February 22, 2010
Open Letter to Rep. Luis Gutierrez:
In your introductory remarks for H.R. 4321 you made a number of statements that warrant a response. What you call “real immigration reform” in your bill turns out to be a complete emasculation of our immigration system and immigration laws. The kind of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) most Americans will support is a far different thing from what you propose and what was previously proposed in the CIR bills that failed in 2007 and 2008.
The key question is whose or what CIR concept is best for our country? You have chosen to present a bill which you may believe to be best for you and for your illegal ethnic brethren but it is not what is best for our country. Your bill places the interests of foreigners above those of your fellow citizens. If you consider yourself a loyal American, the ethnocentrism evident in H.R. 4321is totally inappropriate.
There are many important and significant facts that you and the Hispanic Caucus have either chosen to ignore or are completely oblivious to. While the negative impacts of illegal aliens and excessive legal immigration on the 10-17% unemployment rate and the rising health care costs play an important role in America’s antithesis to your version of CIR, they are not the only considerations by any means. Nevertheless, in these times of high unemployment it is unconscionable to suggest that we need more rather than fewer legal immigrants and that we should grant amnesty to illegal aliens rather than expediting their removal.
The legal immigration quota should be reduced to the historical level of about 200,000 per year exclusive of tourists, students, and migrant farm workers who are willing to return to their homelands when the harvest is in. What you propose is just the opposite and, if enacted, would surely have an adverse effect on the long term well-being of our country and the future of our descendents.
Illegal aliens flood our emergency rooms and hospitals and soak up Medicare funds that are badly needed by citizens. Certainly this drain must have some bearing on health care costs, the health care crisis, and the billions of dollars that are spent on Medicaid. Are illegal aliens responsible for all health care cost increases and all unemployment? Of course not! Are they important undeniable factors in both Medicaid costs and the number of citizens unemployed? Of course!
The immigrants America is attracting these days are mostly poor and badly educated. They reproduce, fall ill, struggle with school, require hiring of paid interpreters, multi-lingual ballots and other government publications, and create instant citizens who drain the welfare and Medicaid budgets of states like Texas and California. Fifty three percent of immigrant households with children collected welfare from at least one government program in 2008. These programs include food stamps, Medicaid, Aid to Dependent Children, and free school lunches.
These are not people doing "jobs Americans won't do." These are people getting benefits that drain the coffers of states already in deep financial difficulty.
Each day at Parkland Hospital, Dallas, Texas some 32 babies of illegal alien parents, mostly Mexican, are born into instant U.S. citizenship. In fiscal 2006, that was 75 percent of the 16,489 deliveries. Medicaid pays the bill—or at least some of it, some of the time. Do you suppose there is any relationship between this and the need to increase the Medicaid budget every year draining funds from other important programs?
One wonders where all of this Medicaid expense and the emergency room losses are factored into the calculations of those who praise the illegal aliens as a good labor source. Isn’t it time we required all employers to provide full family health care insurance for all of their foreign employees? Is it any wonder that our nation faces a health care crisis, that Medicare is all but bankrupt, and that gazillions have to be paid out in Medicaid? Does anyone believe Gutierrez-brand CIR will solve these problems?
Your sarcasm regarding global warming and traffic congestion is misplaced. Americans produce 20 metric tons of pollutants per capita annually. Adding another 300 million people by the end of this century will produce another 6 billion tons of pollutants annually at the present rate. Even if, by some technological miracle, we were to be able to reduce our per capita output by half, to that of Mexico’s 10 metric tons per year, we would still have made absolutely no progress toward reducing the present unacceptable level as our population doubles. Have the Hispanic Caucus and the immigration lobbies thought about that or are they ignoring this inconvenient truth?
The “limit” of finite natural resources per capita as population grows without bounds is zero. The more there are of us, the less there is for each of us. How much farther down that road does the Caucus think we should go? I hope the answer is, “No más.”
There is a limit to the amount of the water that is available for domestic and agricultural uses, especially here in the Southwest where many Hispanics live. The burgeoning populations of cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Denver are soaking up the water resources needed to grow the food needed to feed the additional people. If you check out an atlas of California, you’ll notice that Owens Lake is filled in with white, not blue. That’s because Los Angeles sucked it dry decades ago. Las Vegas is considering similar plunder of groundwater elsewhere in Nevada. And there are many other cities—Houston and Tampa, to name a couple—that have chosen to push nature’s limits. We continue to plunder the Great Plains’ Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground reservoir in the United States and one of the largest on the planet. It once held as much water as Lake Huron. It is a treasure that took millennia to accumulate. Remarkably, it could cease to be a water resource within another generation. We are left with yet another illustration of an all too common American mindset: short on vision, mired in denial and unable to comprehend nature’s limits.
