We simply believe that everyone who lives in our state abides by our laws.
So says Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue in signing a sweeping immigration reform law. Let's just leave that statement sit there for a minute. While I understand what the Governor is implying here, does this mean that there are no inmates in Georgia prisons?
Now I have pretty much stayed out of the immigration debate because, like many in this country my family immigrated here. Also, like many of those protesting the immigration reform bills, my family immigrated to America from Mexico legally. I personally do not think that it is too much to ask that people here in this country abide by American laws, however I do understand what drove many to immigrate here legally and illegally. I have worked with Mexican immigrants whose immigration status has been questionable and they were largely like you and I - your average Joe just trying to make a living.
However, what is happening now is a danger to our country. The horror stories abound....hospitals closing emergency rooms in California, uninsured drivers causing fatal traffic accidents - there are probably as many horror stories as there are illegal immigrants in the country. Stories are one thing, statistics are another and the statistics here are truly frightening.
"In the past two years, FAIR has issued fiscal cost studies for California, Arizona, Texas and Florida looking at the same cost factors studied by the Urban Institute 10 years earlier, i.e., education3, emergency medical care and incarceration. Our findings of the annual net fiscal costs were:
California $8.8 billion ($1,183 per native household)
Arizona $1.03 billion ($717 per native household)
Texas $3.73 billion ($725 per native household)
Florida $.91 billion ($315 per native household)
These studies were done in 2004 and 2005, and the rapid continuing increase in the illegal immigrant population in each of these states would result in higher estimates of the fiscal cost today. "
Lest you think that this problem is solely confined to the border states, here is what it costs the Minnesota taxpayers now and what we can expect to pay in 2010 and 2020 should things remain unchanged:
"Minnesota $345 million (current) $589 million(2010) $1.023 billion(2020)"
Now many of the protestors say that this is a "civil rights" issue. However, as this Los Angeles Times opinion piece suggests, that might not be the case.
"Activists seem focused on a political agenda that is fiercely anti-capitalist and intent on removing all border constraints."
As the opinion piece concludes, the immigration process absolutely needs to be an "orderly and lawful" process. Anything less than that does a disservice to any and all who sacrificed everything in order to come here legally. Giving open ended "amnesty" to illegal immigrants from all nations cheapens the citizinship that the majority of all Americans cherish more than life itself.
For those who dislike the word "amnesty" - what would you call it when you suspend current law and give prefferential citizenship standards to one group over all others? Would you call that fair? I sure wouldn't.