Even if you have not attended many horse races you probably know that at a racetrack, the track announcer usually begins each race at a racetrack by intoning, “The horses are in the starting gate…and they are off!” The gates spring open and the horses race down the track, heading towards the finish line with the first horse to cross the finish line being declared the winner. The outcome of the race is decided in a matter of scant minutes and the swiftest horse/rider combination wins. The 112th Congress has just convened and not unlike the racehorses and their riders, the members of Congress are impatiently waiting for the gates to spring open so they can get down to business. Speed, however, will not decide who wins. If our leaders demonstrate true leadership, the citizens of our nation will win. The time has come for our leaders to demonstrate the ability to remain true to their beliefs and to seek to determine how best to proceed. So much hangs in the balance. On Wednesday, January 26th, the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement will conduct its very first hearing: “ICE WORKSITE ENFORCEMENT – UP TO THE JOB?” It is clear that, where immigration is concerned, the House Immigration Subcommittee is hitting the ground running. Immigration is not a single issue. In fact, it is a system of many components. The various missions of an effective immigration system would prevent aliens from evading the inspections process, make certain that aliens who are admitted into the United States are entitled to enter the United States and comply with the terms of their admission, and that nonimmigrants do not accept unlawful employment. The bestowing of lawful immigrant status and United States citizenship upon aliens and seeking the removal of those aliens who fail to maintain their status in our country for various reasons is also a part of the responsibility of the immigration system. An effective immigration system would also serve as a serious deterrent to those aliens who violate the various provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act, including aliens who run our nation’s borders. Clearly our nation’s immigration system has an abysmal record where all of these important objectives are concerned. Fortunately, the House Judiciary Committee has a true leader at the helm, Representative Lamar Smith, who has a long history of leadership where immigration is concerned. Back in the 1990’s he chaired the House Immigration Subcommittee and he truly understands just how important the effective enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws are to our nation and our citizens. While there are so many components to the immigration system, the magnet that draws the majority of illegal aliens into our country is the prospect of finding unlawful work. Worksite enforcement is supposed to discourage employers from intentionally hiring illegal aliens and it is also supposed to deter illegal aliens from entering our country in the first place. Clearly, for decades, our government has failed to live up to its obligation of securing its borders and deterring the entry of illegal aliens. Jobs have been referred to as the power source for the magnet that draws the majority illegal aliens into our country and, in a no-nonsense way, the first hearing has been called by Representative Smith to examine what is and what is not being done to turn off the power to that magnet. I have been invited to provide testimony at this hearing. I have been told that the Immigration Subcommittee will likely hold a hearing each week that Congress is in session to explore and examine all of the components of the dysfunctional immigration system. The fundamental truth is that the first step of problem solving is to identify the problems. The significance of an effective immigration system cannot be overstated. Failure to secure our borders, and failure to create an immigration system that possesses real integrity threatens national security and endangers our citizens in virtually every city and town. These failures of the immigration system also do great harm to our nation’s economy. When illegal aliens succeed in gaining unlawful jobs, they become encouraged that they can violate our nation’s laws with no concern about consequences and they are likely to convey this perspective to their friends in their home countries who are trying to decide if it is worth the risk to violate our nation’s borders and our nation’s laws. Foreign workers cost our nation by displacing American workers and by sending money back to their families in their home countries. Each year tens of billions of dollars are sent from the United States to the countries from whence these foreign workers came. This money is money that is not spent or invested in America and money that is not earned by citizens or resident aliens of our nation. This adds greatly to our nation’s ballooning deficit and contributes to the economic hardship ever so many Americans face each day. In the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, House Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Elton Gallegly and Vice Chairman Steve King we are fortunate to have three true leaders who understand just how vital an effective immigration system is to our nation and our citizens. They know the importance of their responsibilities and also know how daunting the challenges will be. On January 26th the gates of the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement will spring open for the first time. It is my hope that “We the People” will be the winners.