Water rights bought up by cities means there will be land that can no longer be productive. This is clearly a losing proposition that needs recognition in any proposed immigration reform bill. With immigration, legal and illegal, adding up to 2 million people a year to a population that is already too large, we are setting ourselves up for a disaster.
Legal immigrants in excess of the historic level of about 200,000 per year, illegal aliens, their progeny, and their higher fertility rates are the main factors in population growth and the depletion of finite natural resources. The fertility rate of American women is near the replacement level of 2.1. It follows that immigration and tax policy reforms are needed to address population growth as an issue of vital importance to the future of our country. Your version of CIR flies in the face of these facts.
You may consider the immigrant blame game to be deplorable but that view ignores the real and significant adverse impacts excessive legal immigration and the presence of illegal aliens have on our country and will have on its future. This is not to deny the many contributions of legal immigrants and even some of the illegals who are willing to do the hardest work our economy requires. Nevertheless, we must limit the amount of foreign labor we import to the demonstrated needs of our economy and make sure employer pay the full cost of foreign workers rather than offloading some of it on unsuspecting taxpayers. With the current high unemployment rate this is the perfect time to enact enlightened tax and immigration policies that achieve the goal of a stable population but I suppose that is too much to expect from a Congress that hasn’t seen a true statesman since the days of the late Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan.
In the immigration debate, some things are indeed constant. They never change but they are regularly ignored by those who have an axe to grind: immigration lawyers, the ethnocentric communities and their leaders, and, of course, employers who want to be absolved of their past sins and be assured of a continuous flow of cheap labor. They are pushing an agenda that does not bode well for the America we know and love. Does any reasonable person really believe we can double or triple our population without affecting our quality of life or standard of living? Population-driven economic growth is not sustainable in the long run? As I stated above, the more there are of us, the less there is for each of us, and that includes Hispanic citizens as well as everyone else. Why is this simple fact not understood by the Hispanic community and the pro-immigration lobby?
There are lots of people out there who give lip service to border security, just as you do, but, in the next breath, would deny us the tools we need to achieve that goal. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. If the truth were known, they would be clearly recognized as open borders advocates. They are the worst of the anti-America, pro-immigration elements in our country.
So what would it take to secure our borders? First and foremost it is clear that the borders can never be absolutely secure. It is also clear that if illegal aliens think they will be home free once they escape the immediate environs of the border, secure borders will always be just a pipe dream. Secure borders requires a many- faceted approach: continuing improvements in border infrastructure and border patrol staffing, improvements in the rules of engagement, penalties for employers and foreign workers who violate the law, and vigorous and continuous internal enforcement. We desperately need mandatory E-Verify across the board for all employers and employees, new and current, public and private. It is the sine qua non of in depth border security. If we deprive illegals of job opportunities, they will have less incentive to come. If we quickly apprehend them and send them on their way, they will stop violating our borders. If we sentence them to six months work on the border infrastructure at minimum wage, they will have some time to think about their transgressions.
Separate immigration courts with judges or justices of the peace in residence at all detention centers with a mandate to make decisions within 24 hours of apprehension would also provide a disincentive for illegal entry. Certainly, appeals must be limited to one week. Contractors who operate detention facilities should be compensated based on throughput rather than detainee-days. Quick decisions could be enabled by the enactment of a rigid set of criteria to be used by these judges and JOPs. These criteria should explicitly exclude family separation as a basis for a favorable immigration decision. Adults under a removal order must take their minor children with them regardless of citizenship. Adult children who are citizens, of course, can make their own choices whether to leave with their parents or remain. This would be no different from the situations of other immigrants who left adult relatives behind when they came to this country. I have many relatives in Germany and Denmark who are perfectly content with the decisions of their ancestors to stay there while their brothers and sisters moved on. Those immigrants made the decision to start a new life here while their adult relatives were content to continue living in their homeland.
