other locales. Or his Justice Department taking on Arizona for enforcing federal law while letting the three “sanctuary” states, that violate it, skate. What is the message in that?

Legally deterring unlawful entry requires a different, and effective, message. Stopping the flow means making the downside of illegal behavior much less attractive than its perceived rewards. Since deportation is a revolving-door and business sanctions only hurt the local economy, how about this instead? Put the guy who owns or runs the company in a detention facility right alongside his illegal ex-employees. And keep them there for a good, long time.

That message couldn’t be clearer: if you choose to enter illegally or employ illegally, be prepared to pay a steep price. If this sounds harsh, perhaps it’s because we’ve gotten so far away from fairness and justice for all that they’re no longer recognizable.

I know, I know. Detention centers are not built or maintained for free but they are cheaper than the cost of illegals in our Country. Cheaper than the cost to our taxpayers at all governmental levels. Cheaper than the cost to the integrity of our Country. And much cheaper than the price we’re paying for the politically-driven rending of our social fabric.

Next week, Riley writes about another round of amnesty.

See you on the left-side.