During the recent Presidential campaign, a major source of public frustration was avoided as carefully as possible. That was the subject of the illegal-immigrant population that created an outburst of ire directed at Congress early this year for attempts to assure amnesty for illegal aliens, a blatant attempt to curry favor among a growing voter bloc.
Attempts to soften perception by saying “undocumented workers” did not fly well and, depending on which poll or sales effort you choose to believe, between 75-90% of the public wants no part of amnesty or taxes to support U.S. presence of illegal residents. It is estimated that about $320 billion annually is spent for health care, education and prison maintenance for illegal immigrants in this country. With the new Congress, it is near certain that this issue will reappear, and every effort will be made to coerce enacting this very unpopular legislation.
A review of all 110th-Congress-proposed laws indicates that 105 bills were offered relating to U.S. industry costs of illegal immigration. As required by law, each session of Congress requires introduction of new legislation during each Congressional meeting, including those reintroduced from a prior session but not dispositioned. My brief review of these past bills does not reveal much substance on the topic, but following are several matters that are substantial for U.S. industry managers’ awareness.
A 2004 law makes it a crime to knowingly use “without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person.” The U.S. Court of Appeals (8th Circuit) in St. Louis said that government need only prove a knowing use of false information, but nothing more about source or intent. Two other appeals courts (Richmond and Atlanta) agreed with this, but three others (Boston, San Francisco and Washington – the usual appellate courts that legislate from the bench) disagreed. It is expected that this judicial split will be resolved, either starting with tighter legislation in 2009 or by Supreme Court ruling.
Quite related to this is the matter of an employer who knowingly hires illegal aliens – with or without false identification – giving an unfair competitive advantage to a firm using this unlawful practice. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 9.406-2(b)(2) provides that “several” violations of this Immigration and Nationality Act prohibition are grounds for debarment of a company to sell goods and services to the U.S. government. Seven firms were debarred in late September. Therefore, any firm operating in the U.S. is foolish not to pay attention to these issues.
What we expect from Congress is a call for comprehensive reform, which is a euphemism for alien legalization instead of deportation. Deportation is not new. In the 1930s during the Great Depression, 2 million Mexicans were deported to make their jobs available to U.S. citizens. In 1954, Operation Wetback deported another 1.2 million illegal aliens for the same reason. But the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, which became PL 99-603 signed by President Reagan on Nov. 6, 1986, granted amnesty for all illegal aliens who had been continuous residents in the country since before Jan. 1, 1982.
This amnesty program was a failure in that America has over four times as many illegal residents today as then – about 15 million. The nation is being overrun with people who consume more tax money annually than the entire national budget in both the two periods combined (early 1930s and 1954) when the deportation option was used. All this is because corrupt politicians seek votes. I contend it has zero to do with compassion for the aliens caught in the middle.
Your new incoming President has supported every item of amnesty legislation (when he chose to vote as a Senator) and will allow “sanctuary cities” as safe havens for illegal immigrants. It goes without saying that the nutcases who still run Congress feel emboldened to try again. You are now warned that these issues will return and probably bite you, unless we all enforce the “stun” that politicians felt as a backlash last spring to their ill-conceived approach to resolve a national failure to comply with existing immigration laws.
This issue will not disappear because it is unpleasant. The latest data I can find says that in March 2008, federal prosecutions of 16,298 covered 9,350 cases of immigrant status (57%), up from 3,746 cases one year earlier. The nation has a clear record of what the incoming President seeks, including refuting English as the U.S. official language (which is opposed by 91% of the public), offering tax-paid services (hospital and education) for illegal aliens and accepting all personal-identification documents regardless of means that preserve sanctity and authenticity.
These issues are an origin of disaster. And remember that a President does nothing more than recommend policy that Congress enacts as law and appropriates money to implement.
It is clear that America faces a problem with regard to the illegal-immigrant population among us. You have a responsibility to ensure a better outcome than recent political policies and indicators foretell.IH