The issues of how many legal immigrants to admit each year, whether to end chain immigrations, and to provide yet another amnesty for illegal aliens are too important to allow mere politicians to exercise complete control without accountability to the American voters. Cynical politicians ignore what is best for America and pander to those who they believe can help them to achieve perennial re-election and the power that comes with it to do more damage.
The comments of TV personalities are often closer to the truth than the typical politician’s rants. And the American people generally agree with them except when they indulge in some over-the-top comment that goes too far in an attempt to make a point or simply to be entertaining. For every Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh there is a Chris Mathews or Keith Olbermann. They all play the ratings game. Immigrants are only secondarily to blame for some of the economic, financial, and other woes of our country. The real culprits are the Congress and the Administration who have failed to enact, promote, and enforce immigration policies in the national interest.
The incessant promotion of illegal aliens and excessive legal immigration is the most deplorable element of public debate in our nation. We have failed to deal with the facts of excessive legal immigration, the continued violation of our borders, and their long term adverse impacts on our standard of living and quality of life. We need to look no farther than the teeming masses of China, India, Bangladesh, and Sub-Saharan Africa to know what that would be like.
Something else that has been predictable, constant, and dishonorable is the way that many of our nation’s Hispanic citizens have responded to the illegal presence of so many millions of aliens who are their ethnic brethren. They should know that their fellow non-Hispanic citizens want the immigration laws to be enforced. They want illegals to be removed unless an employer can provide irrefutable evidence that they are unable to fill their jobs with citizen labor, even after extensive advertising offering a living wage and a hiring preference. Instead of behaving as loyal Americans and making common cause with their fellow citizens to achieve real immigration reform, some Hispanics support those who have violated our borders and flaunted the rule of law, the very foundation of all civilized societies. They avoid completely any thoughts about the long term negative consequences to themselves and their descendents. In that respect, they are like most of our shortsighted politicians whose myopic approach to legislation has created many of the problems we face today: a huge national debt; perennial budget deficits; a negative balance of trade; a fading manufacturing capability; wasteful spending on multi-lingual ballots and other government publications and proceedings; the unprecedented Social Security and Medicare unfunded liabilities; the burgeoning costs of Medicaid, the special interest appropriations to organizations like ACORN and La Raza; and immigration and tax policies that do not serve the best interests of this country. The ineptness of Congress in keeping our fiscal house in order is well-known and hopefully will result in the failure of many re-election campaigns.
Does anyone believe that the importation of millions of people from failed countries run by oligarchs will improve America? What is the probability that a Latinized America will be less like the America we know and love and more like the countries the illegals fled to come here?
The Congress has responded to the immigration and illegal alien problems year after year with faulty legislation. While immigrant proponents have come to the table, they have failed repeatedly to craft a workable solution to our urgent crisis. Instead they offer thousand page bills containing the same old loopholes that weaken our immigration laws rather than reform them. The American people have sat patiently waiting for some statesman in the Congress to introduce a bill that meets the fundamental criteria for effective reform and that is based on a careful assessment of the long-term impact of excessive population growth and the abandonment of the rule of law.
In the public debate, some commentators and critics have used harsh language to get the attention of the American people regarding immigration’s unarmed invasion and its deadly consequences. The opposition has responded with charges of nativism, xenophobia, and racism. Then they introduce another CIR bill that they claim will cure all the ills of the immigration system but which instead merely sweeps the illegal alien problem under the carpet by offering yet another amnesty and opens the floodgates for unneeded and unwanted population growth. They try to bully those who oppose their brand of negative reform.
Immigrant citizens marched in the street flying foreign flags and ripping the American flag from counter demonstrators’ hands. They say they are asking for fairness but those who are citizens they are already enjoying all the fairness and benefits of our great country has to offer. What they are really asking for is amnesty for their illegal alien ethnic brethren and open borders for others so that hundreds of thousands more can enter without difficulty to participate in governmental welfare and largess. They are not acting like loyal citizens. They are giving precedence to foreigners who have violated our borders over the wishes of the American people who place the national interest first.
They attend community meetings to plot how to achieve their goals. They often focus on the concept of family unity or reunification. Having created the problem themselves by entering our country illegally, they now want to be absolved so that they can remain here. It is not a question of family unity. It is a question of the rule of law. Families can remain unified by simply returning as a unit to their homeland. Minor children must always accompany their parents if they are ordered to be removed. Adult citizen children can make their own choice. A fair immigration policy is one which does not grant special favors to those who have entered our country illegally and which requires families to take responsibility for their own actions. Chain immigrations obviously should be limited to the spouses and children of those who have already become citizens. There is no need for legislation to stop tearing families apart. Everyone knows they are free to return to their countries of origin or stay there to begin with.
