Handle immigration properly

Gabino Sanchez, 27, from Ridgeland, S.C., faces deportation as an illegal resident after being arrested on a traffic violation. This story with front-page implications was on Page 5B of the Metro section Dec. 1 (“Legislator protests man’s deportation”). The future of our country will be affected by how these issues are resolved.

I have complete empathy for Sanchez. If I was young and poor, I would want to come to the land of milk and honey to make my life. Being in the United States for 13 years without incident is commendable. He probably is an ideal citizen that anyone would love to have as a neighbor: hard-working, tidy, taking care of his family’s needs, nondisruptive and so forth.

And if you think about it, most illegals, unless you catch them at the moment they cross the border, become hard-working laborers who have to hide below the radar to escape deportation.

Now add the fact that Sanchez has a wife and two children who are U.S. citizens. Can we really send him back to Mexico? Can we really send anyone else in a similar situation back to where they came from? My suggestion is to fine them, charge them a residency fee and exempt them from taxpayer benefits (food stamps, housing assistance, etc.).

If they want to stay in the United States, they would also have to pay estimated back taxes. For illegals who came forward on their own, the penalties should be less than if they got caught.

We have enough people who disparage our country that I would welcome with open arms – anyone who wants to live in our great country. The one concern is that our country has limited funds to help the needy, and newcomers should not place additional burdens on our capacity to remain a solvent nation.

This in no way suggests that our Border Patrol should be weakened. We must have complete control of access to our country. The use of returning military to aid in this endeavor could be a helpful solution.

We should stop illegal immigration at the source, and do it better than we have been doing, but be more understanding and flexible in our dealings with those who have already established themselves in our country. One day, they may be in the majority – and in charge!

Steve Saffron

Aiken, S.C.

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