By Chris Ingram
The Tampa Tribune
Published January 22, 2012
Ask most Americans about “illegal immigration” and they are likely to conjure an image of someone of Hispanic origin swimming across the Rio Grande or evading border patrolmen in the desert. The reality is that just who is “illegal,” how they got here and their impact on our society is much more complex than the visual impression we get from television news.
The Department of Homeland Security estimates that between 27 and 57 percent of the country’s 12 million to 14 million “illegals” are visa overstays — people who arrived legally with temporary, non-immigrant status and didn’t leave the country when their visas expired. Government policies perpetuate the problem because those who overstay their visa, once they leave, can’t ever come back legally due to their overstay violation.
The bumper sticker solution
I’m generally a law-and-order type, and I used to believe that if the first thing you do when you come to this country is break the law by entering it illegally, you ought to be rounded up and sent home.
But I’ve evolved. Illegal immigration is far too complicated an issue, with wide-ranging social, economic and emotional considerations; we shouldn’t expect a solution to be found on a bumper sticker.
So far, the federal government has yet to get the solution right. This is due in part to splintered factions of labor unions, business and agricultural groups, and “human rights” activists with divergent interests. As a result of federal inaction, several states have attempted to solve the illegal immigration problem within their borders with quick-fixes that are long on rhetoric, short on solutions and with devastating economic impacts — particularly on the farm economy, which relies heavily on immigrant labor.
The Georgia model
Last year Georgia enacted a tough law to rid the state of illegal immigrants, including a provision for employers to use the federal E-Verify program to check workers’ citizenship. It worked; and the result was Georgia farmers lost an estimated $150 million due to crops that sat in the field unpicked because the labor pool fled the state, according to the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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