We all have learned something from our religious leaders, who have reminded us of these words from the good book: “You have heard it said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth’; but I say unto you, whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Indeed America has done this through a number of immigration bills and amnesties in the past but enough is enough. The bible surely does not expect anyone to continue to turn the other cheek. I believe our country has turned its cheek so many times that our collective head is spinning like a top.
It’s easy to be angry and frustrated about immigration but still America has turned the other cheek with patience and tolerance and dignity. But our good will and humanitarianism is not unlimited. Americans are saying, “No más!”
It is time for the Hispanic caucus to come to the table as Americans not as hyphenated Americans. It’s time to negotiate and compromise until we have determined what is in the best interests of our country, not what is in the best interests of illegal aliens or all those who wish to come here. Let’s break any comprehensive reform bill into a series of shorter bills that everyone can read and understand before any vote is taken. As you point out immigration bills need not be complicated. Neither should they be 1000 pages long.
And let’s put the debate on C-Span for all to see. Let’s begin with the reforms I have listed in the attachment. With patience, tolerance, and dignity and putting country first, we can achieve comprehensive immigration reform.
Our nation’s immigration policy should be pro-jobs, pro-rule of law, pro-secure borders, pro-stable population, pro-enforcement, and pro-security. A number of smaller bills were introduced previously in 2007 and 2008 that placed top priority on securing the borders before any other reforms could be considered. That was the correct approach but the powers that be in Congress scuttled those bills. They would have been a great beginning for immigration reform.
Legal immigrants must indeed learn English just as my grandparents and parents did. And they should not be granted citizenship until they are fully fluent in English. Multi-lingual ballots and other government publications and proceedings should be dispensed with by repealing Executive Order 13166. Those legal residents who are unable to achieve fluency will still be free of any threat of deportation. Their children will be able to achieve citizenship immediately as they progress through American schools learning English and Civics. The current English test for citizenship is a farce.
We’ve waited long enough. Just because America has turned its cheek in the past doesn’t mean we should turn away from what’s right, what is legal, and what is in the national interest. Just because we’ve been patient with illegal aliens, doesn’t mean we can wait forever for them to return to their homelands until they can enter legally.
America has given. America has granted amnesty. America has waited for its Hispanic citizens to act like loyal Americans. And America has compromised. But there are some fundamentals that America simply cannot negotiate away and cannot wait for one minute longer: secure borders, the need for illegal alien families to return to their homelands as a unit to maintain family unity, the opportunity for citizenship based only on the needs of our economy, singular citizenship and allegiance, paying taxes, social integration, and linguistic and cultural assimilation.
We need immigration reform that will secure our borders, identify those who in our country illegally, remove those who are surplus to the needs of our economy, punish employers who exploit immigrant labor or who employ illegal aliens; and reform that absolutely prohibits another amnesty or anything like it. We must assert our values and our principles as a nation of laws. We were once a nation of immigrants but no longer should be. In the early days of our nation, a largely unsettled continent lay before the Founding Fathers. Natural resources like land, water, fish, game, timber, and minerals seemed limitless. Now we know better. We are sending our treasure to despots in the Middle East and South America to buy oil while Congress and the Administration fail to exploit all of the domestic sources available. We have 300 million people in America and some would argue that is already too many. Certainly adding more people compounds the problems we are faced with in the economy, the environment, and in the availability of food, energy, and natural resources.
It is not enough to merely understand that we must secure our borders. We must backup that understanding with action and objective results. We have to agree to buttress infrastructure and staffing improvements at the border with changes in the rules of engagement and continuous and vigorous internal enforcement. We must begin with mandatory E-Verify across the board for all employers, public and private, and all employees, current and new. These are the minimum essentials for CIR beginning with border security are listed in the enclosure. Without internal enforcement it will be impossible to achieve border security. Everyone knows that.
