Immigration laws haven't kept up

  • Follow Letters

It is disappointing to see the immigration discourse distorted even further by Tuesday's editorial, "Distorting the immigration debate" (July 5), which presents the false dichotomy that each side of the discussion fits into either "pro-enforcement" or "anti-enforcement" categories.

If there's one thing both sides can agree on, it's that America is a nation of laws. It's worth remembering, however, that through our representative democracy, we write those laws. When our laws become outdated, we change them.

A century ago, the maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 miles per hour. Today, traffic laws have been updated to meet the demands and realities of a 21st century America. Unfortunately, our immigration laws have not.

Historically, when the United States has offered adequate legal paths for immigrants to come to the America, illegal immigration has reduced to a trickle. From 1942 to 1964, the United States implemented a guest worker system called the Bracero program. During the first 12 years of the program, the quotas were too low and illegal immigration continued to be a problem.

After quotas were raised to realistic levels in 1953, illegal border crossings dropped 95 percent. Although Bracero was not without its faults, it did demonstrate an important lesson we should heed today: When immigrants are given the option, they come legally.

Sometime between then and now, policymakers rewrote Emma Lazarus' famous poem to read "Give me two-thirds of your tired, 1 percent of your poor, and 15 percent of your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free." After immigration quotas were lowered in 1964, illegal immigration increased dramatically.

Yes, upholding the rule of law is essential to our identity and integrity as a nation. The best way to enforce the rule of law is to pass enforceable laws. We need a legal system that works and quotas that reflect our economic needs. Once we achieve that, illegal immigration will become a non-issue.

Ric Stewart

Statesboro

Comments (12) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 07/11/11 - 09:50 pm
0
0
We need the Mexican workeer

We need the Mexican workeer in the construction business. You can not find enough white or black people that will do the work. Don't believe me then try to hire some.

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 07/12/11 - 06:34 am
0
0
AMNESTY!AMNESTY for all

AMNESTY!AMNESTY for all criminals! The undocumented workers have a god-given right to U.S. citizenship. They have the right to our free education,our free housing,and our free health care. These are all god-given rights to all law-breakers. AMNESTY!

Granddaddy John
101
Points
Granddaddy John 07/12/11 - 08:16 am
0
0
Our immigration and gun laws
Unpublished

Our immigration and gun laws are sound,we just need to enforce what we already have,thats part of the problem in this country today,people always wanting to change the laws to suit there way of thinking.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 07/12/11 - 09:05 am
0
0
So Mr. Stewart, by your

So Mr. Stewart, by your thinking, if we have an increase in crime in a certain segement, we should change the law to make it no longer a crime.

For instance, if murders become commonplace in Statesboro, I guess the law should be changed there to make it legal to murder someone - after all - many are already doing it. Right?

Our LAW says that you must enter our nation legally. Anyone who doesn't follow that law is a criminal. Why should we change our immigration laws just because millions of criminals don't follow it?!!!

The bigger issue is --- why isn't our govt doing anything about it.

I'll tell you why. Because progressives have been running our govt for decades. Progressives want open borders. And, the poor usually vote for progressives so they want these poor illegal immigrants here - because they know it will be difficult to get them out.

Funny thing is --- they have underestimated the American public's will. That plus the failing economy will force the deportation of these criminals. Count on it.

Ric Stewart
0
Points
Ric Stewart 07/12/11 - 09:14 am
0
0
Yes, our immigration laws do

Yes, our immigration laws do need updating. In 1960, about half of all American men dropped out of high school to do low-skilled labor. Today, only 10% do. It’s great that high school drop-out rates are down, but we still need low-skilled workers to fill jobs in our economy. By most estimates, Georgia farmers are losing $1 billion in crops this year because they can’t find workers to harvest them. Across the nation, businesses are downsizing and closing because they can’t find legal workers to fill high-skilled and low-skilled positions – even during a recession. When those jobs go unfilled and businesses downsize or close, American workers lose their jobs.
When American business owners are forced to choose between obeying the law and staying in business, something is wrong. Our nation’s laws should facilitate job growth in the free market, not hinder it.
Our economy demands about 1.5 million immigrants in an average year, but we only issue about 1 million visas. Of the visas we do issue, only about 15% of them are for employment purposes. Depending on visa category, the gap between supply and demand is even wider. For example, the market demands about 500,000 year-round low-skilled foreign workers annually, but we only issue about 5,000 – 10,000 visas for those workers each year. Can you imagine if American automakers had to import the steel they needed to manufacture cars, but the government’s steel import quotas were only 1-2% of what they needed to meet the demands of the market? Obviously that wouldn’t be a good economic policy if we did it with steel; why are we doing it with workers?
Immigration policy is economic policy. During these tough economic times, we need to rethink the way we do immigration. We know that immigrants – both low-skilled and high-skilled ones – create more jobs in our economy than they fill. We need to harness the economic power of immigration and create an immigration system that facilitates job growth in the United States.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 07/12/11 - 11:05 am
0
0
20% of American citizens

20% of American citizens accept welfare of some sort. In other words, 1 in 5 Americans can work but don't work! Another 10% are on unemployment! That means that 30% of LEGAL residents are not employed.

Don't you think they could do those low stilled labor jobs instead of mooching off the rest of us or letting the illegal immigrants do them? What a great way to end welfare! Deport the criminals and force the welfare folks to get back to work.

Plus, we all know that high school diplomas are being totally given away these days. It hardly means anything anymore. Many HS graduates will only be qualified for low end manual labor. They simply didn't learn a darn thing in school.

I have a problem with the fact that these illegals are giving us the middle finger as they cross the border, birth a few anchor babies & mooch off our our taxpayer funded education, medical & welfare systems.

I don't think we should change our laws to appease them. That is ridiculous.

Ric Stewart
0
Points
Ric Stewart 07/12/11 - 12:43 pm
0
0
Chillen, Stay on topic

Chillen,
Stay on topic please. I never said anything about appeasing people who are here illegally or using undocumented labor. I'm talking about giving future immigrants a reasonable opportunity to come to the United States legally in the first place. I never said anything about legalizing anyone already here. You're confusing legal and illegal immigration. I want a legal immigration system that works. I agree with you that we need to eliminate welfare, but that's a side issue. I believe in the free market. We need market-based immigration reform.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 07/12/11 - 01:38 pm
0
0
I am 100% on topic Ric. I

I am 100% on topic Ric. I have addressed your low skilled labor issue. 30% of non-working Americans can fill those jobs. You have not addressed that issue yet.

I'm also saying that the system we have in place right now works - if it is enforced. There is nothing wrong with the laws we currently have.

So what is your solution to all the illegals here now? Deport all of them and then bring them back with new, lax laws?

A little research shows that you are very active with hispanic "rights" issues so your position of wanting an influx of hispanic immigration comes as no surprise.

http://www.lavozlatinaonline.net/news_latest.aspx?Month=May-2011&la=en&pg=2

http://es-es.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150142632662293

http://savannahnow.com/opinion/2011-02-25/letters-editor-friday

http://www.lavozlatinaonline.net/noticias-Inmigraci%C3%B3n-y-el---Estado...

I also see that you are still a student. When you join the real working world and actually pay taxes then things will be a bit clearer for you. I applaud your enthusiasm but until you pay taxes (and lots of them), you don't really understand.

Practical Person
27
Points
Practical Person 07/12/11 - 01:39 pm
0
0
When the US was primarily an

When the US was primarily an agricultural based economy, farm workers were plentiful. That is NOT the case today. Neither unemployed computer programmers, car makers etc nor most of the unemployed on parole or probation have the skills or desire to plant and hand harvest crops. Yet many from South of the US border DO - AND are willing to do the backbreaking labor while sweating in the blazing Georgia sun. However, there are other jobs hardworking immigrants also perform. We need them for multiple reasons including to set the standard for "hard work," lest "we" become too complacent, self righteous and arrogant. Apparently many here see that as a threat.

Federal immigration violations are generally civil violations, not criminal. Our economy, including housing needs were built with the presence (utilization) of the very immigrants we are now working to alienate. HB87 is a huge mistake. These spiteful actions will bite us in the "end."

Using immigrants to create profit for the private prison industry is NOT wise, either from a taxpayer perspective or "reasonable" human viewpoint.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 07/12/11 - 01:47 pm
0
0
practical person. You said a

practical person. You said a mouthful there. The unemployed do not have the DESIRE to do those jobs.

