Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made the announcement.
Story from the Wall Street Journal.
One of the toughest issues is likely to be what to do about millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. Ms. Napolitano called for a “tough and fair pathway to earned legal status,” including “registering, paying a fine, passing a criminal background check, fully paying all taxes and learning English.”
Not included in her list was a requirement that illegal immigrants leave the country, and re-apply for legal entry. In 2007, many members of Congress said they couldn’t support a program of mass legalization in the face of opposition from constituents and activist groups critical of easing the road to legal immigration for those who had already violated the law.
Lamar Smith (R-TX), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, voiced concern in a statement Friday about Ms. Napolitano’s proposals. “How can they allow 12 million illegal immigrants to take jobs that should go to citizens and legal immigrants?” he said.
Why do people oppose illegal immigration?
Consider this article posted at the Heritage Foundation by Congressman Lamar Smith.
Today, anywhere from 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants are in the U.S.–enough to populate America’s three largest cities, New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Half a million more enter illegally every year.
Those who would do us harm respect no borders. For instance, four of the 19 terrorists who attacked us on September 11, 2001, were in the country illegally. Border security equals national security.
Illegal immigrants also depress wages and often take the jobs of legal workers. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, low-skilled workers lose an average of $1,800 a year because of competition from illegal immigrants for their jobs. That’s a huge economic hit.
The highest unemployment rates among Americans are in the occupations with the highest number of illegal immigrants. Almost one-quarter of all African-Americans and 40 percent of all Hispanics do not have a high school degree. These low-skilled legal workers are the victims of porous borders.
Some say there are jobs Americans won’t do. But that demeans Americans who work hard in every occupation. Any honest job is a worthy job.
There is another cost to illegal immigration besides lower wages and lost jobs. Communities and taxpayers pay the bills for their education, health care, and government benefits. Overcrowded classrooms, long waits at hospital emergency rooms, and expensive government services result from a failure to secure our borders.
In California alone, hospitals spend over $1 billion a year on health care for illegal immigrants. And the National Research Council has found that an immigrant with less than a high school education will, over his or her lifetime, impose a cost on taxpayers of $89,000. It is unfair to force legal residents and taxpayers to continue to pick up the tab.
Some say the taxes illegal immigrants pay offset the costs of providing them education, health care, and government benefits. But, at their low wages, most illegal immigrants don’t even pay taxes. And when they do, their taxes don’t cover other government services, like maintaining highways, providing for our national defense, and taking care of the needy and elderly.
Also, at their wages, if illegal immigrants participate in Social Security, they will get back $100,000 more than they pay in, further bankrupting the system for everyone else. The cost of illegal immigration is staggering. And it is growing by the minute.
Gateway Pundit comments on what Democrats stand to gain from pushing through another amnesty. I feel badly for all the skilled immigrants who play by the rules and have to wait for years and pay thousands of dollars for green card processing fees. My understanding is that you can only apply for a green card through marriage or employment, and employers almost never sponsor workers due to Department of Labor regulations. I am for increasing legal immigration of skilled immigrants who work hard and play by the rules.