Following tragedies such as the Sept. 11 terrorist assault, we tend to learn things that make no sense. We hear of warnings that should have been heeded, we hear of signs that should have been obvious. But now we hear of federal policies that make you wonder who is in charge.
The federal government announced this week a massive crackdown on illegal immigrants who have been ordered deported but still remain in this country. There are over 314,000 documented illegal immigrants who remain in this country despite orders of deportation. But that's not the most amazing part.
By policy - perhaps because of insufficient manpower - our government has not pursued these immigrants in the past. In other words, if an illegal immigrant is ordered deported and vanishes, our government policy has been to ignore them. And this problem does not begin to address the millions of other immigrants who remain undocumented but have yet to receive their deportation hearing.
Granted, most of these new residents are not terrorists and remain here illegally because they work and provide funds for their families at home. That is a completely separate issue. What needs addressing however are these 314,000 illegal immigrants who have received a deportation hearing and flaunt the laws of this nation. How in the world can our policy be to ignore these people?
Even by best estimates, the new order to round-up these illegals will only net about 10 per cent of the total. What impact do these residents have on the social service network in this nation or the school systems or the law enforcement? And that is not to mention that perhaps, just perhaps, some of these illegal immigrants are potential terrorists.
I most certainly do not advocate an isolationist policy that seeks to close our borders. That runs counter to the fundamentals of this great nation. But we must learn to distinguish between those who come here for a better life and those who ignore deportation orders. We're foolish to think otherwise.
The government estimates there are 8 million undocumented immigrants in this country but acknowledge that manpower doesn't exist to address the issue. Let me warn you right now - this is a potential problem that may someday dwarf any other single issue in this nation. We have been warned.