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A Republican Alternative to Obama’s Executive Amnesty

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Like most Americans who believe that the rule of law and democratic process should be respected, I was outraged when Barack Obama issued an executive order to institute the DREAM Act amnesty, which will go into effect on August 15. The American people have made it loud and clear that they don’t want amnesty for illegal aliens under any circumstances. Even with a lame duck Democratic congress in 2010, Obama could not get the votes to pass the DREAM Act.

Even though it has not yet been instituted, the amnesty is already much more far reaching than he claimed. While Obama initially said it would apply to illegals in college or the military. When DHS released a memo explaining the details, it stated that the illegals did not even need to be enrolled in school to receive amnesty. While the administration claims only (and I use this word in a relative sense) 800,000 illegals will be eligible, even liberal groups such as the Migration Policy Institute estimate the numbers as high as 1.8 million.

While I am outraged by Obama’s actions, I can’t say that I’m surprised. From day one, he has constantly showed his preference for the rights of illegal aliens over American citizens and his contempt for the rule of law. However, what disappoints me is that some Republicans are refusing to stand up against it. They think that supporting amnesty and refusing to enforce our immigration laws is a way to “win Hispanic votes”.

This is an insult to the many patriotic American voters of Hispanic descent and other recent immigrant backgrounds who want our borders secure and our laws enforced. As illegal immigrants tend to head towards areas which already have established Hispanic populations, it is often legal Hispanic Americans have to deal with depressed wages, crowded schools, and other problems it creates. This is not new. Decades before the Minutemen, Latino icon Cesar Chavez actually led protests at the border against illegal immigrants who took jobs from legal immigrants and native born Hispanic American workers. Poll after poll show that Hispanic American citizens support immigration control measures such as Arizona’s SB 1070 at a rate higher than they support the Republican Party.

Instead of promoting a watered down version of Obama’s amnesty agenda, Republicans need to respond by offering an immigration policy that puts American national interests first. This means offering practical solutions instead of a few sound bites about securing the borders first.

The most important thing the federal government can do is to stop making the problem worse. First and foremost, this means absolutely no amnesty under any name—whether they want to call it a ‘guestworker program’, ‘earned legalization’, or a ‘path to citizenship’.

Secondly, state and local governments should be encouraged to assist in enforcing our national immigration laws. While the Supreme Court’s ruling on SB 1070 was not perfect, it still allowed for the core component of allowing verification to verify the status of suspected illegals. Last year, the Supreme Court upheld another Arizona law that mandated E-Verify to prevent the hiring of illegal workers. Other states should follow Arizona’s lead and pass similar laws.

Opponents of immigration enforcement set up the straw man of ‘rounding up every single illegal alien’ as the only alternative to amnesty. In reality, if we remove the incentives for illegal immigration, most illegal aliens will, in Mitt Romney’s words, “self deport.”

The most important magnets which attract illegal aliens are public assistance and jobs. Despite 8% or higher unemployment, there are between 7 and 8 million illegal workers according to government estimates. As I mentioned, Arizona, along with many other states such as South Carolina and Alabama have implemented mandatory E-Verify. Illegals have left these states, and Americans have filled up the new jobs. Mandating this nationwide would immediately free up jobs for millions of unemployed Americans and they would no longer be reliant on unemployment and other government benefits.

We also need to remove other magnets such as in Medicaid, in-state tuition, and driver’s licenses for illegal aliens, and prevent the establishment of ‘sanctuary cities’ where local officials help illegal aliens evade enforcement of national laws. Another major incentive is giving automatic citizenship to the children of illegal aliens based on a misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment. When I was in Congress in 1996, I introduced a law to end this policy. Rep. Steve King and Senator David Vitter have both introduced legislation similar to the legislation I advocated, and I will work with them to end this practice when I return to Congress. This is not to punish the children, but to prevent illegals from using their children to as an anchor to stay in this country.

Republicans should welcome the legal immigrants who come here by encouraging them to assimilate, so they can enjoy the blessings of the American dream. However, with millions of unemployed Americans, we cannot allow the entire population of the planet into our country. We admit over a million permanent legal immigrants each year, most of whom are admitted on the basis that their relatives already having moved to America. Until the economy improves and the unemployment rate goes down, we should limit legal immigration to no more than 250,000 people per year. This is still more generous than any other country in the world.

Another option would be to only admit immigrants with skills that cannot be fully supplied by the American workforce. Many countries in the world, including Canada and many European countries, have this type of system.

The consequences of our out of control immigration policy go beyond just jobs and deficits. With terrorists, gang members, and drug lords able to exploit our porous border, it is quite literally a matter of life and death. When Barack Obama and the liberal media will bring up examples of illegal alien honor students, they never mention the hundreds of American citizens killed by illegals.

Last year, our state of Texas executed Humberto Leal Garcia, who raped kidnapped and killed 16 year old Adria Sauceda. Barack Obama and the Mexican government opposed the execution on the grounds that Leal was a “Mexican national” and should have been offered consular assistance. Leal’s parents had illegally taken him to this country when he was two years old. He was a high school graduate, and had not been arrested prior to murdering Sauceda. Barack Obama’s executive DREAM Act amnesty would have applied to Humberto Leal Garcia. If we do not reverse this, we can be sure there were be more American victims of illegal aliens who have no respect for our laws.

Republicans need to respond to Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty with proactive policies that will protect American lives, national security, and jobs; not with ‘pandering-lite’.

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