The Republican Presidential Debate in Iowa was held on August 11, 2011. There was no surprise–only disappointment—that immigration was treated as a separate issue and not as a component of the other issues that were debated and discussed.
The economy took center stage. Certainly our nation's economic crisis has a huge impact on our nation and our citizens. However, how can there be a meaningful discussion about unemployment and the economy when millions of illegal aliens are working in this country in violation of law, sending well over one hundred billion dollars in ill-gotten earnings back to their home countries? This is money that is not earned by United States citizens or lawful immigrants. This is money that is not spent in America or invested in America. Furthermore, the Americans who are displaced by foreign workers are to be found in minimum wage and low income jobs as well as in high tech industries because of rampant fraud in the so-called temporary work visas such as the H-1b visa program.
Yet former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney repeated the all too often assertion that foreign students should be given a Green Card when they receive their Ph.D.!
If our nation is to dig itself out of the deep hole it is now in, many more opportunities must be provided for American students of all races, religions and ethnicities who have the intellect and the desire to excel but lack the economic wherewithal to attend college. Every American child who has the ability and the motivation to succeed and is prevented from getting that education will continue to be a link in the poverty chain that fails our citizens and our country. When our kids succeed they become more successful and America becomes more successful. The idea of importing foreign students and foreign high tech workers prevents Americans from seizing their thin slice of the American dream and it is this vicious cycle that needs desperately to be addressed.
The solution is not to staple a Green Card onto an advanced degree but instead to advance the future of American students and then provide them with good careers when they graduate with those advanced degrees.
National security was another issue in the forefront of the debate. However, how can you discuss national security and ignore the fact that there are tens of millions of illegal aliens in our country whose true identities are unknown and unknowable with absolutely no record of their entry into our country?
How can supposedly intelligent candidates for the most important job in the world not understand that immigration is about far more than our nation’s southern border? Of course our southern border acts as little more than a "speed bump" to millions of illegal aliens and the criminals, gang members and terrorists among them, but it must also be understood that nearly half of the illegal aliens in our country did not run our nation’s borders but actually were admitted via the inspections process and then either overstayed the period of time for which they were admitted or otherwise violated the terms of their admission. Therefore the term "border state" does not only apply to the four states that are located on our nation’s southern border but also must include the northernmost states of our country and any state that has a seaport or an international airport.
Every state is seriously impacted by the decades old failures of our nation to not only secure its borders against the entry of illegal aliens but to effectively deal with the millions of illegal aliens who are visa violators. There needs to be real integrity where the immigration benefits program is concerned, yet Governor Huntsman made it clear that he would do whatever was needed to secure the border or, more likely, create the illusion that the southern border was secure and then he would move on to providing millions of illegal aliens with a way of gaining lawful status in our country. It is this sort of wrongheaded "thinking" that got our nation into the mess it is in today.
Governor Huntsman was not alone, however, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, advocated that government employees be made to take a "loyalty oath" as a defense against government employees who would do harm to our country; recognizing that bad guys might lie, but then advocated for providing a form of amnesty to millions of illegal aliens based on the length of time they have been in the United States.
There would be no way to know when, where or how they entered our country either. Remember, these illegal aliens surreptitiously entered our country, creating no record of their arrival? Further complicating this issue is the fact that often, illegal aliens use many false identities. When I was an INS special agent I arrested many illegal aliens and often found that these aliens had numerous Social Security cards and other identity documents in a number of different names.
The 19 terrorists who wrought such destruction on our nation 9 years and 11 months ago all were admitted into the United States by gaming the visa process and managed to obtain lawful immigration status in our country. In order to embed themselves they used, in the aggregate, as many as 300 plus false names and variations of false names.
Newt Gingrich was the Speaker of the House of Representatives and a college professor–certainly he knows better!
It was interesting that Herman Cain seemed to grasp the immigration issue better than those who were asked about it–he made four points. He called for the securing of our borders, enforcing the immigration laws to prevent the hiring of illegal aliens and accept the fact that the states have the right to enforce the immigration laws. His fourth point was spot on–he said that there is already a pathway to citizenship–the lawful immigration process!
Of course, I was taken aback when he said that we need to build tall fences and that after we secure the borders we need to leave the doors wide open. Between the Visa Waiver Program and utter lack integrity to the process by which visas are issued and immigration benefits are conferred, the doors, in my judgment, are already far too wide open!
While I recognize that these debates don't provide opportunities for in depth discussions on any issue–the fundamental lack of integrity of the lawful immigration process needs to be a major factor in these debates. Our nation has been attacked by terrorists and our national security has been compromised for foreign spies who all easily gamed the immigration benefits program as well as the visa process.
In point of fact, a number of the participants in yesterday's debate were never even given an opportunity to address the immigration issue at all. What is really needed is a debate that focuses on the many aspects of the immigration crisis.
Such a debate would actually provide insight into the way that candidates for the Presidency would attack nearly every threat and challenge our nation faces today. Immigration, after all, is not a single issue but a major factor–often the major factor–in everything from national security, criminal justice and community safety to the economy, the environment, healthcare and education.