Here is the real problem with illegal immigration. Many Americans believe we are losing our unique national identity. Census Bureau figures indicate the Washington, D.C., regional population will become "majority minority" in less than a decade. The biggest influx between 2000 and 2004 was among Hispanics, a considerable number believed to be here illegally.
The same demographic profile is reflected, or will soon be reflected, in many other major metropolitan areas and, in the case of California, an entire state. It isn't race or ethnicity that bothers most legal residents of this country. It is our failure to make non-hyphenated Americans out of them. Instead of becoming English-speaking Americans, too many are retaining the language, customs, culture and political agendas of their native lands. No nation can long survive such an invasion without assimilation.
Forty-two states are currently considering bills related to immigration policy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nineteen of these states would restrict public benefits for illegals. Congress should act to create some uniformity.
A "guest worker" provision for those already here might work, but there should be restrictions on how long they can stay and a requirement that they return home before applying for legal admittance. Accompanied by much tighter control of our borders, such an approach would be in America's best interests. And could we please put this country's best interests first for a change?
Under no circumstance should there be amnesty for illegals, by whatever name politicians wish to call it. New illegal immigrants should not be allowed in until those already here are either fully and legally assimilated, or sent home when their work permits expire.
Too many politicians appear ready to sell the security of their country for the votes of illegals and their supporters. They must not be allowed to do so. Illegal immigration, along with national security, which are related, should be the top issues in the 2006 and especially 2008 elections.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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