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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Report has some merit, despite flaws

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It sounded like such a good idea. The Missouri Legislature would appoint a special committee to explore the issue of illegal immigration and make recommendations. Thus, the House Special Committee on Immigration Reform was appointed with 10 Republican members and six Democrats. And then the good idea turned bad.

The committee issued their report this week but the six Democratic members refused to sign the final report. It seems that the GOP chairman of the committee may have included some unique ideas of his own that the committee had never discussed. The Republicans signed off on the report though some are now wanting to read the full details of the findings before making comment. Just another example of government gone bad.

Committee chairman Rep. Ed Emery, a Lamar Republican, inserted his belief that 30 years of abortions have helped to deplete the American workforce and thus, created the need for illegal immigrants to fill the job gap in this country. Emery admitted that the controversial section on abortion was his idea and that the full committee had not voiced similar concerns.

Here's the irony. I've read much of the report and other than the stretch equating abortion to illegal immigration, I find some well-founded arguments on why American workers are unwilling to accept the jobs that are filled by illegal immigrants.

Excluding the section on abortion, the report says: "The lack of a traditional work ethic and expanding liberal social welfare policies have produced a shortage of workers and a lack of incentive for those who can work. Today's growing affinity for government dependency has created a class of potential employees who are not eager to work."

Another argument says that "the entitlement and government welfare culture that has emerged over the last 50 years has caused a shortage of workers and many Americans prefer a subsistence income from the public treasury rather than earning a similar or better income as a reward for hard work."

I personally believe there is some merit to the argument that we have created a class just as the report says. But the abortion argument makes no sense to me.

Another point of contention between the two sides of this report is the lack of accountability on the part of the employers who hire illegal immigrants. Again, the Democratic majority is right. The committee chairman worries that any measures that would severely penalize those who hire illegals would be viewed as anti-business and harm the state economy. But there should be a balance on enforcement and the employers are part of that balance.

When Emery inserted his beliefs on abortion into this report he tainted the entire message. That's a shame. Too much time and energy and good work went into this report to have it dismissed because of Emery's strong opinions on abortion. To somehow equate abortion with the issue of illegal immigration was disingenuous. And, I believe, it was flat-out wrong.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen