As more states push for stricter immigration enforcement one is bucking the trend, instead working to help illegal immigrants by offering them a taxpayer-funded benefit that should be reserved for legal U.S. residents and citizens.Colorado lawmakers are on the verge of passing legislation to give illegal immigrants discounted in-state tuition at public colleges and universities. The measure has a good chance of passing the state’s Democrat-controlled Senate and could even make it through the Republican-led House, according to a Denvernewspaper.The Colorado Senate narrowly defeated a similar bill in 2009, but the law (Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow) got tweaked before being reintroduced and some legislators who voted against it are expected to support it. The bottom line is that both versions offer illegal immigrants discounted tuition at public institutions of higher learning.The legislation’s two sponsors—both Democratic state senators—are promoting it as an economic development issue, asserting that children who can’t afford to attend college don’t reach their full potential as contributors to the state’s economy. Therefore they risk becoming part of a permanent underclass, according to the lawmakers and their supporters.Ten states—including Texas, Utah, California, Oklahoma and Maryland—already subsidize the college education of illegal immigrants who graduate from local high schools. A few weeks ago Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit to stop government tuition benefits for illegal aliens in Montgomery County, Maryland where the perk is offered because officials claim it’s essential to promote the state’s security and economic stability.Colorado’s plan comes amid a growing push by local governments nationwide to combat illegal immigration, the result of frustration over years of federal inaction. Dozens of state lawmakers plan to draft measures to curb illegal immigration and at least six states are set to introduce bills similar to Arizona’s, which bans “sanctuary city” policies, makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. without proper documentation and requires police to check the immigration status of people stopped for questioning.More than 1,000 immigration-related bills will be introduced this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation’s 50 states as well as its commonwealths and territories. In each of the last two years, the figure reached about 1,500 and is expected to grow this year amid fury over the federal government’s inaction.
As it suffers through a ravaging financial crisis, the nation’s most populous county spends well over half a billion dollars annually just to provide illegal immigrants with welfare food stamps.For two consecutive years Los Angeles County has doled out more than $550 million just to cover the welfare and food-stamp costs for illegal aliens, many of whom collect the U.S. taxpayer benefits on behalf of their anchor babies. In 2010 the tabexceeded $600 million compared to an already exorbitant $570 million in 2009.The enraging figures have been released by a veteran county lawmaker who points out that they don’t even include the enormous cost of educating, medically treating or incarcerating illegal aliens in the sprawling county of about 10 million residents. That adds more than a billion dollars a year, according to county agency figures.“When you add this to $550 million for public safety and nearly $500 million for healthcare, the total cost for illegal immigrants to County taxpayers exceeds $1.6 billion dollars a year – not including the hundreds of millions of dollars for education,” said L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich.Each month the county spends around $53 million to give illegal immigrants food stamps and other welfare benefits, according to the county’s Department of Public Social Services. This amounts to a big chunk—about 22%—of all welfare issuances in the entire county. It also marks a substantial monthly increase (3 million) over the previous year.Nationwide, the increasing cost of supporting illegal immigrants has taken a huge toll though border states naturally have suffered the brunt of it. Americans annually spend about $113 billion to educate, incarcerate, medically treat and otherwise support illegal aliens around the country. The bulk of the cost—about $84.2 billion—is absorbed by state and local governments, according to figures released over the summer by a group that studies the impact of illegal immigration.Educating the children of illegal immigrants constitutes the single largest cost to American taxpayers, about $52 billion a year, according to a lengthy reportpublished by the group. Nearly all of the costs are absorbed by state and local governments as the feds fail miserably to seal the increasingly porous southern border.
