Dennis D. Brust: Illegal immigration carries high cost in U.S.
No other subject grabs headlines today like illegal immigration. All we hear from presidential candidates from either party are self-serving pronouncements of “we have to secure the border.” While our candidates are making promises they have no intention on keeping, the high cost of illegals living in America and the thousands upon thousands who enter the country every year goes on unabated.
It is time to let our elected officials know what we want done to solve the problem. I am writing not political commentary, but presenting straightforward true facts. Armed with truth, individuals can have an impact on elected officials.
The thinking person might believe the issue would be settled simply by understanding the word “illegal.” New World Dictionary of American English, Third College Edition (1988), defines it as “prohibited by law, not authorized” with example, “an alien who has entered the U.S. illegally.”
The reality is that our laws are being ignored, our border patrol officers underfunded and the few miles of fences either tunneled under or walked around, every day.
True facts will help every citizen understand the problem of illegal immigration.
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• Over 11 million unauthorized persons from dozens of countries reside in the U.S.
• Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has allowed a million unauthorized immigrants to remain in this country.
• Illegal entry of pregnant women into the U.S. results in 300,000 new babies a year — now citizens who shelter their unauthorized parents.
• Nationwide, last year, $338.3 billion funded a dozen or more programs, from food assistance, daycare, medical costs and education supporting illegal residents.
• Estimates vary, but Colorado spends about $1 billion per year on illegal immigrant support.
• Thirty percent of all federal inmates have entered this country without legal status; 30,000 are released every year into the general population.
• Sixty percent of unauthorized immigrants reside in six states.
• Ten states (including Colorado and Washington, D.C.) issue driver’s licenses to illegals.
• Over 200 U.S. cities and counties, including 11 in Colorado, are defined as “sanctuaries,” preventing deportation of illegal residents, even when convicted of murder. Legality of designated “sanctuary locations” is subject to question and thought by many to be outside of federal law. Kate’s law is a proposal to imprison repeat offenders coming back to the U.S. after being deported.
• Our open border allows Mexican drug cartels to make $6.6 billion trafficking illegal drugs to the U.S.
• Open borders are invitations to terrorists and human traffickers.
• On Aug. 28, two Mexican nationals, unauthorized entrants to the U.S., were arrested at an illegal marijuana grow site in the Routt National Forest, a few miles north of Steamboat Springs on Buffalo Pass. Forest Service officials say these sites provide a public safety risk.
• A majority of legal immigrants in the U.S. favor enforcing laws and eliminating illegal entrants who enter the work force and undercut wage rates.
OK, what is the solution? Is this a problem without an answer? Or could other states follow the example of Missouri whose citizens have given strong support to steps that have brought the state into compliance with the law.
In 2007, a proposed amendment to Missouri’s Constitution designated English as the official state language. It passed with nearly 90 percent approval. In 2008, voters approved a law that required the Missouri Highway Patrol and other agencies to verify the immigration status of persons arrested and subsequent notice to federal authorities of illegal residency.
Missouri provides no access to taxpayer benefits such as food stamps or health care for anyone without legal residence status. The state’s post-secondary schools require annual certification of legal residency before awarding financial aid to students.
Here in Routt County, across Colorado and the U.S., illegal immigration negatively impacts our citizens. This is not the time to sit by and watch. The Constitution works because people speak and then vote. It is time to write a letter and make a phone call to our elected representatives. We can and must be heard.
Dennis Brust bought a small ranch on Routt County Road 129 in 1996.
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