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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Immigration bill will be a costly change

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

In the halls of Congress today, the House and Senate are wrapping up the details of a sweeping immigration bill that will change American society. Only time will tell if the change is for good or for bad. But one thing is certain - the face of America in the generations to follow will be far different.

As a conservative, I have voiced growing concerns over the strain of illegal immigration in this country from Mexico. But I also realize that the plan to erect a wall across our southern borders or to man the border with more security was a feeble attempt to stem the tide of illegal immigrants who arrive here daily.

Every poll of the American public shows strong support for a tougher policy toward immigration. In most polls, over 60 percent of Americans oppose a guest worker program and 75 percent think the government is doing too little to address illegal immigration. But Congress doesn't operate on polls and so before the week is over, it's likely we'll have a massive revision of the guest worker program that could lead to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants here today. The legislation under discussion would also allow an additional 400,000 foreigners to arrive here each year to start the path to citizenship.

Few issues have divided this nation as much as the topic of illegal immigration. It's not a hot button topic in our area because we have a limited number of immigrant workers in this region. But border states like California simply could not function without the illegal workers. And on this topic, as goes California so goes the nation.

I've said before that the potential for terrorists to enter this nation is not my prime concern on the topic of illegal immigration. I don't ignore that possibility but it's not my greatest fear. What concerns me is the impact of this lower-income population on the social services and health care delivery. At what point are we simply unable to pay the bills of those unable to pay their own way? And what happens when we reach that point? And we will.

It's almost comical to read the legislation that will pave the way for 11 million immigrants to reach citizenship here. The legislation mandates that to remain here the immigrants must hold a job and learn English, among other criteria. Can you imagine the manpower required to monitor the English skills and work history of 11 million immigrants? Add to that another 400,000 annually.

The end result - I promise you - will be that the provisions on English and job requirements will evaporate over time. We'll someday be a bilingual nation with millions upon millions of Mexican immigrants who lack the education and job skills to be self sufficient. And the American taxpayer will once again be asked (told) to dig deeper to pay for the needs of those unable to pay for themselves.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen