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This is immigration reform?

Marty Lich

George W. Bush is being hailed as the man bringing much-needed immigration reform to the public’s attention.

Indeed, the last president to propose any major immigration reform was President Ronald Reagan in 1986.

So once again, Americans now find themselves embroiled in the amnesty-no amnesty great debate.

It is certainly a hot bed for discussion among citizens, legal residents and the 40 percent to 60 percent illegal immigrant employees living here in the Eagle Valley. There are numerous issues that must be addressed regarding any guest worker amnesty programs because it will directly affect the law-abiding citizens of the Eagle Valley.

The president stated that the people who will be considered for the three-year amnesty guest worker plan must show proof of employment.

Please, Mr. President, define what you are talking about in terms of proof of jobs.

Is it submitted and verifiable W2s completed by legitimate employers? Or is it considered proof enough if illegal aliens show a hand-written note stating they are someone’s gardener or housekeeper?

Eagle County residents have a right to know. In fact, we need to know. So what are the exact job definition requirements in order to qualify as “gainfully employed” in the United States of America, Mr. President?

Once we have clarified the requirements on proof of lawful employment, what is the fate for the illegal aliens who are not qualified to remain here but did apply for the three-year guest worker program? Are they deported? If so, exactly how Mr. President are you planning to go about doing that?

Setting aside the known 8 million to 11 million illegal aliens living in the United States who should have already been deported, we have 2.3 million illegal aliens who have overstayed their visas, just as the 9-11 terrorists did.

Still they continue living in the United States un-deported. Of that 2.3 million group of visa over-stayers, approximately 2 percent will be deported, but only if they are part of the targeted group. This information comes from Dr. Nancy Kingsbury of the United States Government Accounting Office in her testimony during a House Of Representatives Congressional Hearing Oct. 16, 2003.

American citizens have little confidence in our government’s ability to actually enforce deportations for valid reasons, Mr. President.

The next item to address in this immigration proposal is the companies and their obligations to potential American employees.

As a resort area, we have numerous companies that fill their work force with both legal and illegal employees. Under the new program, they will be required to fill the jobs with legal citizens and residents prior to filling them with the proposed guest workers.

What are the guidelines for this portion of the immigration reform proposal? Advertisements? Word of mouth? Who determines that the companies are in fact doing this and who will enforce the law if the company does not comply?

Our government does not have a great track record on enforcement of laws with regard to the employment of illegal aliens. Wal-Mart is a good example. This year was their third confirmed case of employing illegal aliens strictly for profit.

So again, Mr. President, who will write this policy and who will police this policy? Will it be our Eagle County government, the state of Colorado or the federal government? What are the penalties for lack of compliance?

There remains another crucial area brought up by President Bush. His goal is to make this a “family reunification” program.

What about the hypothetical guest worker who brings his wife and four children to join him here during his guest worker status? What are the financial and demographic considerations to Eagle County residents? Who is going to be responsible for this now legitimized “reunified” family of six and their resulting impacts on our area?

Who will be responsible for housing if we do not have enough housing available? Ditto for new schools, roads and water needs? Eagle County taxpayers? Perhaps the state of Colorado? Colorado is home to 144,000 illegal immigrants, according to the 2000 Census Bureau assessment. Current cost to Colorado taxpayers: $140,636,571 a year in financial aid for resident illegal aliens’ social services. Not exactly chump change.

Are the companies that hire the guest workers going to be held responsible? If the guest workers cannot pay their bills, such as hospitalization, who will carry that financial burden? Now, U.S. taxpayers shoulder the load.

Following the three-year temporary guest worker agreement, we will begin accepting the applicants waiting next in line for U.S. entry and jobs. Who is going to enforce the law regarding to these original three-year guest workers who are now to leave our country? Will this new program of temporary three-year guest workers also be part of the targeted deportable group, per Dr. Kingsbur,y following the end of their guest worker program here?

