Jorge G. Castañeda and Douglas S. Massey (“Do-It-Yourself Immigration Reform,” Op-Ed, June 2) argue that we should grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants because illegal immigration from Mexico is down. But this conclusion is flawed.
First, they claim that Mexican illegal immigration is down because of decreased job opportunities. But this doesn’t mean that illegal immigrants won’t try to enter once the economy improves.
For this reason, we need to turn off the jobs magnet that encourages illegal immigration. We should expand E-Verify, a Web-based program that quickly identifies illegal immigrants working here and protects jobs for legal workers.
And since the Government Accountability Office has found that only 44 percent of the Southwest border is under the “operational control” of the Border Patrol, the border is still not secure and remains an open invitation to more illegal immigration.
Second, while illegal immigration has slightly diminished, it’s still a problem. Last year, more than 340,000 people were apprehended trying to enter the country illegally. But it’s estimated that there are two to three successful illegal crossings for every one thwarted. That means more than a million illegal immigrants could have entered last year.
Third, not all illegal immigrants are from Mexico. Each year, tens of thousands of illegal immigrants enter the United States from countries other than Mexico, including some countries with strong ties to terrorist organizations like Syria, Iran, Somalia, Nigeria and Pakistan. This means that if we grant amnesty to all illegal immigrants in the United States, it could also include those who wish to do us harm.
Granting amnesty to illegal immigrants is a shortsighted fix that will only encourage more illegal immigration.
Washington, June 6, 2012
The writer, a Republican of Texas, is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.