Steve Beren For Congress (WA - 7th CD)

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BORDER SECURITY & ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

U.S. English Candidate Pledge for Official English

The issue of illegal immigration and border security is one of the key issues in the 2008 congressional and presidential elections, and I am proud to have the endorsement of the Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee (CLICK HERE).         

I am an immigration conservative (see Americans for Better Immigration candidates' ratings).  I'm also a fiscal conservative, a national security conservative, and a social conservative.  When the Republican National Convention meets in Minnesota this summer, the platform adopted should remain committed to these policies and values.  The American people want secure borders, so they want an end to illegal immigration.  They want to be safe from terrorist attack, so they want a victory strategy in the war against Islamic fascism.  They want economic security, so they want taxes to remain low and spending sharply reduced.  And they want an optimistic moral vision about the future of this country.  The Democratic Party is an obstacle to these desires of the American people.  A renewed, reinvigorated Republican Party can and will provide the leadership that allows the American people to achieve their dreams and their destiny.

I’m a descendant of legal immigrants.  All four of my grandparents, and five of my great-grandparents, were legal immigrants from Europe.  They played by the book, enduring delay and bureaucracy and hardship and sacrificed, but they played by the book.  They loved America before setting foot in America, they longed for freedom and opportunity.  Above all, they would never do anything to violate or circumvent the laws of this great nation.  So, looking at today’s illegal immigration situation, I know how unfair it is to those who’ve played by the rules.

Illegal immigration is unfair, and illegal immigration hurts our economy, and illegal immigration burdens the taxpayer.  But above all, in this post-9/11 world, illegal immigration and border security are issues related to national defense and the war against Islamic terrorism.

In my campaign for Congress against far left incumbent Jim McDermott, I am campaigning against amnesty for illegal immigrants.  Here’s my four-point program to strengthen border security and stop illegal immigration:

STEP #1: We must strengthen border security to sharply reduce additional illegal immigration. This includes carrying out the will of the American people by building the security fence along our southern border.  I absolutely support “a physically massive wall” along the U.S.-Mexican border, and I also support a virtual fence and the use of any and all of the most advanced technologies to protect our borders.   

STEP #2: We must eliminate the incentives that encourage illegal immigration and increase the penalties to discourage it.  Dishonest businesses that hire illegal aliens should be severely punished. Their goal is to evade taxes, and their goal is to avoid providing workers with proper pay and benefits. My support for severe punishment of companies that hire illegal aliens does not stem from any anti-business sentiment. In fact, this is a pro-business position, because allowing amnesty for such dishonest businesses is unfair to the vast majority of honest businesses that play by the rules. Taking action against companies that hire illegal aliens will dry up the illicit job market that attracts illegal immigration. Some illegal immigrants will decide to return to their country. Others, contemplating illegal immigration to the U.S., will choose to stay in their homeland.

STEP #3: We should discontinue providing driver’s licenses, free education, free health care, free social services, food stamps, welfare, and other benefits to illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants have become a massive underclass, not paying taxes to support social services, yet using these services disproportionately because of their poverty status. This greatly increases the tax burden on the American citizen taxpayers, while also depressing wage levels. This is a great disruption to the American economy, and curtailing of benefits for illegal aliens would further destroy a big part of the incentive to come to the U.S. illegally.

STEP #4: Strict law enforcement. If a person is arrested on a traffic offense, misdemeanor, burglary, assault, or any crime, and it is determined that they are also in the country illegally, the fact of their illegal status should be taken into consideration.  In the case of minor crimes, deportation proceedings should generally take precedence over any traffic offense or other minor crime of which they might be accused.  In the case of major crimes such as murder, kidnapping, rape, child abuse, etc., committed by persons while here illegally, laws should be changed to allow more frequent use of the death penalty and longer prison sentences.

Strengthening border security, drying up the illicit job market, ending benefits for illegal aliens, building the fence, and strict law enforcement will gradually lead to sharply reduced illegal immigration and eventually a reversal of the flow. Some will decide to return home on their own, some will turn themselves in, some will be caught committing crimes and deported.

It took twenty years for 12 million illegal immigrants to come to this country, and it will probably take many years to reduce the number to a small fraction of the current amount.

Those who support amnesty and open borders argue that immigration is good for the country, because immigrants do important work and become part of the fabric of American society. There is some truth to this, but that begs the question. The counter argument is not that immigration is "bad." The real question is: which is better, illegal immigration or legal immigration?

Legal immigration is better for the immigrants themselves. Illegal immigration means exploitation and existence in a permanent underclass; legal immigration means fair pay and better benefits.

Legal immigration is better for the American economy. Legal immigrants pay taxes and contribute to society, earning their share of social services. Illegal immigrants live on the margins, while their social services are paid for by working class and middle class Americans.

Legal immigration is better for the culture and well-being of the nation. Legal immigrants play by the rules, learn English, and seek to become law-abiding citizens. Illegal immigrants start off on the wrong foot, breaking our immigration laws right off the bat, and are more likely to be mixed up in smuggling, gang activity, welfare fraud, identity theft, and other anti-social behavior.

In a post-9/11 world, policies that might be understandable in peacetime are no longer useful or applicable. Issues of border control, illegal immigration, airport screening, and port security must not be viewed from a pre-9/11 point of view.

In time of peace, perhaps some arguments could be made for a relatively tolerant immigration policy. But in view of the terrorism threat, it is not "anti-Mexican" to advocate strong immigration controls, any more than it is "anti-Arab" to support stringent airport screening.

No "open borders." No amnesty. No "benefits" for illegal aliens. And above all, no loose security in a time of war and terrorism.

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