Friday, 30 July 2010 00:00
In 1952, the first dimension of today’s current Immigration Laws was passed by the Congress. It created quotas, by country, which then restricted the number of legal immigrants admitted to the United States. In addition, a preference system was created to admit additional immigrants with special skills.
Then, in 1986, there was an overhaul of the 1952 law which then gave amnesty to 900 thousand illegal immigrants. The same law was supposed to restrict the entry of further illegal immigrants! In addition employers were to be fined and could be charged criminally for employing illegal immigrants. Guess what? Since the law was enacted, there are now from 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants here in this country. So much for law enforcement under Republican and Democratic Presidents. The issue is all about politics.
My question is whether we can ever secure our borders? Looking at the land map of Mexico, Canada, Alaska and the United States there are some 7,458 miles of borders and around 1,933 miles on the border with Mexico. And some 12,300 miles of coast line! The challenge is that if we cannot curb illegal immigrants, what are the chances for terrorists to make their way across the border, as well?
The next controversy has to do with the new Immigration Law in Arizona. I have written about this before, and if you go to www.antonnews.com/columns/mcmillan/8367-the-arizona,immigration-law.html, you can read the details. Simply stated, the law allows police officers to seek documents from someone caught committing a crime or stopped in a traffic violation.
The Obama Administration is not happy with the Arizona Law and will challenge it in the Courts. This will play out over the next year.
In addition, there is now a clamor for a new version of “Immigration Reform.” President Obama has recently stated his views about Immigration Reform – “I know this is an emotional issue … I know people will get real riled up politically about this.”
What are the elements of Immigration Reform? Basically, there are two major issues. First, for those who are here illegally (12 to 20 million), there will be an opportunity to remain in the United States on a conditional status for 6 years, subject to a criminal background check, a knowledge of English, and paying a $500 fine, plus the costs for administering the program.
After 6 years, the illegal immigrant can then apply for a “Green Card” to become a legal resident.
Finally, efforts will be made to enhance Mexican border security. Wasn’t that effort made before, and nothing happened?
The new debate will take years to complete. “Amnesty Now” will face-off against “Secure Borders”. After oil spills, new forms of energy, Afghanistan and the economy, maybe we will see something done about Immigration Reform. Personally, I believe securing our borders and enforcing current laws should be our top priorities.