I hope that you will give these remarks the thoughtful consideration they deserve.
cc Senator Bennett
Comprehensive Immigration Reform
The essential elements of real comprehensive immigration reform in priority order are:
1. Secure our borders first before any other immigration reforms are considered.
a. Continue improvements in border infrastructure and staffing.
b. Buttress these improvements with comprehensive internal enforcement using as the primary tool mandatory E-Verify across the board for all employers, public and private, and all employees, new and current.
c. Demonstrate that the borders are secure with objective data collected by the border patrol and ICE regarding the number and trend of apprehensions at the border and internally and a valid estimate of the total number of illegals still present in the U.S.
d. Supplement objective data with secret surveys of all border patrol and ICE agents asking their opinions as to whether the borders are secure.
e. Solicit and implement ideas from the border patrol and ICE on how border security and internal enforcement can be improved.
f. Require all illegal aliens apprehended at the border or internally to spend six months working on border infrastructure at minimum wage before they are fingerprinted, photographed, DNAed, and escorted to the border.
g. Prohibit catch and release at the border and internally.
h. End voluntary self-removal by illegal aliens; all removals, self-removal or otherwise, must be considered involuntary so that if they return without the proper documents they will be considered felons and do a minimum of two years of hard time.
i. Require illegals and their employers identified via E-Verify to pay the cost of repatriation.
j. Revise the rules of engagement to permit hot pursuit of drug runners and the use of lethal force and granting immunity from prosecution for agents in the legitimate performance of their duties.
k. Establish a deadline beyond which the use of fraudulent documents and social security numbers will be considered a felony.
2. Tie legal immigration quotas to the U.S. total unemployment rate by sector, profession, or type of work. (For example, if the unemployment level among computer programmers is above the specified criterion, legal immigration in that sector would be halted.)
a. Limit legal immigration to no more than 200,000 per year. (All successful applicants must be briefed on the desirability of a stable population and the adaptation necessary to facilitate that goal and achieve a soft landing for a sustainable economy.)
b. Design immigration and tax policy to achieve a stable population, the conservation of energy and natural resources, and the reduction of environment-destroying pollution of all kinds.
c. Use “Cap and Trade” as one means for achieving a stable population. (Women who wish to have more than the replacement number of children, about 2.1 on the average per couple, will have to buy credits from those who wish to have fewer.)
2. Grant accelerated citizenship consideration to aliens who enlist in the armed forces for at least 4 years and who serve at least one tour in a combat zone.
3. Make English the official language of the United States to be used for all ballots and other government publications and proceedings at all levels of government. (Repeal Executive Order 13166 but make public interpreters available to those who cannot afford one and who do not have a family member who can serve in that capacity.)
a. Grant legal immigration priority to English speaking applicants who have the skills needed by America to stay competitive in a global environment. Give accelerated consideration to foreign PhD students in math, physical science, engineering, and MDs in medicine who wish to become American citizens and who are prepared to renounce all allegiance to foreign countries or potentates and any claim on dual citizenship.
b. Raise the bar for citizenship to real fluency in reading, writing, and speaking English rather than the current few words and phrases from a study guide. (Failure to achieve fluency would not be cause for deportation of legal residents.)
4. Require that at least one parent be a citizen of the U.S. before birthright citizenship can be granted under the 14th Amendment.
5. End chain immigrations, except for the spouses and children of those who have been granted citizenship.
6. Make Immigration Court decisions within 24 hours of apprehension. Allow only one week allowed for appeals.
7. Establish rigid criteria for successful appeals. (Successful grounds for an appeal of a removal order may include: evidence of social integration, and cultural and linguistic assimilation, testimony of employers and co-workers as well as evidence that their children are in school learning civics, citizenship and English and are willing to declare their sole allegiance to the U.S. and renounce any dual allegiance and citizenship Family unification is excluded as a basis for an appeal. All minor children, regardless of citizenship, must accompany parents under a removal order.)
8. Prohibit the flying of foreign national flags except at foreign embassies and consulates and by permit for parades on ethnic holidays honoring our immigrant past. (For example, Columbus Day, St. Patrick's Day, Bastille Day, and Cinco de Mayo.)
9. Build a string of triage and obstetric hospitals across on the other side of the borders and provide transport to those hospitals for any foreigners who show up at the border crossings who need medical assistance. Share the cost of constructing these hospitals with our neighbors but, in return, expect Mexico and Canada to staff them.
10. Prohibit unwarranted criticism of legal immigrants and violence against anyone based on race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual preference.
11. Allow employers to present irrefutable evidence that they have made a good faith effort to hire citizens by offering a living wage and a hiring preference before they can declare a hardship case for hiring foreign workers.