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Confrontation in Carlsbad
Illegal immigration out of control…

[J. F. Kelly, Jr.] 8/16/05

Almost any discussion of immigration elicits deeply felt emotions. Still, most Americans seem to feel that immigrants will continue to play an important role in our country’s growth and that America should continue to be a beacon to the disadvantaged and oppressed peoples of the world seeking a better life. That there are many more of these than the United States can possibly accommodate does not seem to deter most Americans in favoring a liberal immigration policy. Ours certainly fits that description.

J.F. Kelly, Jr.

J.F. Kelly, Jr. is a retired Navy Captain and bank executive who writes on current events and military subjects. He is a resident of Coronado, California. [go to Kelly index]

For one thing, young, working immigrants replenish our aging workforce and provide additional payroll taxes to help keep social security solvent. We also are increasingly in need of foreign-born scientists and engineers to sustain our leadership in these areas.

We are speaking, of course about legal immigration. Our immigration policy needs urgent reform to ensure, not only that it remains fair and free of racial, ethnic and religious bias, but that it serves our national need for well-educated and skilled people whose net contribution to the economy will exceed their demands on it. But no meaningful reform is worthwhile without first addressing the illegal immigration crisis.

Under Presidents Clinton and Bush, illegal immigration, especially from Mexico and Central America, has surged to the point that there are now over 20 million illegal aliens in the United States. They are, undoubtedly, mostly good, hardworking men and women with strong religious values who are seeking a better life for their families. Who can blame them, given the lack of economic opportunities and social services in their native countries? Many of us, in their position, would do the same.

These good people, however, are not, for the most part, the educated, skilled technicians and professionals that a self-serving national immigration policy would favor. They are largely unskilled farm, domestic and food service workers who join the growing unskilled, entry-level workforce already here, further depressing their wages and adding to an economic underclass. Many, if not most, will not contribute payroll taxes to ease the strain on social security. Their numbers include pregnant women and children who may not work at all but will contribute to current overloading of schools, emergency medical facilities and welfare services. They also include, unfortunately, drug smugglers, dealers, gang members and probably terrorists. With respect to the latter, we have little way of knowing how many because our borders are simply out of control.

And our borders are dangerous. Some Mexican cities along our southern border are hotbeds of violence, lawlessness and corruption, prompting our State Department on several occasions to issue warnings to tourists. The violence, mostly drug related, has spread across the border, posing a danger to our own citizens. Blame it on the American demand for drugs, if you wish; it is no less of a danger and a threat to Americans.

Impatient with the repeated failure of the federal government to act effectively, citizens are seeking other solutions including proposals for state border control agencies, the use of state National Guard forces and the creation of volunteer groups to act as eyes and ears for the overwhelmed and undermanned Border Patrol. Predictably, the volunteer groups have been demonized and called vigilantes by apologists for illegal immigration.

In Carlsbad, Calif., recently, State Sen. Bill Morrow (R, Oceanside) organized a forum to discuss border security. Featured speakers included U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R, Colo.) and former U.S. Attorney for the San Diego region, Peter Nunez. They discussed the effects of illegal immigration on health care, the economy, security, crime, education and the environment. Morrow had sued Carlsbad Unified Schools Superintendent John Roach to get him to honor a commitment to use facilities on the Carlsbad High School campus for the forum, which drew a standing room crowd. Roach was reportedly concerned about the possibility of physical violence.

His concern almost materialized. Well over 100 protestors jeered and shouted slogans. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune coverage of the event, they included Muslims protesting comments that Tancredo previously had made speculating on the possibility that America could target Muslim holy places in response to an Islamic terrorist attack. A Union-Tribune photo shows a man in Arab headdress holding a sign reading, “Stop the Minutemen. Keep the Borders Open”.

To say that this confrontation was ugly is to put it mildly. About 150 police, many in riot gear, from multiple jurisdictions kept the factions separated and escorted the panelists and their supporters to their cars after the forum to avoid more confrontation.

At issue here is nothing less than the right of a sovereign nation to control its own borders and to regulate who may enter. Protestors argue that anything short of open borders is racist and that there is no such thing as an illegal human being. How did things come to this state of affairs? For blame look no further than the Bush administration and the Congress, whose failure to deal effectively with illegal immigration has allowed it to spiral out of control. tOR

copyright 2005 J. F. Kelly, Jr.



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