As Mexican drug violence reaches epic proportions, Homeland Security officials prepare to reopen a remote port of entry—closed years ago for security reasons—as an unmanned border crossing monitored by federal agents hundreds of miles away.Known as the Boquillas crossing, the port of entry is located in southwest Texas’Big Bend National Park, an 800,000-acre oasis known for its diverse terrain of deserts, mountains and rivers. The Boquillas crossing, which links the U.S. to the Mexican town of Boquillas del Carmen across the Rio Grande River, was shut down after the 2001 terrorist attacks because it represented a national security threat.Amid escalating drug cartel crime in Mexico and reports of Middle Eastern terrorists slipping into the U.S. through the southern border, Homeland Security officials will reopen the crossing in 2012. It will be “monitored” by immigration officials hundreds of miles away and those entering the U.S. will submit documents electronically, according to a San Antonio newspaper report.The U.S. government will construct an information center and bathrooms to accommodate border crossers and the area will return to the pre 9/11 “bi-national community” where Americans regularly boated across the Rio Grande and Mexicans came into the U.S. for groceries. Area residents who expressed security concerns were reassured by the head of the Homeland Security agency handling the matter.“People who act criminally will act criminally regardless if there’s a lawful crossing here,” said Alan Bersin, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the federal agency that guards the nation’s borders and safeguards the American homeland. Bersin flew to the area by helicopter to announce the reopening, which is scheduled for next spring.He does admit that Mexico has a “long way to go” in combating organized crime and corruption, but says the country has “acknowledged the problem” and taken “corrective action.” Besides, a legal rowboat crossing on a remote, shallow portion of the Rio Grande won’t affect illegal immigration or contraband, according to Bersin.Just last week, a Dallas newspaper reported that Mexican drug violence hit record levels in scale and brutality in 2010. More than 13,000 people were murdered acrossMexico in disturbing and cruel ways not commonly seen in previous years and the problem is especially critical along the U.S. border. A few months ago a veteran federal agent revealed that Middle Eastern terrorists regularly enter the country through the porous, 2,000-mile Mexican border.
A United States congressman dedicated to fighting harmful anti-immigrantlegislation has introduced a bill to change a decades-old federal law so that “exemplary” illegal aliens can obtain American citizenship.California Democrat Joe Baca actually wants to amend the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act so that underage illegal immigrants can become U.S. citizens. To qualify they must somehow prove that they are “exemplary” by providing academic transcripts, demonstrating an understanding of United States history, government and civics and proving that they are of good moral character.Like most open borders advocates, Baca, who represents Southern California’s San Bernardino County in the U.S. House, claims it’s a way of helping innocent young people brought to America by no choice of their own as children. It’s simply wrong to have policies that “unfairly punish” them, Baca proclaims in a press releaseannouncing his bill this week.The measure is called People Resolved to Obtain Understanding of Democracy (PROUD) Act and it was also introduced in the previous congress as part of a larger immigration reform bill. It got more than 100 cosponsors but failed to make it past the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law. With Republicans in control of the House, the PROUD Act probably won’t survive but Baca is determined to help illegal aliens.Under his measure, illegal immigrants who complete grades 6 through 12 in a U.S.school can forgo the current naturalization exam to obtain citizenship. They must provide proof of “essential civic knowledge” and be in “good moral standing within the community.” This will motivate all students to “do their best and stay out of trouble,” Baca assures. It will also put our most responsible and successful immigrant students on a “streamlined path for citizenship.”After all, the congressman reminds us that America is the land of opportunity and we are blessed to live in a nation where people of diverse backgrounds can come together as one. His legislation will increase the number of high-skilled, citizen workers which will boost economic recovery by creating additional tax revenue. How can you beat that?Not surprisingly, Baca has a long history of opposing measures to curb illegal immigration. He voted against the U.S.-Mexico border fence, a bill requiring hospitals to report illegal immigrants before getting reimbursed by the government to treat them and a law that extends illegal immigrants’ stay in the U.S. while pursuing residency.
Rhode Island’s new governor has killed crucial measures to crack down on illegal immigration for the sake of statewide economic growth and prosperity in “immigrant-rich areas.”Just a few days on the job, Democrat Lincoln Chafee wasted no time issuing executive orders to accommodate illegal aliens, assuring that “Rhode Island can grow economically by being a tolerant place to do business.” He also took action so that “immigrant-rich areas” could prosper throughout the state, which has an estimated 40,000 illegal aliens mingled in its population of a little over 1 million.With a scribble on a paper Chafee rescinded a 2008 law requiring public agencies and vendors that do business with the state to use a federal database—known as E-Verify—to check the legal status of their workers. The governor also ordered Rhode Island State Police to stop participating in a federal program that allows officers to enforce immigration laws. The executive order calls the laws agents of“divisiveness, incivility and distrust among the state’s citizens.”It’s simply part of the governor’s mission to create civil state with a “vibrant, diverse community that is free of political, cultural and ethnic division.” During hisinauguration speech Chaffee vowed to implement an era of “cultural and ethnic acceptance” that will bring the state immediate prosperity. He took the opportunity to also say that his predecessor’s efforts to crack down on illegal immigration caused “needless anxiety within our Latino community.”The immigration laws were implemented to soften the huge financial toll that illegal aliens are having on Rhode Island taxpayers amid federal inaction. The Republican governor (Donald Carcieri) who enacted the measures said he was forced to because the flow of illegal immigrants had become “epidemic” and state taxpayers were getting stuck with the enormous tab.There were also serious concerns of escalating violence by illegal immigrants with criminal histories. The same year the immigration control laws were enacted, an illegal alien with an extensive criminal record kidnapped and raped a woman inProvidence, despite his repeated encounters with local law enforcement officers for driving drunk and domestic assault. Had local authorities contacted federal immigration officials, the Guatemalan man would have been deported long ago.
