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Playing Politics with Immigration

By Leah Durant

It’s an unfortunate characteristic of today’s America that we are urged to view reality through the distorted prism of politics. That every issue, whether great or small, must divide Americans into two camps: right and left. The same disturbing mindset applies to the issue of illegal immigration and Washington’s attempt to remedy the crisis on our southern border.

Is protecting the integrity of America’s borders, jobs and the solvency of her social safety net a right/left issue?

Like the homeowner that locks his or her doors and windows before retiring for the evening, securing our nation’s borders is a rational act of self-preservation. Contrary to the claims of some, securing the safety of one’s family and protecting their possessions is an act of compassion and not a crass abandonment of the same.

Currently, Senate Bill S.744 allows a fast track to citizenship for illegal immigrants even though they may have: participated in gang-related crimes; violated protective orders; committed crimes of domestic violence; violated federal or state drug laws; are guilty of three or more drunk-driving offenses; and misrepresented material facts to attain visas or other immigration benefits.

Beyond the threats to domestic tranquility posed by the Senate bill, there is its dire economic effect. While the period known as the Great Recession has seen unemployment remain above 7% for nearly a half decade, joblessness among African-Americans currently stands at 13%. According to Professor Vernon Briggs of Cornell University, his research finds that illegal immigrants and blacks frequently compete for entry-level jobs.

As the housing sector of the American economy slowly rebounds, it’s worth noting that 35 percent of immigrants in construction jobs are undocumented, according to the Center for Labor Market Studies.

As George Skelton of the Los Angeles Times noted, California’s illegal immigrants represent “about 8% of the state’s population and roughly a quarter of the nation’s illegal immigrants.” About 19,000 illegal aliens make up 11% of the Golden State’s prison population, costing taxpayers $970 million a year. The cost to education (K-12) “comes to roughly $4 billion.”

Recently, Stockton, a California city of 300,000 residents, filed for bankruptcy – the largest American municipality to do so. Although the state’s public employee pension system factors large in California’s fiscal woes, the added costs associated with illegal immigration place a burden on taxpayers the financially strapped state can ill afford.

Supporters of Senate Bill S.744 wish to stigmatize opponents by employing the tired, right-left paradigm. Concerned Americans of all races and economic conditions, however, do not view the debate to fix our broken immigration system as a contest between right and left. Instead, our coalition sees it as an effort to right a terrible wrong threatening the nation’s safety and economic well-being. Stopping the passage of Senate Bill S.744 is good for all Americans.

We urge concerned citizens to make their voices heard. Join the Black American Leadership Alliance and our partners March For Jobs this July 15, beginning at 9:30 a.m., Freedom Plaza, Washington, D.C.

Register to attend the event by visiting us at: http://www.dcmarchforjobs.com/