Wednesday, April 2, 2008

David Leavitt's Stance on Illegal Immigration

I have two major problems with David Leavitt. His people called me several weeks in a row, as if they were approaching me for the first time, and asked me the same questions over and over. Shows a startling lack of efficiency and carelessness with budget. Then I found he was Mike Leavitt's brother. Yes, that's a problem for me too.

Putting those things aside, I have fairly considered the candidates and would like you to do the same:
Securing Our Borders: It is time to enforce current security measures which allow only persons with proper documentation into the United States. We welcome the tired, the poor, and the yearning masses who want to speak English, contribute to the economy, foster patriotism, and become citizens and who cross the borders legally. Government's laid back attitude toward border control has seriously burdened cities and states with a high population of illegal immigrants and opened our nation to terrorist attacks. Schools are crowded with students who do not speak fluent English. Hospitals are closing because care for uninsured immigrants is depleting their already strained budgets. For the protection of America, we must block anyone who has the potential to introduce a security or economic threat to our country.

Because government at a local level is more effective than at a federal level, states should have the authority to maintain and enforce border security. I will support appropriate legislation and funding as an incentive for border states to hire and train additional border patrol and customs agents, making sure they enforce laws already in place including tracking those with a visitor's visa whose time in the country is limited. This does not replace the federal government's responsibility to secure our borders. Government has the technology and the tools to do a better job. It is critical that we improve the present infrastructure to include updated border surveillance technology. The use of security cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles, ground-based radar towers, and fencing, where feasible, will send the message that we mean business.

Providing Economic Prosperity: We recognize the economic need for legal migrant labor. Congress can begin to address this problem by implementing a worker-visa program which will provide a transition period where those who are here illegally can voluntarily leave the country and apply for a temporary work visa. This program will not guarantee citizenship. Those who wish to gain citizenship must continue to go through the already established process. It is necessary to adhere to justice while remembering that America is a humane nation. Employers will be responsible to hire legal workers and will be held accountable for circumventing laws. Businesses who hire illegal immigrants should be heavily fined and put on strict probation. We can sustain our labor force without disruption by providing a positive alternative amnesty.

Preserving the Rule of Law:
We must preserve our legal system or we will lose the principles upon which America was founded. The United States has always been a land of hope and opportunity for legal immigrants. They infuse the country with new life and invigorate the economy. However, amnesty for illegal immigrants is not an option. It erodes the rule of law and does not work. Countries that have chosen amnesty as a solution have done so repeatedly without solving the problem of illegal immigration.

We cannot create legality out of illegality. We cannot maintain the law if we simply pardon illegal immigrants in this country. Neither can we succeed as a union of states if members of that union do not uphold the laws passed by the national government. State and local governments not willing to uphold the law of the land and enforce immigration statutes should not receive federal appropriations. Illegal immigrants must return to the border if they wish to apply for the guest worker program. If they have a full-time job, no criminal record, and present documentation such as a card stamped by the local post office or other notarized evidence that they have been living in the country, they could be admitted as temporary guest-workers. However, such status would not be a path to citizenship.

These steps may not be quick, easy, or popular, but by exerting the political will to implement them, we can strengthen our borders, our economy, and our country. We will never know what might not have happened on September 11, 2001, if tight border controls and mandated follow-up on foreign visitors had been in force. We can learn from this tragedy and make provisions to protect our future. It is time to play by the rules, to do the hard thing, and to develop, implement, and fund a system that will safeguard our borders, strengthen our economy, and enforce the law.

Tomorrow, I'll post Jason Chaffetz views on Illegal Immigration. In the meantime, it would behoove all voters to ask David how he hopes to accomplish this.

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