Sunday, March 11, 2007

Busy Week and Illegal Immigration

It's been a very busy week. We sold a huge file for a major refinery project that will keep us busy (along with all the other work) through August 2008. My job entails gathering all the required welding information, and creating "weldmaps" (assigning weld locations) for all the components. I know, it doesn't sound all that exciting, but it pays the bills.

The remainder of the week (evenings) was spent helping my youngest son with a school assignment: building a bridge out of toothpicks. The bridge will be entered in an "engineering competition"; first prize is $100 which is awarded according to the amount of weight the bridge supports before failing i.e. collasping or deflection of the road bed of more than 2 inches. It was a fun project and he thinks he's got a winner...and that's all that really matters.

Call me a "hate-monger." I'm really not, but I'm sure people will think I am. Before I begin my rant, I have to say that one of my best friends is Hispanic (he and his family are here legally). He and I have discussed this topic—we probably don't agree on all the aspects, but we both agree in general that "illegal immigration" is a BIG problem. That said…

The Oklahoma House recently approved a bill (HB 1804) that would address some of the problems we face in our state due to the influx of illegals. The bill must now be approved by the State Senate before being sent to Governor Brad Henry for his signature.

A key element of HB 1804, the Basic Pilot Program, uses federal databases to determine work eligibility. Oklahoma would be among the first in the nation to enroll in the program, and employers would be required to use the database system to confirm employees' legal status.

The bill's author, Rep. Randy Terrill (R-Moore), says there are five major components to the bill:

  • Ending identity theft by restricting access to government identification and information
  • Stopping voter fraud by requiring proof of citizenship
  • Ending taxpayer subsidies for illegal aliens
  • Enhancing law enforcement so that state and local law enforcement will be able to detain and hold illegal aliens
  • Penalties for employers who knowingly employ illegal aliens.
  • Enhancing law enforcement so that state and local law enforcement will be able to detain and hold illegal aliens.
  • Penalties for employers who knowingly employ illegal aliens.

The Center for Immigration Studies reports that, in 2002, illegal aliens cost the federal government (i.e. taxpayers) more than $23.6 BILLION while paying in only $16 billion in taxes! Where are those tax-payer dollars going? According to the study, $2.5 billion went to Medicaid; $2.2 billion to treatment for the uninsured; $1.9 billion to food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches; $1.6 billion to the federal prison and court systems; and $1.4 billion to federal aid to schools. A billion here, a billion there...and pretty soon we're talking REAL MONEY!!! Granted, SOME taxes were paid by illegals, but the amount going OUT is way more than what is coming IN! (And keep in mind, these are 2002 figures!)

Some people will argue that we should give amnesty to the illegals, which would then (they believe) eliminate some of the costs since they would supposedly be paying more of their "fair share" of taxes. However, according the CIS: "...[when all] costs are considered, illegal households created a net fiscal deficit at the federal level of more than $10 billion in 2002. We also estimate that, if there was an amnesty for illegal aliens, the net fiscal deficit would grow (emphasis mine) to nearly $29 billion." For more of the CIS study, click here.

So what can be done? If you live in Oklahoma, contact your State Senator and urge him/her to support HB 1804. If you don't know who your Senator is, can help.

Additional information on HB 1804:
Jurist Legal News and Research
HB 1804 actual text of bill