First Secure, then Find a Cure
America is a nation of legal immigrants. Our history shows our desire to have people from all countries to come here and bring their work ethic, their dreams, and their hopes for a better future. As the nation filled in its frontiers, laws were passed to provide some regulation regarding the number of immigrants that could come here and from what countries. More agriculturally disposed regions needed temporary workers, and adjustments to the law were made to accommodate them. Until the 1980’s, these laws held sway as federal administrations worked to enforce them.
With the amnesty law passed during the Reagan administration, Americans were promised a secure border and reliance upon existing law. We were lied to. During the interim, Presidents Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and now Obama have perpetuated this lie. Every Congress since then is complicit in this lie. The American people are fed up. I am fed up.
Last December, I attempted to delineate a clear and concise policy regarding illegal immigration. I was concise, but not as clear as I could have been. Let me elaborate. As a former cabinetmaker working on jobsites dominated by workers unable to speak English, illegal immigration has been a very important issue to me. As a Christian, I have had to consider Jesus’ concerns for the poor and His mandates to “render to Caesar the things that belong to Caesar.” This includes a respect and submission to civil law. My love for and study of history led me to suggest the following procedure.
First, follow current law. If we are not a nation of laws, then those here illegally cannot expect any law, including those designed to protect aliens, to be followed. We have laws to keep order. We have laws to regulate the number of non-citizens we allow to come into the country. These laws are specific, but, as has been said above, have not been enforced. This refusal on the part of law enforcement has led to deaths of American citizens at the hand of illegals and billions spent on those who have no legal right to be here. This refusal to enforce the law presents a clear and present danger to our country.
Second, immediately close the southern border and engage in serious enforcement. No legitimate long-term solution can occur until this is accomplished.
Third, verify employee eligibility. Use all means available to determine whether individuals who are working here are legally able to do so. The only way to accomplish this is to provide accurate screening mechanisms for employers to accomplish this and fine those who refuse to comply. Federal Law allows Law Enforcement to question those detained for reasonable cause their immigration status and detain them for deportation if here illegally.
Fourth, clear out our jails. Illegals being held in our prisons should begin to be transported to their countries of origin in an organized fashion. With a secure border, they will not be able to re-enter and wreak havoc on U.S. citizens. Convicted criminals will serve their sentences and then be deported.
Fifth, once this is accomplished, have a honest debate on whether our immigration laws are reasonable and if they should be altered. Immigration policy should get into the public debate while reviews are completed as to whether our quotas are appropriate. We have laws. They should be followed regardless of whether the people charged with enforcement like them or not. Reform is always a difficult task, but having the current situation crammed down the throats of law-abiding Americans is choking them. They are gasping for breath.
And now a note regarding the misrepresentation of my website position. I am thankful to my “competitors” for holding me to a high standard of clarity. This will be critical as I go on to defeat Jim Cooper in November. For this old baseball coach, the primary has been great “batting practice.”
The statements on my website were intended to reflect my understanding of current immigration law, that is: require an employer to verify work availability and require those seeking to make changes in their immigration status learn the language and commit to cultural assimilation with the citizens of the country and wait their turn, whether in-country or out. With a secure border and enforcement of current law, illegals working in the country would be deported.
To act as though this issue is cut-and-dried with a simple solution is being naïve. It is going to be decided after an honest debate that will result in the best interests of our country.
I cannot keep others from misrepresenting me, but I can, and have now, clearly articulated a plan for dealing with this situation. The voters will decide in August if I have I have gotten my point across. I trust the voters.