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if(requestedWidth > 0){ document.getElementById(‘articleViewerGroup’).style.width = requestedWidth + "px"; document.getElementById(‘articleViewerGroup’).style.margin = "0px 0px 10px 10px"; } THE IJ’s Nov. 15 editorial about the Novato family deported to Guatemala was filled with sympathy for the family that was deported, but short on explaining the big picture regarding immigration in America.

The Mejia-Perez couple broke the law by entering our country illegally and then broke it again by working here illegally. Those facts are not mitigated by how long they have lived here or how many children they have had since they arrived.

And, the immigration system isn’t "broken." What has been broken since the early ’90s has been the commitment by government at all levels to secure our borders and enforce our immigration and employment laws. The U.S. government could secure the border, it doesn’t want to.

The U.S. has two immigration policies, one official, the other unofficial.

The official policy is generous by international standards. Averaging about a million per annum, more legal immigrants are allowed into America every year than the combined legal immigration of almost all the rest of the countries of the world added up. These are legal immigrants, who have done it the right way and honored us by obeying our laws.

The unofficial policy is one of defacto amnesty.

The government mostly looks the other way, letting thousands of illegal immigrants sneak across our border every day.

The number of illegal border crossings is estimated between 3 million to 4 million per year.

Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have all been the same regarding immigration enforcement. They give some lipservice to border security, but don’t do what can be done to end the illegal onslaught.

Why not? The answer is money.

Business wants cheap labor. And people fleeing poverty and corruption in the third world are willing to work cheaply. The oversupply of labor has been apparent for over a decade as real wages haven’t budged. Equally important, business wants to sell products to the new consumers that are created with their first paycheck.

It’s a 21st century version of the Company Store.

Illegal immigrants come with virtually nothing but the clothes on their back. They need everything and thus are the perfect new consumer class. It’s great for business. Not so great for legal immigrants or Americans living at the lower end of the economic spectrum or the taxpayer who subsidizes the social costs including increased law enforcement, education and health care costs.

The amnesty that is suggested by saying it doesn’t make sense to try to round up all the illegal immigrants will have its own consequences as it will lead to a new wave of illegal immigrants, many of whom will think that if they can just hold on long enough, they too will get an amnesty. That is likely what the illegal immigrants who came after the 1986 amnesty, thought.

As for splitting up families, that is the result of the parents’ behavior, not the state.

Obama and Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, et al, are welcome to try to pass an amnesty for illegal immigrants, but they won’t. The polls indicate that the political consequences are too high.

So expect more talk about a path to legalization. And, expect more victim vignettes about illegals being deported.

The solution to the illegal immigrant problem is to return to first principals: Secure the border, enforce employment laws and increase local law enforcement’s efforts to enforce immigration laws.

If the government did its job in the first place, we wouldn’t be faced with these kind of illegal immigrant victim stories, or American citizens made victims by lower wages, higher crime, higher health care costs and higher taxes.

Our nation’s immigration policy should benefit all Americans, not just a minority who make money off of it.

Rick Oltman of Novato has been involved in the national debate over illegal immigration. He is the national media director of Californians for Population Stabilization.