Gurney's Inn
April 19, 2006

Dealing Rationally With Immigration

Unfortunately, the question of how to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants inside our borders has turned political.

Washington lawmakers are bandying about several ideas on how to deal with the problem. What they are forgetting is, barring a massive build-up of INS manpower, we can't enforce the laws already on our books.

The only logical way to find out who is here is to allow the immigrants amnesty. In return, we will identify them, get them social security cards, and get them on the tax rolls. To punish the intruders would be to create an entire class of criminals, and while those who enter our borders legally should be commended, it is simply an unworkable solution to punish those who haven't too harshly.

Locally, the debate rages over whether or not to have hiring halls for the hundreds of workers looking for work.

First of all, this is a local matter — people from other townships, like the ones from Farmingville that turned up at last week's League Of Women Voters debate last week, should stand down.

Those of us who live here, regardless of how we feel about the matter, need to understand that there is something illegal going on whenever a contractor picks up a laborer. There are no taxes being paid, there is no insurance of the laborer, and the contractor is breaking the law. Only when our local municipalities make an all-out effort to attack this problem at its core can we begin to understand it.

Put another way, if the contractors are punished each time they are apprehended (it happens every morning in broad daylight) the practice would presumably virtually cease, and the workers would stop coming here looking for work. At that point, we wouldn't need a hiring hall.

If in fact we build one anyway, each worker should have to produce a social security card or some other legal documentation, and every contractor would have to be licensed and on the books. Otherwise, the hiring hall would be a place where illegal activity is knowingly condoned.

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