We are a dismal failure at enforcing our immigration law and deporting illegal overstays here. In the United States there are 400,000 known illegal alien criminals who have been ordered deported, yet they remain unlocated and undeported.

This immigration reform is putting the cart before the horse. There are simply too many unanswered questions with this proposal regarding homeland security and major financial implications for the American public. I believe the taxpayers should be told of our financial impacts prior to any immigration agreement with President Fox.

Considerations for aiding other countries’ families must be second in line with our government, not first.

I respectfully submit that our government owes allegiance first and foremost to the people living legitimately in America. Without that, the trickle-down effect may well turn into a tidal wave that will engulf small communities such as ours.

Marty Lich is the Gypsum Precinct chairperson for the Eagle County Republican Party and a retired California public deputy. She has been active in immigration issues for over 10 years and writes for a number of publications nationally.

inue living in the United States un-deported. Of that 2.3 million group of visa over-stayers, approximately 2 percent will be deported, but only if they are part of the targeted group. This information comes from Dr. Nancy Kingsbury of the United States Government Accounting Office in her testimony during a House Of Representatives Congressional Hearing Oct. 16, 2003.

American citizens have little confidence in our government’s ability to actually enforce deportations for valid reasons, Mr. President.

The next item to address in this immigration proposal is the companies and their obligations to potential American employees.

As a resort area, we have numerous companies that fill their work force with both legal and illegal employees. Under the new program, they will be required to fill the jobs with legal citizens and residents prior to filling them with the proposed guest workers.

What are the guidelines for this portion of the immigration reform proposal? Advertisements? Word of mouth? Who determines that the companies are in fact doing this and who will enforce the law if the company does not comply?

Our government does not have a great track record on enforcement of laws with regard to the employment of illegal aliens. Wal-Mart is a good example. This year was their third confirmed case of employing illegal aliens strictly for profit.

So again, Mr. President, who will write this policy and who will police this policy? Will it be our Eagle County government, the state of Colorado or the federal government? What are the penalties for lack of compliance?

There remains another crucial area brought up by President Bush. His goal is to make this a “family reunification” program.

What about the hypothetical guest worker who brings his wife and four children to join him here during his guest worker status? What are the financial and demographic considerations to Eagle County residents? Who is going to be responsible for this now legitimized “reunified” family of six and their resulting impacts on our area? Who will be responsible for housing if we do not have enough housing available? Ditto for new schools, roads and water needs? Eagle County taxpayers? Perhaps the state of Colorado? Colorado is home to 144,000 illegal immigrants, according to the 2000 Census Bureau assessment. Current cost to Colorado taxpayers: $140,636,571 a year in financial aid for resident illegal aliens’ social services. Not exactly chump change.

Are the companies that hire the guest workers going to be held responsible? If the guest workers cannot pay their bills, such as hospitalization, who will carry that financial burden? Now, U.S. taxpayers shoulder the load.

Following the three-year temporary guest worker agreement, we will begin accepting the applicants waiting next in line for U.S. entry and jobs. Who is going to enforce the law regarding to these original three-year guest workers who are now to leave our country? Will this new program of temporary three-year guest workers also be part of the targeted deportable group, per Dr. Kingsbur,y following the end of their guest worker program here?

We are a dismal failure at enforcing our immigration law and deporting illegal overstays here. In the United States there are 400,000 known illegal alien criminals who have been ordered deported, yet they remain unlocated and undeported.

This immigration reform is putting the cart before the horse. There are simply too many unanswered questions with this proposal regarding homeland security and major financial implications for the American public. I believe the taxpayers should be told of our financial impacts prior to any immigration agreement with President Fox.

Considerations for aiding other countries’ families must be second in line with our government, not first.

I respectfully submit that our government owes allegiance first and foremost to the people living legitimately in America. Without that, the trickle-down effect may well turn into a tidal wave that will engulf small communities such as ours.

Marty Lich is the Gypsum Precinct chairperson for the Eagle County Republican Party and a retired California public deputy. She has been active in immigration issues for over 10 years and writes for a number of publications nationally.


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