Immigration Revisited

Armstrong Williams
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Posted: Dec 07, 2011 10:00 AM

Is it possible to be pro-immigration in this country and still support the principles of the State of Alabama’s immigration laws, dubbed some of the strictest in the nation? Absolutely. Sound paradoxical?

Not at all.

Being pro-immigration shouldn’t mean that you are an advocate of illegal immigration. It just means that you are sympathetic to the needs, dreams, and goals of those who come to our country to make better lives for themselves and their families. Try looking at it from their perspective, imagine if all you were trying to do was make a better life for you and your family? You too would do whatever it takes to make that a reality, and that’s all they wish to achieve. People can have these dreams and come into our country the right way, coming up with solutions to stop or slow the influx of illegal’s will help allay the belief that illegal immigrants are stealing American jobs and degrading our society.

Yes, the state’s laws are tough and in some cases, questionable, as in one provision that requires students to document their immigration status before enrolling in school. The fact that less than 10 percent of Hispanics failed to do so in recent weeks shouldn’t come as any surprise, if you believe that close to 10 percent of Alabama’s Hispanic population is here illegally. I don’t know the exact number in the state, but it’s not as if no one of Hispanic origin showed to school that day.

I hate to continue laying America’s toughest social problems – the economy, moral compass, immigration, etc. – at the feet of this president and Congress, but it’s their fault.

Alabama’s laws are based on a simple principle: If you’re in the state in such a manner that wantonly violates the laws of the land, then they’re going to do what the Feds are unwilling to do – step up and call you out. If you don’t like the current immigration policies, then change the law! Don’t just complain about more responsible governments like Alabama’s who step up and actually enforce the laws on the books. And listen, there is a role here for pro-immigration groups, both Hispanic and non – to play. It’s in everyone’s best interests to step up and clean up the immigration policies of the United States. Let’s end the confusion and the suspicious glances. Let’s end the mindless accusations such as one Alabama lawmaker, when he said he sponsored the bill because, “They were coming in here like thieves in the night and taking our jobs and tax revenue.” That’s a little over the top. Immigration violators are deserving of justice, not hatred. And when one slams into the other, problems arise.

Congress and the president have a responsibility to address this issue, not bat it around every two or four years to score political points. Easier said than done? It shouldn’t be. Just look at states such as Arizona, South Carolina, Utah and Georgia.

South Carolina is requiring all employers to register new hires with the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system within three days of their employment or risk suspension, or revocation, of their business licenses. Arizona passed a bill making it a misdemeanor for an alien to be in the state without carrying the required documents while also requiring residency status to be checked for any legal violation, misdemeanor or otherwise. Utah’s laws were to be much more comprehensive and sympathetic. Under Utah’s laws undocumented non-criminal immigrants that were working would receive documents making them legal residents, police would only be required to check immigration status for felonies and serious misdemeanors, and illegal immigrants working before May of 2011 could obtain residency documents if they passed a background check and paid a fine up to $2500. Georgia also tried to pass a comprehensive, though significantly less sympathetic, set of laws that did nothing but thoroughly confuse the many employers in the state, and confusion does nothing but to lead to more problems.

Alabama isn’t even a border state, they just know the effect of illegal immigrants on their state and on their bottom line, and they’re just tired of waiting for the Feds to act. Aren’t we all?