The American dream doesn’t include stealing

Matt White

Right in front of us is the largest dilemma in American history.

It’s not the Iraq war; it’s not racial tensions; it’s not a lack of health insurance, and it’s not gender equality. It is our federal government’s hands-off approach to millions of law breakers.

Illegal immigrants steal tax dollars by consuming social services, jobs by working outside of state and federal employment laws and the identities of American citizens while shacking up here indefinitely.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, a non-profit, non-partisan research institution, there are currently eight or nine million illegal immigrants residing in the United States who “imposed more than $26.3 billion in costs on the federal government in 2002.” These same immigrants “paid only $16 billion in taxes, creating a net fiscal deficit of almost $10.4 billion, or $2,700 per illegal household.”

The center found other shocking statistics. “Among the largest costs (from illegal immigration) are Medicaid ($2.5 billion); treatment for the uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC and free school lunches ($1.9 billion); the federal prison and court systems ($1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion).”

Immigrants often come to America because conditions in their homelands are bad. Unemployment is high, and medical care is poor and hard to find. Stable lives are simply unavailable. I understand this, but I reject it as a justification for invading a foreign country and stealing from its citizens.

The simple fact is people who come to America by cheating our immigration system (and the millions of honest, legal immigrants waiting in line) don’t deserve to be put in the same category as people trying to find the American dream. The American dream doesn’t include stealing.

Last year, Congress failed to pass an immigration bill. President George W. Bush sent the National Guard to the border, not to “patrol it,” but as more of a public relations stunt than a real solution to the problem. Congress debated a “guest worker” program until many of the old wind bags simply ran out of breath. It isn’t a solution — if people cheat our immigration system now, they still will when the maximum quota of guest workers is met.

America is a nation that should be open to everyone, all races, colors, backgrounds, etc., but we must reserve the right to uphold our laws and turn away those who disrespect them.

President Herbert Hoover told America in 1930, “I urge the strengthening of our deportation laws so as to more fully rid ourselves of criminal aliens. The very method of their entry indicates their objectionable character, and our law-abiding foreign-born residents suffer in consequence.”

The simple fact is Hoover nailed it. Illegal immigrants hurt legal immigrants, and they hurt our nation. They’re criminals who don’t deserve the same protection as legal immigrants.

Political correctness would prevent any modern politician from stating the problem as clearly as Hoover, but if we’re going to survive as a nation built upon laws, then it must not stop us from finding a solution.

Matt White is a senior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].