We can talk about terrorism all we want and we can debate the Social Security crisis until we're blue in the face. But we'd better pay attention to the flow of illegal immigrants into this country because few other issues pose such a potential problem.
A new report out this week says the undocumented immigrant population now tops 11 million. That represent a 23 percent increase in the past four years alone. Almost 1,500 immigrants enter this country illegally each and every day. And to be real honest, there's no end in sight.
Our borders, especially with Mexico, obviously are so extensive that we currently lack an effective plan to address this migration of illegal immigrants. The Bush administration has basically said we should accept these newcomers but then fails to address the pressure on the social service network to provide services that will surely follow.
Most of these new arrivals come in search of jobs. But they also recognize that the quality of life available here is far superior to what they are leaving. Those unwilling or unable to work have already joined the ranks of those receiving taxpayer assistance. Over time this burden will become unbearable.
A major part of the problem is that in order to work here, there must be a willing employer. And if employers are not penalized for employing illegal immigrants, then all other policies are certain to fail. In short, we have largely created this problem ourselves.
The Center for Immigration Studies hit the nail on the head. That group says better enforcement of the borders and of the worksites is the only way to reduce this daily flow of illegal immigrants. But that too will take massive amounts of money and, more importantly, massive amounts of public support. We question whether both of these ingredients are currently available.
It's hard to imagine what 11 million illegal immigrants will do to our economy, to our quality of life and to the culture of this country. Right now much of this issue is centered in California, Texas and Florida. The time will come when Missouri and the other Midwestern states will feel the impact.
But when that time arrives, it may well be too late to change policy. And then our children and grandchildren will pay a much, much higher price.