Of course not! They are paid to not work. Either through welfare or unemployment "benefits".

If those were ended, folks would scramble for those jobs, for ANY job! They might not like the job at hand but it would put food on the table.

If I or my family was starving, I'd do anything (that is legal). Our nanny state keeps it so they don't have to work. So, the illegals come in and take the jobs that they should be doing.

End welfare. End career unemployment. Deport the illegal immigrants. Keep our existing immigration laws on the books & enforce them. The jobs will be filled. It's a 100% certainty.

Ric Stewart
0
Points
Ric Stewart 07/12/11 - 02:12 pm
0
0
Chillen, As I've already

Chillen,
As I've already said, I agree that welfare should be eliminated. That would encourage unemployed natives to fill jobs that are currently unfilled. But once some of those jobs are filled, it doesn't change the fact that immigrants still create more jobs in our economy than they fill. When that happens, there are more job opportunities for natives.

I'm glad you brought up taxes. Most legal immigrants are net contributors to public budgets. I see no problem with increasing the number of tax-paying legal immigrants. It would broaden the tax base. Immigration aside, I support moving toward a consumption-based tax system anyway.

As a side note, I would not categorize myself as a supporter of "Hispanic rights." Folks on both sides of the debate have done a huge disservice to our public discussion on immigration by making it a race issue. I don't believe in "Hispanic rights," or the rights of any other race or ethnicity for that matter. I believe in individual liberty.

Practical Person
27
Points
Practical Person 07/12/11 - 03:16 pm
0
0
@Chillen Unemployment is

@Chillen Unemployment is actually "unemployment insurance" which is very different from welfare. There is no "career unemployment." It's time limited and you have to have worked to be eligible.

Farm jobs tend to be far from urban centers where most of the unemployed live and are usually temporary during planting and harvest seasons, though some involve irrigation in between. Most welfare goes to those who are physically or mentally unable to work. Those programs are necessary, lest we return to to more costly and less humane programs that involve institutionalizing people. But remember a large part of welfare goes for the care of those in nursing homes. That is normally not covered under Medicare. What would you do with the 72 year old stroke victim who is confined to a wheelchair and can't speak?

I do NOT support welfare that gives those who are able in mind and bodied a free ride. Nor do I like supporting "career criminals" who sit in prisons for years with nothing to do. Once upon a time there were prison farms, where they worked in order to eat. (I do NOT support "renting" them to farmers.)

Practical Person
27
Points
Practical Person 07/12/11 - 03:46 pm
0
0
Those who have dealt with the

Those who have dealt with the real immigration system are well aware it is broken. It's some of the most complex and tangled law we have. The rhetoric spread by those in the "blame the immigrant" movement is extremely troubling. I'm never sure if they actually believe the simplistic "solutions" it or if they enjoy duping those unfamiliar with immigration law and procedure.

It's nearly impossible - for someone who was brought here as a child and had the misfortune to "grow up" to "get legal." We are punishing them for "growing older" when they played no part in the decision to come here. It's a waste of our resources, on multiple levels, when we push to deport them for "only made for immigrant crimes." (Not allowing them to get driver's licenses etc.) If they graduate high school, there should be a path to legalization. Something like the DREAM Act.

Undocumented people do pay taxes and often contribute to Social Security, but can never collect those benefits/$. They are actually FUNDING our benefits, which, I suspect is, one reason federal lawmakers don't want to WORK at reform. Or is it that LAWMAKERS do not want to WORK and correct the convoluted laws?

Each time a state enacts it's own "immigration law" it further complicates matters (and costs taxpayers.) Streamlining the federal law is desperately needed, even if it's addressed bit by bit.

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 07/13/11 - 08:15 am
0
0
AMNESTY today and open

AMNESTY today and open borders today! The democrats need the 24+ million "new citizens" votes!

Back to Top

Top headlines

Georgia Regents' hospital plan chosen

Georgia Regents Medical Center won a lengthy and hardfought battle over two other Augusta hospitals to build the first hospital in Columbia County, the Georgia Department of Community Health ...
Search Augusta jobs