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Letter: Do Not Grant Amnesty

(The following letter is written in response to the column “From Long Island Wins,” which ran in the Feb. 17 issue of the Mineola American on page 15.)

Most Americans share good feelings about immigrants and are proud of their own immigrant ancestry. However, most Americans also have concerns about mass immigration, which has doubled U.S. population growth and radically changed the future we will bequeath to future generations.

I hope that Congress will pass legislation that is anti-mass immigration and does not grant amnesty. 
Like most Americans, immigrants are a part of my daily life. They are my friends, neighbors and family. I do not want to do anything that would hurt them or encourage hostility toward them. I believe our country is capable of having a rational debate on immigration without blaming immigrants. If I am angry, I am angry at Congress and its policies, not at immigrants.

Immigration numbers have skyrocketed since 1965. That is and should be the central issue in our immigration debate. Each side should defend its positions based on how they will affect the overall numbers.

Congress has supported higher and higher levels of immigration. Congress has forced Americans to live in a more populated country with less freedom when it comes to freedom of movement and access to open spaces and good paying jobs. Mass immigration has been responsible for more than three-quarters of U.S. population growth. Mass immigration benefits the few and harms the many. Analysis based on current estimates of the illegal alien population residing in New York indicates that population is costing the state’s taxpayers more than $5.1 billion per year for education, medical care and incarceration. That annual tax burden amounts to about $874 per New York household headed by a native-born resident. Even if the estimated $730 million in sales, income and property taxes collected from illegal immigrants are subtracted from the fiscal outlays, net costs still amount to more than $4.5 billion per year. A true reform bill will take steps to discourage this drain on our financial resources.

I would suggest these changes for immigration reform to refocus on core values for our immigration system:

• Provide penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens, including suspension of business licenses;

• Bar the state from issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens;

• Impose criminal penalties for those convicted of assisting illegal aliens in obtaining driver’s licenses and identity fraud;

• Prohibit the creation of sanctuary cities by stripping state funding and grants from any municipality that attempts to enact sanctuary policies;

• Require public employers, including state contractors, to verify the work authorization of all employees through E-Verify;

• Allow the state to cancel contracts with contractors that hire illegal aliens;

• Require government agencies to verify the legal status of applicants before providing public benefits;

• Require law enforcement to verify the legal immigration status of every individual presented for incarceration and to release to the Department of Homeland Security all individuals who are determined to be in the U.S. unlawfully;

• Require that hospitals submit “certified documentation of the parents’ United States legal status” to local registrars with birth certificates for newborns;

• Enact tougher penalties for overstaying visas;

Congress has passed several amnesties since 1986 and illegal immigration increased after each one. Today, there are an estimated 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens living and working in the United States. The amnesty solution has failed.

I hope those of you who want this kind of outcome for immigration reform will get your voice heard by Senator Charles Schumer. Tell him to support smart immigration policies that reduce the overall numbers by enacting legislation to reduce overall immigration numbers to a manageable level that will allow us to stabilize our population growth as well as secure our borders.

Chris Wales