Republicans must keep focus on woes caused by illegal immigration

Posted: Aug 29, 2005 12:00 AM

Democratic Govs. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Janet Napolitano of Arizona have declared a state of emergency and asked for federal help to deal with the costs of the violence and property damage caused by illegal immigrants coming over their southern borders. If President Bush lets these partisan Democrats get to the right of him on the immigration issue, all Republicans will suffer in the next election.

Dr. Madeleine Cosman is a national authority on the diseases brought into the United States by illegal immigrants, who of course are not given health examinations required of all legal immigrants. Apparently, some people would like to prevent her from presenting her message to the public.

Along with Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., and several California public officials, she was scheduled to speak at the Carlsbad Cultural Center on Aug. 11 in a forum called Defense of Our Nation Begins at Our Borders. The high school facility in Carlsbad, Calif., broke its contract for the event because of threats from immigration activists, and only a timely lawsuit persuaded the center to allow the event to take place.

The anti-free-speech activists didn't go away quietly. An estimated 150 protesters using bullhorns, mostly Hispanic and some Muslims in headscarves or burkas, did their best to disrupt the meeting and scare attendees. It took 150 police officers in full gear with face shields and automatic weapons, plus SWAT team members in black tank-like vehicles, to keep the demonstrators at bay.

The message Cosman delivered to a standing-room-only crowd should be heard by all Americans. She spoke about the 84 California hospitals that closed between 1994 and 2003 because the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act requires every emergency room to treat every patient coming with an "emergency" (including childbirth) even if unable to pay and even if illegally in the United States.

The law is tough; hospitals and doctors are fined up to $50,000 for refusing to treat. This unfunded federal mandate has caused dozens of hospitals to go bankrupt.

Cosman, who is both a Ph.D. and a lawyer, described the infectious diseases now spreading across the United States. Contagious diseases that our country wiped out years ago, such as malaria, polio, tuberculosis, and hepatitis, and rare diseases of Third World poverty such as leprosy, Chagas' disease, and dengue fever, are coming in.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported 38,291 California cases of tuberculosis that included multiple drug resistant tuberculosis, which is 60 percent fatal and for which treatment costs $200,000 to $1,200,000 per patient.
Illegal immigrants are also bringing in syphilis and gonorrhea.

It is a mystery to those of us in heartland America what President Bush must be thinking of when he continues to push for his unpopular guest-worker/amnesty plan to allow millions of illegal immigrants in our country to stay here without punishment, and to invite millions more "willing workers" to come on in. How many "willing workers" do you think there are in the rest of the world?
The Pew Hispanic Center has just provided us with a clue. A Pew survey in May of migration attitudes in 120 locations in Mexico showed that 46 percent of Mexicans (that means 49 million people) said they would live in the United States if they had the opportunity, and two out of 10 are willing to come here illegally.

Maybe the reason the Bush administration is so out of touch with reality on this issue is that, for five years, the opinion survey mailed out by the Republican Party to millions of potential donors pretended that the issue of illegal immigration didn't exist. I complained about this more than two years ago when the survey included only one question on immigration out of 54.

We've made some progress; the latest Republican survey contains eight questions on immigration out of 57. But this issue still is not included in the sections on the economy (even though illegal immigrants working in the underground economy are avoiding taxes and depressing wages for Americans), or Social Security (even though Bush is still pressing for his Totalization plan to put illegal immigrants in our Social Security system), or Education (even though the taxpayers are suffering a tremendous tax burden to educate illegal immigrants).

The Republican Party's survey still fails to seek our opinions about the Kennedy Diversity Visa Lottery that admits 50,000 aliens a year mostly from non-Western countries, or the tremendous costs to the taxpayers from giving illegal immigrants free medical care or in-state college tuition rates, or the need to close our borders to contagious diseases and illegal drugs, or the need to inspect all the Mexican trucks that a NAFTA tribunal ordered us to admit into the United States, or the racket of smuggling very-pregnant immigrants into our country so they can give birth to their babies in the United States, or the use of foreign-language ballots (which is ridiculous because the ability to read English is a requirement to become a citizen and only citizens are supposed to vote).