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SANTA FE, N.M. — Here we go again. Politics is more important than the American people. The real problem of protecting our borders, our citizens, the illegals that are in our county and the ones wanting to enter our country is not the top priority of our federal government.
Immigration rules have been argued and some passed, but never has a law been passed that has provided good border protection, a legal, comprehensive and efficient process of immigration, legal status for our DACA recipients, and a definition of the differences between refugees and immigrants.
As a whole, we welcome people who want to come to our country, establish a better life and become citizens sharing our values of freedom. Both parties are to blame and we, the people, have suffered.
In the beginning, we had open borders but strict naturalization laws in our Constitution. Since our inception, Congress has changed our immigration laws with regard to the number of immigrants and country of origin.
For instance, Chinese laborers were excluded in the 18th century. Under this same law, immigrants were banned due to poor health, infectious diseases and illiteracy. In the early 1900s, the Japanese were restricted. Over the years, immigration laws were based on national-origin quotas. In 1932, immigration was shut down, going from 236,000 in 1929 to 23,000 in 1933 due to the Depression.
In the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s, more laws were passed by Congress defining refugee status, setting skills as a requirement, and providing for the issuing of green cards and employer penalties for hiring illegal immigrants. Meanwhile, the number of illegals entering our country grew and continues to grow.
In 2005, senators John McCain and Ted Kennedy tried to revive a discussion on comprehensive reform, guest worker programs and enhanced boarder security. Needless to say, politics raised its head and nothing was done.
In 2006, the Secure Fence Act was passed by both houses of Congress to construct a fence, in addition to barriers, checkpoints and lighting, over hundreds of miles on the Mexican border. Forty-three percent of Democrats voted for passage, including senators Obama, Schumer and Feinstein, and Representative Pelosi. Congress set aside $1.4 billion for the fence and estimated $50 million for maintenance over 25 years. By May 2011, Homeland Security reported completion of 649 miles.
Proposals have been presented, but nothing has been passed. The president even offered to give 1.8 million DACA recipients legal status if Congress would approve funding early in his term. Nothing was accomplished.
Now, Congress and the President are arguing about $5 billion (which represents .002 percent of the budget) to build a fence/wall. Neither side wants to compromise for whatever reasons.
The fence is immoral, some say. Therefore, does that mean that we should have open borders and let anyone in? It seems to me that there are many areas for negotiation with regard to the type of wall, equipment and a means of obtaining legalization for DACA.
I don’t think anyone wants more criminals entering our country illegally and killing people. Ask the wife of the young police officer killed or the parents of the two dead immigrant children who would have preferred to enter legally. We should increase the number of legal immigrants to our county who enter via the borders, increase guest worker permits, allow working permits for illegals, provide legal status for DACA, and set up a process for overextended visas.
My heart goes out to the illegals who live in fear before and after entering our country. Please ask your elected officials to do the right thing for all.
Sherry Morrison lives in Santa Fe
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