Friday, 24 July 2009 00:00
Having written this column for over 20 years, the reaction I get on various pieces is very interesting. Also, interesting to me is how the number of emails has increased over the last few months. Readers have sent intelligent responses about everything from China to government spending and from global warming to protecting your home while you are away.
While I am not looking for negative comments, I am sure today’s subject will be somewhat controversial. I want to provide some facts about the number of people here without authorization – illegal immigrants.
First, I have to admit that 70 years ago, I had an uncle from Canada who came to the New York area to drive a bakery truck. He did not have a work visa and was here at the suggestion of his brother, my Dad. My uncle was discovered and forced to return to Canada.
Now, look at the facts. Right now, there are close to 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States. Mexico leads the parade with over 7 million illegals. El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are next with some 1.3 million living here. The Philippines follows with around 300,000. China follows with over 220,000 unauthorized immigrants.
Why be concerned about these guests who are here illegally? Well, first, they are a burden on our schools. Hospitals, for example, spend over $30 billion to care for unauthorized immigrants. And you know who pays that bill – you and me!
Now some people argue that the illegals pay taxes – Social Security and income. Well, if they do, another crime is being committed. You cannot get a Social Security number unless you are here legally. Unless you have a Social Security number, it is not possible to fill out an income tax form nor have taxes withheld from your pay check.
Every employer who hires unauthorized immigrants is acting illegally. Yet, no Presidential leadership has stepped up to stop the flow of illegals. Believe me, if employers had the law enforced, fewer unauthorized immigrants would flow across our borders.
Now, if you think we should have no concern on Long Island, take a look at the facts. New York State has over 640,000 unauthorized immigrants. Statistics are not clear about the number on Long Island, but I feel it safe to say that there are around 50,000 on Long Island. The challenge is even greater in California where some 2.8 million illegals live, representing almost 7 percent of the State’s population.
The challenge we have here is enforcement of selective laws no matter which party controls the Executive Branch. I wonder if we will ever get back to the days which caught my unauthorized immigrant uncle and had him leave the United States? The law should be enforced! What do you think?