The Death of an American Hero...a Time to Reflect
Once again a family is separated by the broken system we call our national immigration policy. The family of US Border Patrol Agent Robert Wiley Rosas will no longer have their husband, father, son, or brother with them as he was senselessly murdered by illegal aliens crossing an unsecured border near San Diego, California. Agent Rosas (aged 30) leaves behind a wife and two young children. He had no choice about this separation. He was simply out doing the job that you and I hired him to do - That of defending the security of the borders of this nation. He was murdered for no other reason than he stood between crime and freedom.
Our immigration policy does not reflect the security, health or employment needs of our country. It is time we start coming together to fix this broken system. It is way too difficult for honest people to come to this country legally to make a better life and to contribute to our economy. At the same time, it is WAY too easy for other people to come here illegally for whatever reason they choose.
Obviously, the vast majority of illegal aliens are people who fall into the first category. They are honest, hard-working, family-oriented people (with conservative and what should be Republican values) who simply want to escape the poverty or other tragic issues of their country and make a better way in ours. They certainly want to earn a living through hard work and that is to be admired. Unfortunately, they are being convinced that Republicans are their enemy and Democrats are their friends. But if you look at their principled values, the exact opposite is true.
The time has come for us to all quit standing on street corners yelling at each other and find a sensible solution to our border security problem AND our broken immigration system. As a base point of discussion, we must insist that the federal government do its primary duty: that of defending this country against all enemies and invaders. The borders of this nation MUST be secured.
There has been progress this year from the federal government on this point. President Obama has sent more resources than before to help secure the border. He is also taking action to stop the smuggling of guns from the US to Mexico which contributes to the violence along the border. He has continued the policy started under the Bush administration of building secure fences along the border where appropriate and helping to create other surveillance systems along the border. This is progress and it should be recognized and it should continue.
But securing the border is only part of the problem. How do we then handle the needs of a recovering economy for more workers? And what do we do with the undocumented illegal aliens who are already in this country.
I think most rational people can agree that criminals who are in this country illegally need to be deported. A program like the ICE 297g program, that allows local law enforcement to become trained in identifying criminal illegal aliens, is a good start. Utilizing this program, Harris County has already identified and eliminated thousands of criminal illegal aliens from our streets. The City of Houston is now sending officers through this same training. Illegal aliens with criminal records must be identified wherever possible and eliminated from our country.
We need to develop a system to identify ALL illegal aliens in this country and assign them an identification card, record fingerprints and DNA information and issue them a taxpayer number. This does not grant them a permanent alien status or citizenship. It simply identifies them and provides them a way to begin legitimately paying income taxes into our system. It gives us a start in identifying, quantifying and factually evaluating the size and scope of the problem.
We need to continue to crack down on employers who misclassify day laborers as "employees" when they do not meet the criteria to be an independent contractor as established by the IRS. Typically these employers abuse their workers by not providing benefits due to their other employees such as Workmen's Compensation, overtime and reasonable pay for their work. Additionally, these unscrupulous employers use the ill-gotten benefits from this form of labor to obtain an unfair competitive advantage over businesses that do the right thing. They also deprive all of us of the money that should be flowing into the unemployment insurance pool and are not properly withholding child support in many cases.
It is NOT however, a time to open a blanket amnesty program or any kind of guaranteed pathway to American citizenship. Naturalization is not a gift; it is something to be earned. Once aliens are properly identified and their backgrounds are checked, workers should be allowed to remain as workers and not just be given citizenship. No shortcuts to citizenship!
Congressman Luis Gutierrez has a reasonable program on the table for this process and I will write more about that soon. But, in the meantime, let us begin the process of working together to find a sensible solution. We all know what the problem is. By working together we can find a solution – Yes We Can!