Site Network: Jeff Emanuel | RedState | Human Events | American Spectator | Peach Pundit | The Patriot Group |


Welcome to the official website of columnist and combat journalist Jeff Emanuel.

Click the tabs for biographical information, column archives, a regularly-updated blog, embedded reports from Iraq, and information on current projects.

Making a move on illegal immigration

By Jeff Emanuel

Mar 26, 2006

The "most comprehensive illegal immigration proposal ever to come before the Georgia Legislature" made it out of the Georgia state Senate this month when it was approved by a 40-13 vote of the 56-member body. Supporters hope that other states will follow Georgia’s lead and that this legislation could be the beginning of an immigration-reform movement across the nation. The House is expected to pass the bill and Governor Sonny Perdue will likely sign it into law, but the all-inclusive measure is sure to spark a major courtroom showdown in the near future. Senate Bill 529, known as the "Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act" is a much-needed response to the ever-increasing number of illegal immigrants in Georgia who benefit from the state's taxpayer-supported programs while avoiding paying into the system.

Nobody seems to be able to make an accurate estimate; the number is often listed as "between 250,000 and 800,000"—a margin of error which is so large that it provides an excellent illustration of the problem itself. A population can only support so many non-productive beneficiaries of goods and services, and the swelling underclass of illegal immigrants is straining Georgia’s state infrastructure to a point at which further inaction would be extremely detrimental to the state’s economy and society.

"If this bill in its present form makes it into law, it will be the strongest [state immigration] law in America," said state Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), one of the bill's sponsors. SB 529, which was a no-brainer to pass in an election year when almost 80% of Georgians want this issue addressed, would "prohibit adult illegal immigrants from receiving many taxpayer-funded benefits, financially penalize private employers who hire illegals, require employers with public contracts to verify that their workers are in the country legally, and crack down on human trafficking." It would not, however, "prohibit the children of illegal immigrants from attending public school, nor would it deny them certain medical benefits, such as emergency medical care, prenatal care and immunizations"—benefits which have already been largely guaranteed by federal courts.

This measure’s passage has sparked controversy among student groups on the state’s more liberal university campuses. Various pro-illegal immigration groups have protested the measure, calling the legislation "troubling" and citing in large part the revocation of illegals’ current ability (which they often refer to as a "right") to pay in-state tuition rates at state universities (a difference of roughly $12,000 per year). "If you cut that, there’s no way they can go to school," said a Hispanic Student Association spokesman, who added the dire warning that "educational barriers will only create a negative economic cycle among the illegal immigrants."

Threats regarding the enforcement of our nation’s laws resulting in a cycle of economic depression aside, this legislation is, for the most part, a very positive step forward on the road to getting Georgia’s, and America’s, ballooning illegal immigration problem under control. The Compliance Act does not advocate deportation or other "inhuman" treatment of illegals, but rather encourages those who are here to make themselves known and to comply with the law, while discouraging those who are elsewhere from migrating to the state of Georgia in hopes of gaining an under-the-radar, illegally "free ride" through the state’s institutions and services—many of which are barely efficient enough to cater to legal, tax-paying citizens. Undocumented "students," for example, are by law illegal; therefore, it makes perfect sense to not guarantee them privileges like in-state tuition, which are reserved for citizens of the state.

The price America pays for being the strongest, most prosperous, and most free nation on earth is that people the world over are constantly striving to immigrate here. A microcosm of that is that many of those people attempt to accelerate their relocation here by doing so outside of the law. We as American conservatives, who pride ourselves on living in a "nation of laws," must take care to differentiate between those in this country who are law-abiding citizens and legal immigrants, and those whose presence is a violation of law.

There will always be a demand for low-wage, high-efficiency, unskilled labor, which immigrants today so readily provide. As President Bush said this week, if an "American won't do a job and you can find somebody who will do the job, they ought to be allowed to do it legally." While we American conservatives are, and should be, 100% for immigration, we are, and must be, 100% for the law as well. This has always been a nation of immigrants; our history as a "melting pot" is a large part of what has made us the great nation we are today. However, even more importantly in this modern age of terrorism than ever before, it cannot—and must not—be too much to ask that those who come to this country, be it for the lifestyle, the opportunities, the freedom, or the work, do so legally, and with a full disclosure of their intentions.

Jeff Emanuel, a Special Operations military veteran, is a columnist and a director of conservative web log

Copyright © 2006

Labels: ,

Permalink |


Post a Comment

<< Home