In 1776 nations leaders weren't wimps
Jul. 4, 2007
It's official. Arizona has declared war on the forces that fuel illegal
immigration. No longer are our leaders content to blame the sum total of our
ills on the poor guy who sneaks across the border to get a job.
Now, Republicans and Democrats alike are pointing squarely at the people who
lure them: the employers.
Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall inside Arizona's construction and
restaurant industries this week? I have a good idea what people in those
industries are saying.
It's probably a lot like what the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is
saying. For years, chamber lobbyists have fought any attempt to hold employers
accountable, all the while contending that most businesses try to follow the
The headline on their press release Monday? "Employer-sanctions bill strikes a
crippling blow to Arizona business." I'm not sure how a bill that penalizes
employers who "knowingly" hire an illegal immigrant deals a crippling blow to
business when most businesses are already trying to follow the law. Draw your
The point remains that Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, and the GOP-controlled
Legislature have now gone where the feds fear to tread.
It strikes me that the Fourth of July is a good day to ponder that fact.
This is a country founded by great and courageous men, based on bedrock
principles of fairness and equality.
What we seem to have today are wimps and wannabes who spend most of their time
with a wet finger in the air and who are more interested in career than country.
Two hundred and thirty-one years ago, our leaders brought us the Declaration of
Independence. Last week, our leaders in Congress brought us a declaration of
incompetence. They can't figure out what to do about illegal immigration so
they're punting until 2009.
Meanwhile, the Homeland Security chief says, "We don't really have the ability
to enforce the law with respect to illegal work in this country in a way that's
And so it falls to the states to take the lead, in hopes that the feds will grow
a spine and fix the problem. Because the solutions won't make anyone completely
No. 1: Get control of the border ASAP. Fix it so people we've deported stay
No. 2: Once we have control, legalize those who were here before Jan. 1, 2006,
and can prove it with something other than a phony affidavit. They would need a
clean criminal record, pay a fine and learn English. We, in turn, would
acknowledge that it's amnesty but recognize we had a hand in their arrival. At
least, our employers did.
No. 3: Create a tamperproof ID card and put employers on notice that if they're
caught with ineligible workers, they're in big trouble. A fine equal to whatever
per capita cost we can attach to illegal immigration sounds about right.
No. 4: Establish a guest-worker plan that's fair to the American worker, who
will do most jobs, I suspect, if they pay a decent wage.
And No. 5: Pass the DREAM Act now. This is America, and in America we don't
punish people for crimes they didn't commit. So give a break to those who came
as kids and have stayed out of trouble. Give them a shot at a decent education
and who knows? They might actually contribute to this country, which is all
Many people today are cheering the death of the Senate's immigration-reform
bill. I'm one of them. It was unwieldy and unenforceable.
But the answer isn't to punt because it's too hard. Where would we be today had
a group of real leaders punted in 1776?
Reach Roberts at (602) 444-8635.