NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 29, 2007

Some Americans feel burned by the results of last year's under-funded bill to build 700 miles of fence and barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.  But that shouldn't stop consideration for legislation that would actually increase our national security and control the flow of illegal immigrants, says the Dallas Morning News.

A measure recently filed by Republican Rep. Jeff Flake and Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez has plenty that should appeal to skeptics.  For instance, it would:

  • Add about 15,000 agents to keep illegal immigrants from sneaking in; use unmanned aerial vehicles to round up illegal immigrants and grant money to states and cities that help patrol the border.
  • It would also create a criminal penalty for anyone caught avoiding border agents; introduce harsher sentences for immigrants involved in gang activities; ratchet up sentences for immigrants who don't leave the country after being told to depart and hike criminal penalties on businesses that hire illegal aliens.

Additionally, the bill would:

  • Build 20 new facilities to house as many as 20,000 detained illegal immigrants and draw upon Pentagon expertise in launching surveillance strategies.
  • Require the Department of Homeland Security to verify that the border is secure before the rest of the bill rolls out.

Those are all tough, concrete -- and doable -- steps, says the News.  The bill also deals realistically with the immigration problem by creating a new guest worker program for low-skilled workers. And it allows illegal immigrants living here to earn citizenship after they pay a fine, go to the back of the line and return before they can finally pick up their papers, allowing agents to tell who's coming across legally and who's not.

Source: Editorial, "An Appeal to Skeptics," Dallas Morning News, March 28, 2007.


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