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It's a Gray Area: Right to be 'Rule of Law' city

It's a Gray Area

May 30, 2010|By Jim Gray

OK, let's calm down and see these recent developments in Arizona and even the city of Costa Mesa for what they really are. They have little or nothing to do with racism and everything to do with legitimate frustration, and even desperation, about the entire situation with illegal immigrants (or undocumented workers, if you prefer). So from the standpoint of all good people, it is simply time for something affirmative to be done!

The first substantive column I wrote for this series was published on July 22, 2007, and dealt with this very subject ("Immigration system is ineffective"). What I said then is what I say now, and that is that I seldom get angry at illegal immigrants, and you shouldn't either. They are simply doing what our system so strongly encourages them to do, and they almost all come to our country for the same reasons our ancestors did: to seek better lives for themselves and their families.

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The problem is that the federal government has all of the power in this area, makes all of the rules and does whatever enforcement that takes place, which is not very much. But the federal government mostly does not have to pay for the costs of illegal immigrants. Instead, most of the costs are paid by the state and local governments, and the school districts.

The irony is that it would not be hard at all to install a workable system, but neither the Republicans nor the Democrats actually want this to happen. Why not? Money and power.

Many powerful Republicans are anxious to retain the source of cheap labor that is furnished to them by illegal immigrants, and many powerful Democrats are anxious to have all of these people come into the country on the hope that they eventually will vote for Democrats. In the meantime, many good people on both sides of the issue are being severely punished under the status quo.

What is the resolution? Actually, it is relatively straightforward, and just a three-step process.

First, we must understand that this failed system will never be changed until the federal government has the incentive to change it. So the federal government must be required to pay for all of the governmental costs of illegal immigrants, including health care, education and incarceration.

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