I have consistently argued that illegal immigration in the long-run will be the issue that most impacts this nation. And to me at least, that impact won't be positive in nature. The numbers on illegal immigration are frightening at best. The financial and cultural impact on this country will prove to be a leading problem for future generations. On that point there is nearly universal agreement.
At the same time, I have expressed grave concerns over the Bush administration's apparent lack of passion on this topic. The administration - I fear - is more interested in courting the Hispanic vote than they are in taking an honest approach to the potential for substantial social problems that will surely arise from this tide of illegal immigrants.
But now a task force of House Republicans is working on a consensus proposal they hope to turn into new immigration legislation. Among their proposals is one that would erect a barrier along the entire U.S.-Mexico border and another that would end birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants. To me at least, these two ideas have merit. But they also stop just short of other steps that could prove even more effective.
For starters, a fence to halt the daily flow of illegals here might be a symbol that does more harm than good. Were it so easy to fence-off an area, we'd all erect fences to stop harm from coming our way. I believe that a fence would do little to halt the flow into this country. Yet as a symbol, it would surely send a strong message.
The end of birthright citizenship is an excellent idea. The way it works today, an illegal immigrant can cross the border, have a child and that child is automatically a citizen. By having a citizen-child, the illegal parents can then apply for citizenship and begin receiving every benefit available as an American. The United States and Mexico are the only western nations with this policy. All European countries have long-ended that flawed policy.
Birthright citizenship "depreciates" the value of citizenship in this country. Not only is it unfair but it's bad public policy on countless levels. It should end as soon as legislation can be approved.
What is missing from this task force's report however is a strong penalty for those who employ illegal immigrants. These businesses are as much to blame as anyone. And even today, they are breaking the law while politicians look the other way.
I would love to hear from Missouri's congressional delegation on where they stand on illegal immigration. It is time we stop talking and start taking action on this issue. And I am ready to offer support for those elected officials who are ready, willing and able to tackle this issue regardless of the political fallout.