In a reprehensible waste of taxpayer funds, a government agency is spending more than $1 million to install floating devices along a canal where hundreds of illegal immigrants have drowned trying to sneak into the United States.The costly project was inspired by pressure from the mainstream media, which portrayed government officials as “indifferent and callous” that scores of illegal immigrants have died in the canal that runs along the California-Mexico border. More than 100 life-saving buoys have been bolted across the desert waterway in the last few months at a cost of $1.1 million, according to a national news wire.The floating devices are installed every half mile and each has dozens of orange balls to single them out. Initially they were going to be placed at a 45-degree angle pointing downstream toward Mexico so that anyone who grabbed a line would be pushed south by the current. Human rights advocates fought the plan, arguing that angled lines would be more deadly for determined illegal aliens so the lines are being placed straight across.Additionally, crews are posting more than 1,400 bilingual signs that warn of dangerous waters. Known as the All-American Canal, the treacherous waterway spans about 82 miles along the southern border near Calexico. It’s operated by theImperial Irrigation District, a public agency that manages more than 3,000 miles of canals and drains and supplies water for California’s vast agriculture industry.For years agency officials have resisted installing floating devices along the canal because it would encourage illegal immigrants. Hundreds have died trying to overcome its notoriously powerful currents of up to 30 miles per hour. The local coroner says many of the recovered corpses are so decomposed that they can’t be recognized and no one ever bothers claiming the bodies. About 400 are buried in a nearby town cemetery under the name “John Doe.”Sad as this may seem, the question remains; should public dollars be wasted on helping foreigners who are violating our nation’s laws or to facilitate their illegal journey in any way? A more appropriate use of resources could be to invest in ahuman safety campaign similar to one launched by the Mexican Consulate and the San Diego County Water Authority in late 2009. The bilingual message warns that migrants could die crossing “deadly waters” and features graphic photos of those who drowned trying.
Fed up with the federal government’s perpetual failure to secure the southern border, state legislators across the country will begin the New Year with aggressive efforts to curb illegal immigration.Dozens of state lawmakers throughout the nation have already started drafting measures designed to contain the devastating impact of illegal immigration, according to several news reports. Local governments are so desperate for relief that the possibility of a costly legal challenge is not deterring them from their campaign to crack down on illegal immigration.Elected officials in at least six states have already confirmed plans to introduce bills similar to Arizona’s, which bans “sanctuary city” policies, makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. without proper documentation and requires police to check the immigration status of people stopped for questioning. Others have announced measures to limit access to public benefits for illegal aliens and to punish employers who hire them.Oklahoma may enact a measure that allows authorities to seize and keep the vehicle of anyone who harbors an illegal immigrant and Missouri, Mississippi andNebraska are among states where legislators will offer bills similar to Arizona. In several other states, lawmakers plan to push for laws that require employers to verify the immigration status of their workers.Newly elected governors in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida vowed to enact tough immigration control laws during their high-profile campaigns and Georgia’s governor-elect (Nathan Deal) also wants to revoke birthright U.S. citizenship for children born to illegal immigrants. Commonly known as anchor babies, the number of children born to illegal aliens has nearly doubled to 4 million in the last few years and U.S. taxpayers spend tens of billions of dollars annually just to educate them.In all, more than 1,000 immigration-related bills will be introduced this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation’s 50 states as well as its commonwealths and territories. In each of the last two years, the figure reached about 1,500 and is expected to grow this year amid fury over the federal government’s inaction.