George W. Bush is currently being hailed as the man bringing much-needed immigration reform to the public's attention. Indeed, the last President to propose any major immigration reform was President Ronald Reagan, who granted the -one time only- amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants living in the United States 20 years ago. Since that time we have had six more amnesties.
Americans now find themselves embroiled in the amnesty-no amnesty Great Debate.
It is certainly a Hot Bed for discussion among citizens and legal immigrants living here in the United States.
There are numerous areas that are remaining un-addressed by our President and by our Homeland Security. Critical areas that demand attention and answers prior to approval of any guest worker amnesty programs.
The president stated that the people who will be considered for the 3-year amnesty guest worker plan must show proof of jobs.
Please Mr. President, define what you are talking about in terms of proof of employment. Is it verifiable and submitted W2's completed by legitimate employers? Or is it considered proof enough if illegal aliens show a hand-written note stating they are someone's gardener or housekeeper? What are the exact job definition requirements in order to qualify as 'gainfully employed' in the United States of America Mr. President?
Once we have clarified the requirements on proof of lawful employment, what is the fate for the illegal aliens who are not qualified to remain here however did apply for 3-year guest worker program? Are they deported? If so, exactly how Mr. President are you planning to go about doing that? Setting aside the known 8-11 million illegal aliens living here who should have already been deported, we have 2.3 million illegals aliens who have overstayed their visas just as the 9-11 terrorists did. Still they continue living in the United States un-deported. Of that 2.3 million group of visa over-stayers, approximately 2% will be deported but only if they are part of the 'targeted' group. Information per Dr. Nancy Kingsbury, United States Government Accounting Office in her testimony during a House Of Representatives Hearing on 10-16-03.
American citizens have little confidence in our government's ability to actually enforce deportations for valid reasons Mr. President.
Next item that demands clarification regarding the immigration proposal is the companies and their responsibility to potential American employees. They are to fill the jobs with legal citizens and residents prior to filling them with guest workers. What are the guidelines to this portion of the immigration reform proposal? Advertisements? Word of mouth? Who determines that the companies are in fact doing this and who will enforce the law if the company does not comply? We do not have a great track record here on enforcement of laws with regards to employment and law enforcement of illegal aliens. Wal*Mart is a good example. This year was their third confirmed case of employing illegal aliens strictly for profit. So again Mr. President, who will write this policy and who will 'police' this policy? What are the penalties for lack of compliance?
There remains one more crucial area that is going unanswered by President Bush. His goal is to make this a 'Family Reunification' program. What about any babies born here during their parent's guest workers status? Will they be American citizens with full citizens rights, which include welfare benefits? What about the guest worker who brings his wife and 4 children to join him here during his guest worker status. Who is going to be responsible for the medical bills, education costs and housing and so on for this now legitimized family of 6? If they do not pay their bills, who carries the resulting financial burden? Will it be the United States taxpayers as is presently done now, or will it be the companies employing them?
These proposed guest worker employees will be eligible for Social Security benefits. In the next ten years, 1/4 of all American citizens will also be retired and living on Social Security benefits. That is us, folks. I believe we have been receiving warnings from our government over the years that when our generations of 'Baby Boomers' retire there won't be enough money in our Social Security funds to cover our living expenses. After these illegal workers have proved they have paid their Social Security taxes by legitimately working here, are we simply writing them a check complete with a fair amount of interest earned? At this point the answer is no. They will be retired in their home countries on our Social Security dollars. A new program being lauded as 'Totalization'.
A footnote to this Social Security area. I find it interesting to hear the words illegal and legitimate in the same paragraph when referring to "working legitimately in the United States while residing in the United States illegally." I had no idea one could be considered legitimate as well as illegal congruently.
Following completion of their 3-year worker program we will begin accepting the applicants waiting legally in line for US entry. Who is going to enforce the law with regards to these original 3-year guest workers leaving our country? Will this new program of 3-year guest workers also be part of the 'targeted' deportable group per Dr. Kingsbury following the end of their guest worker program here? Currently we are a dismal failure at enforcing our immigration law and deporting illegal overstays here. We have 400,000 known criminals who have been ordered deported, yet they remain un-located and un-deported in the United States.
This immigration reform is putting the Cart Before The Horse ladies and gentlemen. There are simply too many unanswered questions with this proposal regarding Homeland Security and major financial implications for the American public and I believe the taxpayers should be told of our financial impacts prior to any immigration agreement with President Fox. Considerations for aiding other country's families must be second in line with our government, not first.
I respectfully submit the opinion that our government owes allegiance first and foremost to the people living legitimately in America. Without that, the trickle-down affect may well turn into a tidal wave that will engulf communities in America.
Marty Lich (email@example.com) is the Gypsum Precinct chairperson for the Eagle County Republican Party, Colorado, District Accountability Advisory Committee chairperson for 3 years at the Eagle County School District, as well as School Advisory Committee for the Eagle County High School, and retired California Public Deputy and has been active in immigration policies for over 10 years.