Jewish World Review Dec. 29, 2003 / 4 Teves, 5764

Lou Dobbs

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Immigration needs stricter, not looser, controls | President Bush in his year-end news conference called for an "immigration policy that helps match any willing employer with any willing employee." We already know there are plenty employers in this country willing to break the law and hire illegal aliens. And there are 8 million to 12 million illegal aliens already living in this country, so we know there are plenty of willing employees.

I'm sure the White House staff will clean up the language a bit in the coming months. But for all the world, the president sounds like his idea of an immigration policy is a national job-fair for those businesses and farms that don't want to pay a living wage and for those foreigners who correctly think U.S. border security is a joke and who are willing to break our laws to live in this country.

President Bush's plan, which would permit immigrants to legally cross the border if they have a job waiting, would be the most aggressive immigration reform since the controversial bill signed by President Reagan in 1986 granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. The 1986 amnesty was widely criticized for rewarding illegal behavior and virtually ignoring those who had been waiting for legal entry into the United States.

And now there are those in Congress who want to simply make illegal aliens legal. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is sponsoring "The Border Security and Immigration Improvement Act," which would make it easier for foreign workers seeking U.S. employment opportunities and simplify the permanent residency application process.

Similar legislation, "The Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits and Security Act of 2003," is sponsored by Sen. Larry E. Craig, R-Idaho, and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and would allow undocumented farmworkers and their families to qualify for permanent residency after a specific tenure of work.

Donate to JWR

And Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has introduced legislation called "The Dream Act" that would allow states the ability to grant in-state tuition to children of illegal aliens. Meanwhile, out-of-state legal parents of legal residents would get no such break.

Each of these politicians is doing nothing more than pandering to the business and agricultural lobbies, and none of these legislative initiatives addresses the economic and social impact of their passage. Powerful lobbying groups have a lot to gain from illegal immigration, while the burden of the real costs of illegal immigration fall on the rest of us who pay our taxes.

Over the past 10 years, more than 2 million low-skill American workers have been displaced from their jobs. And each 10 percent increase in immigrant workers decreases American wages by 3.5 percent.

Steve Camarota, of the Center for Immigration, says our lawmakers don't understand what unchecked illegal immigration is doing to our workforce: "To them it looks like immigrants are doing jobs nobody wants. But what they really mean is that they are doing jobs that they as middle- and upper-class people don't want."

The average working American knows what our political leadership is ignoring. Illegal immigration carries a steep cost to society. States spend more than $7 billion each year on K-12 education for illegal aliens and hundreds of millions more in treating illegal aliens in our hospitals in border states.

More than three-quarters of Americans say we need stricter controls on immigration in this country. However, a Chicago Council on Foreign Relations survey found that only 14 percent of our political leaders agreed that current immigration levels represent a critical threat. I can think of no issue on which there is greater disconnect between our political leaders and the American middle class than on the issue of illegal immigration.

Congress and the president must create a national immigration policy that is far more than a job fair for illegal aliens and gift of citizenship to those who break our laws. We desperately need a national immigration policy that is effective in securing our borders and is rational both economically and socially.

The only way we can meet those goals is for our politicians to rise above pandering to lobbyists, special interests and voting groups and to talk honestly about the issues that now confront us. Don't hold your breath.

Every weekday publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Lou Dobbs is the anchor and managing editor of CNN's "Lou Dobbs Moneyline." Comment by clicking here.

12/11/03: Trade deficit with China a big problem
12/09/03: Let our children be children
12/01/03: Broken borders pose a serious health risk
11/25/03: Free trade costs plenty
11/18/03: European Union is playing a dangerous game
11/10/03: This time, it's not the economy
11/04/03: Overseas outsourcing is an alarming trend
10/28/03: Spending so much time 'making a living', we don't live
10/21/03: As population soars, U.S. faces tough choices
10/14/03: Schools need to re-emphasize math and science
10/07/03: It's lonely at the top
09/30/03: Is America over-medicating?
09/23/03: Corporate execs need to stop selling out U.S. workers
09/16/03: The scandals just keep on coming
09/09/03: Let's get real on energy
09/02/03: Is free enterprise the answer to education woes?
08/26/03: Building the road to recovery
08/12/03: War on drugs is still a war worth fighting
08/06/03: An attack on progressive thought
07/29/03: Prosperity begins at home
07/22/03: Real earnings, or really creative earnings?
07/15/03: Flirting with disaster
07/08/03: It's good to be the king
07/01/03: Border disorder
06/24/03: Prairie dogs and mosquito bogs
06/17/03: Bullish on America
06/10/03: Retirement realities: we need new solutions — soon
06/03/03: Curing what ails us
05/27/03: America's export problem
05/21/03: Wall Street's new imperative: Integrity
/13/03: Losing sight of the dangers in creating further fiscal stimulus
05/06/03: Optimism is unfashionable, but here's some anyway
04/29/03: Nuclear nightmare
04/22/03: Naysayers ignore signs of economic recovery
04/15/03: Game over--but for whom?
04/08/03: No more fool's games
03/31/03: United States must seriously review foreign economic and political relationships
03/24/03: Delusional Chirac may be a thorn in coalition's side, but new alliances are forming in response to 21st-Century threats without him and UN
03/18/03: Bush critics offer little more than hyperbole
03/11/03: Geopolitical visibility
03/04/03: Freedom: Our best export
02/27/03: Guns, butter and greasing the way
02/18/03: Looking for a silver lining
02/10/03: Space program remains a valuable investment
02/04/03: Hi pal, come back
01/28/03: Bush address a chance to bolster confidence
01/22/03: Here we go again!
01/14/03: Bush's bold bid
01/07/03: The only thing certain is uncertainty
12/30/02: No need to be so negative as new year approaches
12/23/02: NY's AG deserves credit for settlement
12/18/02: Critics of Bush nominees should tone down rhetoric
12/09/02: A lot rides on prez's Treasury pick
12/04/02: A fast fix for corporate credibility?
11/26/02: Urge to merge is hard to resist
11/19/02: Are we really so bad off?
11/12/02: Bush's lucky week bodes well for recovery
11/05/02: Wall Street firms treat investors as fools
10/29/02: Earnings estimates offer some hope
10/22/02: Economy's strength tied to national security
10/17/02: Harvey Pitt, get real!
10/08/02:Are we experiencing the fall before the rise?
10/01/02: Concerns about earnings are justified
09/24/02: Business leaders must abandon stall tactics
09/17/02: Wall Street's reality check
09/12/02: There's no better time for leaders to show resolve


© 2003, TMS