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Immigration reform worth backing

On The Town

May 17, 2006|By STEVE SMITH

Hallelujah. I finally got someone in the illegal immigration movement to answer the one question I have been posing for weeks. It was a good answer too.

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times ran a story about the status of the movement featuring Diana Hull, president of Californians for Population Stabilization.

Hull lives in Santa Barbara and is quick to point out what she believes are the perils of allowing so many illegal immigrants into this country, mostly overcrowding in schools, hospitals and roads.

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When I spoke to her yesterday, Hull was in the middle of a very busy media day. Mine was one of many interview requests she's had since the Times story ran. Her opinion of the media appeared to have been dropping steadily with each contact.

I told Hull that I once worked for someone very famous who said some things that caused a media firestorm. From my vantage point, what my boss said became secondary to the media treatment of the comments.

"They're lazy," said Hull. "They don't want to think."

She was referring to the lack of preparation she had encountered by some of the people who want to talk to her. Me? I made darn sure I went to her website before picking up the phone.

But it was the border issue that took up the bulk of our time. Hull saw some light at the end of the tunnel.

"Certain things we have been talking about for a long time are finally being conceded. One of them is our porous borders."

No argument here, and her timing is very good. While her Times story was being written, President Bush announced a plan involving 6,000 National Guard troops to help patrol our borders.

I told Hull that in my opinion, no matter which side of the immigration issue one takes, we should all vigorously support much stronger enforcement at our borders. To allow the illegal immigration to occur unchecked is madness.

So, we agreed on that. We also agreed on the media's voracious appetite and how it will sometimes turn up the volume on an issue in order to drive response. Not that I would do any of that, of course.

Then we turned to the subject of the illegal immigrants who are already here.

"The numbers have crept up," Hull said. "There is less enforcement and more encouragement to come over. An amnesty or guest worker program will only increase the influx. We know that the former amnesty supports that [point]."

So here was my question: We agree that the borders must be enforced. But what do we do about the illegal immigrants who are already here?

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