By Jim Rohrer
The most emotional political issue of the day may well be illegal immigration. With 15 million Americans unemployed or having given up looking for work, it’s hard to understand why we allow about the same number of illegals to take those jobs.
Our nation is a melting pot to be sure, and it would be folly to argue against immigration, as we have benefited from famous immigrants such as Andrew Carnegie, Albert Einstein, Joseph Pulitzer, Irving Berlin, Felix Frankfurter, and millions of immigrants whose names we don’t know but who have served in our armed forces preserving our freedoms and have contributed to our success in many ways.
In 1875 the U.S. decided to control who would come to America as we passed the first immigration law. Not withstanding the laws, illegal immigrations happen. We forgive and forget from time to time, giving citizenship to nearly 1 million former illegals with seven amnesties.
In 2007 President Bush and many Republican leaders in Congress proposed comprehensive immigration reform teaming with with Democratic leaders. This approach would have funded huge expenditures in new technology and personnel to control our southern border. The right wing of the Republican Party was successful in killing the initiative, so the influx still remains at an estimated 1 million per year.
Republicans point out that Democrats allow the influx in order to gain favor with Hispanic voters, while Democrats charge that Republicans look the other way to accommodate cheap labor rates for business. Both are probably true, but at what cost?
Now ProCon.org, an independent organization, estimates that the annual cost of illegal immigration is $113 billion for the U.S. California has had its big heart for illegals exceed its pocketbook with an annual cost of $21.8 billion. New York’s annual cost is estimated at $9.5 billion, which is larger than its current $6.8 billion deficit.
It’s clear that Americans want the immigration laws enforced, as several states have voted to take on the task that the feds are not doing to their satisfaction. Shutting the borders is popular, but dealing with the millions of undocumented is less popular. Half of our illegals didn’t enter illegally but have overstayed. Deportation is clearly the answer for those who perpetrate crimes, but many are children and hard-working, law-abiding adults.
Here’s the simple solution that our leaders could enact if they would stop posturing and start working together. It’s called “attrition through enforcement.” Here’s the simple process: Enforce our laws, including aggressive auditing of company employment records, eliminating the employment of illegals. Without a job, the lure of America would dim, and it is estimated that millions would return home. It would take time, but within a short time and without fences, we could certainly improve on the progress of the last 11 years.
Jeffco resident Jim Rohrer is a business consultant and author of the bi-books “Improve Your Bottom Line … Develop MVPs Today” and “Never Lose Your Job … Become a More Valuable Player.” Jim’s belief is that common sense is becoming less common. (More about Jim at www.theloyaltypartners.com.)