Proposed Solutions to Curb Illegal Immigration
Jim Oberweis, Chic. Tribune, Mar. 5
Aurora — Most Americans agree that the wave of illegal immigration that has been visited upon this country has been responsible for taking away American jobs, depressing American workers’ wages, boosting the cost of American citizens’ health care and creating a serious burden on our state and local governments to provide services to this new population. It also is profoundly unfair for those trying to immigrate legally.
I happen to agree with those statements and have made that a central point of my campaign for the U.S. Senate. The Tribune disagrees with me and has taken me to task for my positions (“Scare tactics on immigration,” Editorial, Feb. 26). While I don’t hope to change your mind, I would like to address questions you raised of fact and tone.
My statement that 10,000 illegal immigrants a day are entering our country is based on a study published by a respected professor from the University of Michigan in the academic journal Population and Environment. His study revealed that from 2.95 million to 5.45 million illegal aliens enter this country every year. Interestingly the study was commissioned by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
While all of my television ads and five of my six radio commercials talk about illegal immigration in broad terms, one radio commercial did indeed note that people have always come to America for economic opportunity and chastised Mexican President Vicente Fox for denying that economic opportunity for his citizens by his refusal to inaugurate sweeping economic reforms and curtail corruption like he promised.
Freedom House’s 2003 report on Mexico reveals that some $2.3 billion of Mexico’s economic production still goes to officials for bribes, with the poorest families paying nearly 14 percent of their income in bribes. Violent attacks against reporters and labor and peasant leaders remain an ongoing problem.
The Heritage Foundation reports that foreign investment is still prohibited in retail trade, gasoline, broadcasting (other than cable TV), ground passenger transport, tourism and many professional services.
This hardly represents a free and thriving political or economic foundation necessary to build a successful middle class.
Furthermore I’m not just talking about the problem; I’ve proposed solutions to help dampen further illegal immigration.
Briefly, in addition to opposing President Bush’s immigration proposal (which I believe is a blanket amnesty in disguise), I have proposed that we do the following:
Limit automatic citizenship only to those children born to legal residents of the United States.
Divert foreign aid in proportion to each country’s percentage of illegal aliens to state and local governments for costs incurred by illegal aliens in their area.
Increase funding for local law enforcement so illegal aliens arrested for crimes can be turned over to American immigration officials for deportation.
Require proof of citizenship for first-time applicants for drivers’ licenses.
Withhold federal funds from states that allow illegal aliens to pay in-state tuition.
Will this solve the entire problem? Hardly. Is it a specific plan backed up by solid facts that will address the problem? I believe so, and I will continue to offer this and other thoughts in a straightforward manner for the voters’ consideration.