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Illegal immigration problems demand U.S. take action now

Illegal immigrants have become a problem because they are so numerous. Immigrants have been tempted to come here by the prospects of a better life. So many have achieved success that literally hordes of others want to come in. Given our freedoms and prosperous economy it is inevitable that maybe a billion people in the world would like to come here.

The proposed comprehensive bill in Congress to 'solve' the problems is not a winner yet. As I see it, the principal reason is lack of trust. How can you trust a government that has not fulfilled its past promises? The 1986 Amnesty promised that after the existing illegal immigrants were absorbed there would be enforcement of the immigration laws. It never happened. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush simply ignored their constitutional duties.

Even now Mr. Bush is more interested in promoting something called the North American Union with Canada and Mexico. To implement it there is a NAFTA superhighway being developed that will pass through our midsection and link us all together with a multi-lane turnpike through Texas all the way through North Dakota to Canada. Rudy Guiliani's law firm is known to be doing legal work to facilitate development. Whose interests will be served?

The federal government has not equipped itself to enforce the immigration laws. It has not even provided the data bases and access to them that would permit employers to check the legal status of prospective employees. It has not worked with local law enforcement agencies to give access to its data. It has not provided training in immigration law so that local law enforcement can be useful. It can not keep track of legal visitors who over-stay their visas.

Local communities that are overwhelmed with problem immigrants are attempting to fight back by passing ordinances forbidding renting to illegal immigrants or hiring them.

The proposed bill will not work, because it doesn't provide for immediate closure of the border. A number of months will go by before barriers can be built and 18,000 more patrol agents can be put in place. In that time millions more immigrants can flood in.

The best alternative is to put all available resources on the border to quench the flood. You have to stop the spread of a fire before you can put it out.

There is a crying need for English-only laws. Why must we cater to immigrants with ballots printed in their languages? Why must hospitals furnish interpreters to patients? The Senate has twice considered an English-only measure. It's a loser with Democrats, because they fear reaction from Latinos.

Another measure that would go far toward leveling the playing field is to modify the 14th Amendment with regard to Anchor Babies. It isn't reasonable that a woman can cross the border illegally, give birth in the next five minutes, and we accept the baby as a US citizen. Newborns should have the same status as their parents. Such a modification would answer the lament that forcing illegals to 'touch back' for legal entry will split families. Who split those families in the first place?

Business folks claim that the economy cannot function without cheap guest workers. In the 19th century the Confederate states plead that an end to slavery would cause their economy to collapse. Mr. Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to test the idea. Last time I looked our Southern states were still there and prosperous.

The bill as-is should not fly.

George E. Edens is a resident of Lake Oswego.