Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fighting Illegal Immigration Close to Home

Many of you may be familiar with the Prince William County (VA) Police Department policy that has been in effect for several years to help fight illegal immigration on a local/county level. Police officers making an arrest or coming into contact with a person may ask their citizenship and check with federal databases whether the person is here legally or not. If they are illegal they are turned over to federal authorities for deportation.
Here is a link to the Prince William County Police Department website:
As expected, when the program was initiated the “immigrant rights” groups raised all sorts of protests and lawsuits. Now after several years the program seems to be an effective and relatively cheap way to keep illegals out of a county. Officers are not allowed to simply walk up to a Hispanic looking individual and ask their status, but need to have reason to make contact with the person (traffic stop, complaint, etc). There have been very few complaints associated with the program and many opponents are beginning to see the wisdom of the idea.
I propose we take the program to the next level: Why not require all people seeking ANY county service (or city or state service for that matter) to prove their citizenship? Whether applying for a fishing license or requesting a building permit – people requesting government services are putting themselves in “voluntary” contact with the government. Theses individuals are not having their homes raided or being stopped on the street to have their legal status checked. The program will simply ensure only legal individuals are using public services and resources.
With local, county, and state government resources already short on funds, personnel, and other valuable taxpayer resources, any opportunity to cut costs and fight illegal immigration at the same time should be taken advantage of.
There will of course be cries of racism from pro-illegal immigration groups who will argue that immigrants are being targeted unfairly. Guess what? They are being targeted – but not unfairly. They are being targeted for willfully breaking the law by being here illegally, targeted for trying to take advantage of public funds or services they are not entitled to, and targeted because the federal government chooses not to do it’s job and stop them in the first place.
From my perspective if an illegal living here was able to survive all on his or her own – with no use of public services or public funds – other than breaking the law they are not really harming anyone or affecting others in any way. But the fact remains that in this day and age, it is nearly impossible to exist here for any length of time without some sort of contact with a local or county government. Illegals without healthcare are still able to use emergency rooms (free of charge since it is illegal to deny care based on insurance, or legal status), they still drive on our steets, send their kids to our schools, and rely on police, fire, and EMS to respond to their emergencies.
No matter what your opinion on illegal immigration, it is impossible to argue that illegals have no impact on spending, resources, and the taxes of legal residents. I am all for LEGAL immigration – especially immigration of highly skilled individuals who can contribute to our economy and our society. Unfortunately doing things the legal way may involve waiting in line for some people. Something most immigrants in this country have done for over 200 years.
It’s time to stop talking about acting and to start doing something. Let’s solve the problem of illegal immigration and budget issues at the same time. All states should begin to institue programs on the local and county level. It has become our responsibility since the federal government has failed in it’s responsibilities.

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