Dealing with illegal immigration is something that has been on my mind lately. It started with the raids in New Bedford. What bothered me most was the treatment of families and children when their parents were detained. Despite an attempt at coordinating with the state of Massachusetts, in the end, children were separated from their parents and left without care. This could have been prevented without compromising the goal of the raid.
I recently found out about Endgame, the Department of Homeland Security's plan to remove ALL the illegal immigrants from the US by 2012 (or, as an update (see page 10) to the plan states, 2009). This is somewhere between 8 and 12 million people removed from the country! Do we really want to spend our tax dollars on this?
I am all in favor of enforcing our laws, but this is closing the barn door after all the animals have left. We have US citizens that are the children of many of these immigrants. They are mostly hard working people who are not threats to our country. Endgame has nothing to do with terrorism (although preventing terrorist attacks is listed as the number one goal). We have to deal with the reality of the situation, not some posture we wished was true.
I find it ridiculous that nothing in Endgame has anything to do with punishing the employers who provide jobs (and motivation) for illegal immigrants. We should be putting these people out of business. If employers stop offering jobs to illegal immigrants, many fewer will come.
We can't do a sudden crackdown after years and years of lax enforcement. We have to have a more sane and humane way of dealing with the law abiding illegal immigrants who are here. They should have some way to earn legal status. It doesn't have to be easy or be amnesty. But, it should be able to be accomplished without disrupting communities and families. We also need to crackdown on employers and continue to have tight enforcement on the border. We'll never eliminate all the illegal immigrants or totally stop their entry into the US. But, we should be able to peaceably make a big dent.