Issue Watch

  Illegal Immigration

FEDERAL SOLUTIONS:

Illegal immigration is a crime.

Government authorities need to make an unambiguous commitment to immigration enforcement. The first step to solving our illegal immigration problem is to secure the border. Until sufficient resources and manpower are placed at the border to stop the influx of illegal aliens, the problem will continue to worsen. The federal government must be encouraged to take responsible action to solve the illegal immigration problem.

In addition, any hope of amnesty must be eliminated, since amnesty is as strong a magnet for illegal aliens as are jobs and free social services. There cannot be any amnesty for the millions of illegal aliens within our national border. The cultural cost of legalizing a record number of uneducated and low skilled immigrants would forever alter our nation.  With nearly two-thirds of illegal aliens lacking a high school diploma, one of the primary reasons they create a net fiscal deficit is their low education levels and resulting low incomes. Low skilled illegal aliens combined with our already bloated federal entitlement system are adding fuel to the big-government fire.
 
Similarly, how can our nation expect to assimilate a large number of illegal immigrants -- especially when many illegal immigrants do not wish to be assimilated? And that's without even mentioning the war on terror and how our nation's security is being exploited by the current open border policies of the federal government. While most illegal immigrants may come only to seek work and a better economic opportunity, their presence outside the law furnishes an opportunity for terrorists to blend into the same shadows while they target the American public for their terrorist crimes.

From a federal standpoint, a temporary worker program should only be instituted if there is a real worker shortage, not if there is a shortage of workers willing to work at substandard wages. Furthermore, any temporary worker program must be just that – temporary. It must include a mechanism to ensure that workers return home immediately after the program is over. In discussing a temporary worker program, lawmakers must take into account the past failures of such programs.

In sum, the federal government must implement numerous reforms, including (but not limited to) securing the border, beefing up federal investigation capacity, asylum reform, documents improvements, major improvements in detention and deportation procedures, limitations on judicial review, improved intelligence capacity, greatly improved state/federal cooperation, and added resources.

STATE SOLUTIONS:

Illegal immigration is a crime.

Since the federal government is failing in its responsibility to secure our national border and protect the nation from illegal immigration, Mississippi must stand up for the rule of law.

Simply put, the people of Mississippi are quickly losing confidence in the federal government’s ability to solve the illegal immigration problem. Therefore, it is time for Mississippi (and other states) to address the illegal immigration problem on its own level. In fact, many states are already taking the initiative. Last year, 30 states passed some 57 laws to crack down on illegal immigrants, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That flurry of legislation reflects states’ mounting frustration with federal inaction.

Mississippi must act to protect its taxpayers. Once the illegal immigrants have broken the law and entered the country, Mississippi – not the federal government – is unfairly burdened since it is forced to pay for benefits like welfare, education, health care, and law enforcement. Mississippi’s systems of welfare, education, law enforcement, health care, and employment benefits are being stretched not only to provide help for tax-paying citizens, but also to absorb the demands of people who have broken the law to enter the country, and then break the law again by accessing support programs to which they have no legal entitlement. Social benefits awarded to illegal aliens must be eliminated.

To improve the enforcement of immigration laws at the state and local level, we advocate (at the very least) immediate consideration of the following measures:

  • Because Immigration and Customs (ICE) agents cannot be in all places all of the time, it is imperative that state and local law enforcement be assured they have the proper authority to arrest and detains illegal aliens. Law enforcement officers at any level should not be required to ignore violations of federal law. Reaffirm authority of state and local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration laws.

  • Require federal reimbursement for state and local law enforcement expenses directly related to illegal immigration, except where local sanctuary policies encourage illegal immigrant settlement. Authorize state and local judges to authorize removal of illegal immigrants as part of plea bargains in criminal cases. Require public employers to participate in a federal work authorization program for all new employees.

  • Increase the penalties for human trafficking and make it a felony to covertly transport illegal immigrants through Mississippi; reaffirm Mississippi’s current increases the penalties for a person found guilty of human trafficking of any kind to a possible prison sentence of up to 20 years.

  • Prohibit bail for illegal immigrants who commit crimes; mandate that if a person is charged with a crime confined to jail, an effort shall be made to determine the person’s nationality; if the person is a foreign national, a reasonable effort shall be made to determine that the person has been admitted into the United States lawfully; and if not, the judge should be empowered to notify INS of the situation.

  • Limit unemployment benefits and employment protection status to citizens and those with legal immigration status. Prohibit state agencies from entering into contract agreements with contractors who knowingly employ illegal immigrants and require a prospective contractor to verify legal work status of all employees.

  • Require that no person shall be certified as a police or peace officer in the state unless the employing agency has reported that such person has provided proof of U.S. citizenship. Require proof of U.S. Citizenship or legal immigrant status of driver’s license applicants; prohibit any learner's permit, driver's license, or renewal license may from being extended to a person not a U.S. Citizen and lawfully residing in the state.

  • Criminalize fraud by mandating that an individual is guilty of felonious fraud if another person’s personal information, such as social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, checking and savings account numbers, and credit and debit card numbers, is used for the purposes of gaining employment.

  • Increase the penalty for forging documents, including the prosecution of those who assist in the forging of documents. Mandate that applicants for voter registration may only use identification issued in the U.S. or Mississippi (i.e. driver's license, passport, etc). The ID used must include a picture and must be presented before the person is eligible to cast a vote.

  • Prohibit any state or local government from enacting legislation that impedes law enforcement agencies from cooperating or communicating with federal officials concerning an arrestee who is suspected to be illegal. Require a list of all illegal immigrants currently serving prison terms to be compiled and given to ICE to determine if ICE wishes to gain custody of any illegal alien prisoner.

  • Illegal aliens currently serving prison terms should be released to the custody of ICE upon completion of their prison term. Deny anyone unlawfully residing in the U.S. permission to obtain a handgun permit.

  • Grant local/state governments and businesses the tools to verify that applicants are lawfully present in the United States before granting a variety of tax-supported benefits

  • Simply put, if people cannot show proof of legal residency (such as a Mississippi driver’s license, a U.S. military ID, a passport, or a valid Social Security number), they cannot access any public services.

  • Aiding and abetting laws need to be toughened and also enforced to the maximum extent. This includes sanctuary city policies that coddle the lawless. Any city that has sanctuary policies should forfeit all federal and state funding until and unless the city complies with all state and federal immigration laws.

  • Effective control and management of the laws against illegal immigration require adequate resources. But those costs will be more than offset by savings to Mississippi, its counties, communities, and school districts across the state.


    Mississippi must take a stand.

  • We must not reward people who have broken the law and encourage more illegal behavior. Such would be unjust to American citizens as well as immigrants who are legally in the U.S.

  • We must secure our borders through greater manpower, technology, and resources.

  • We must hold employers accountable and provide a fraud-proof verification system.

  • We must gain operational control of our borders so we know who comes in and out of the country.

  •  We must reassess our current guest worker programs for industries unable to fill vacancies, ensuring employers offer Americans potential jobs before foreign workers.


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Page last updated July 27, 2007 10:08 AM
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