The only ones that don't seem to get it are the media and the .gov
Illegal immigrants cause trouble, officials say
Panel talks in sharp contrast to demonstrations' message
Illegal immigrants are overwhelming local governments, schools and law enforcement, said officials testifying yesterday at a meeting of a congressional subcommittee in Winston-Salem.
In a wide-ranging discussion, local, state and federal officials brainstormed about deporting illegal immigrants from North Carolina, keeping track of gang members, and fighting drugs and fake identification documents, all of which are connected to illegal immigration, they said.
(so are kidnapping, child molesting, hit-and-run-dui-homicides and forced prostitution of children)
"I think the people of this district and people all over this country think we're being invaded," said U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th, a member of the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources. She is running for re-election this year.
The hearing, titled "Gangs, Fraud and Sexual Predators: Struggling with the Consequences of Illegal Immigration," was held on the heels of rallies across the country by those opposed to a bill Foxx co-sponsored, which is aimed at tightening border security and makes being in the country illegally a felony.
Demonstrators also favor a path to legal status for those here illegally.
The timeliness of yesterday's meeting was coincidental, as it had been planned weeks in advance, Foxx and the the subcommittee's chairman, Rep. Mark Souder, R-Indiana, said in their opening remarks.
The meeting drew about 10 people, other than reporters and congressional and federal staff members.
Those at rallies earlier this week carried messages that America is a nation of immigrants and should grant more rights to a population that contributes to the economy and is illegal largely because the immigration system is broken.
Yesterday's hearing painted a starkly different picture, one of illegal immigrants - most Hispanic - bringing big problems that citizens and legal residents have to pay for.
"Every dollar spent on an illegal immigrant is a dollar that was diverted away from a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen," Foxx said.
The hearing focused on crime, as broader immigration issues are not in the subcommittee's mandate, Souder said.
Local officials suggested changes, big and small, to immigration-related policies, locally and nationally.
State Rep. Dale Folwell, R-Forsyth, suggested a pilot program to deport illegal immigrants by flying them home from Smith Reynolds Airport.
Debra Conrad-Shrader, a Forsyth County commissioner, said that immigration is the "No.1 issue" she hears about.
"Constituents ... they don't view this situation as complex," she said. "These 12 million illegals need to be deported."
Souder disagreed. "It's going to be incredibly complex to unsort this," he said.
"There is an incredible naivete, bluntly, about how difficult it would be to seal the border," he said.
Children brought here illegally, for example, didn't have a choice to come, Souder said.
If they can't go to college because they don't have legal status, "the logical reaction is crime and belligerence," he said.
Foxx said that North Carolina should declare English the state's official language and refuse to pay for English as a Second Language in schools.
She asked Jeffrey Jordan of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Charlotte, whether Monday's rally could have been a chance to check the immigration status of those gathered.
"Why not use that opportunity to go in and find out who's here illegally and arrest them?" Foxx asked.
Jordan said that "other than the ability to speak Spanish" and having Spanish surnames, there were no grounds to detain those at the rally.
Hispanics are "underrepresented" in the state-prison system, said District Attorney Tom Keith of Forsyth County, meaning that they make up a smaller percentage there than they do in the state. But Hispanics, many illegal, now make up about a third of new inmates sent from Forsyth County to state prisons for drug trafficking, he testified.
"You cannot say 'drugs' without saying 'gangs' without saying 'illegal aliens,'" Keith said.
Of the five witnesses testifying yesterday, three hold elected positions: Folwell, Conrad-Shrader and Keith. All are Republicans running for re-election, which drew criticism from Sandra Hoyle, an organizer of Monday's rally downtown that drew more than 1,500 people in favor of legalizing immigrants here illegally.
"It was very one-sided and it was designed to be so," Hoyle said. "It was obvious."
Foxx disagreed. "It had nothing to do with liberal and conservative," she said. "I don't think in those terms."
In an interview after the hearing, Souder said that the immigration debates are particularly difficult for Democrats and Republicans because they lead to internal divisions.
He estimated that nearly half of Republicans do not see problems with immigration as complex and think that Congress should enforce existing laws and deport those here illegally.
Souder, a conservative, said he gets criticism because he supports a worker-visa program.
In an election year, he said, the challenge is "working out a solution and not getting killed in your primary."
An immigration glossary
The following is a brief glossary of terms commonly used when talking about immigration issues:
• AGRICULTURAL WORKER: A nonimmigrant who comes temporarily to the United States to work in agriculture, as defined by the secretary of labor.
• ALIEN: Anyone who is not a citizen or national of the United States.
• DEPORTABLE ALIEN: Anyone in the United States illegally, whether they came fraudulently, or came legally and overstayed the terms of their nonimmigrant status. Undocumented immigrants fall into this category.
• GREEN-CARD HOLDER: Any noncitizen living in the United States permanently in a legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant. Also known as a "lawful permanent resident" or a "permanent resident alien."
• H-2A: The H-2A and H-2B category is used for applicants who are coming to the United States to perform a job which is temporary or seasonal in nature and for which there is a shortage of U.S. workers. H-2A refers to temporary or seasonal agricultural workers, and H-2B refers to temporary or seasonal nonagricultural workers.
• NONIMMIGRANT: An alien who seeks temporary entry into the United States for a specific purpose.
• REFUGEE: Any person who is outside his or her home country who is unable or unwilling to return to that country for fear of persecution. A limited number of refugees are approved for admission to the United States each year.
• SPECIAL AGRICULTURAL WORKERS: Aliens who came to work in agriculture before 1986 and were admitted for permanent residence under a provision of a 1986 immigration bill. Also known as an "amnesty" program.
Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
I guess the war on drugs is only being waged against American Citizens
What is so complicated about the issue. I am not the type of person who sees everything in black and white, but this illegal issue is plain as day!!
These stupid politicians are going to find exactly HOW MUCH crime the illegals bring in if we just let things continue on. To make matters worse, they have already broken the law and the government says it's OK???