3.6.06

Stemming the tide

After another vacation, our representatives and senators are now back at work in Washington with the promise that they will finally do something about the overflow of 11 million illegal immigrants slipping into this country for the past 15 years. Arkansas felt the problem. Between 1990 and 2000, Arkansas had the fourth-fastest growth of immigrants in the United States. The Immigration and Naturalization Service estimates that the number of illegal immigrants in Arkansas increased from 5,000 to 27,000. Most of this growth is in Northwest Arkansas where chicken companies are operating. These new immigrants make up 5 percent of the work force ? one out of every four farm workers, one in every six cleaning workers and one in every seven construction workers. Last week in the streets of the big cities, thousands of the illegal immigrants (500,000 in Los Angeles alone) held rallies opposing any laws that might kick them out of the country. The Catholic Church helped them with their demonstrations. While the new illegal immigrants can?t vote, the Latinos who are citizens usually vote for Republicans, which explains why the Bush administration has done almost nothing to stop the overflow. Naturally, the Democrats wish the Latinos would get on their side, and so to date they have hesitated to do anything to stop the overflow, especially with the elections coming up this November. The president?s idea was to sort of legalize the illegal immigrants and let them stay here for a few more years, but then they would have to go home. If they came back, they would have to do it legally. The problem is that the National Immigration Forum says it is simply impossible to round up and deport 11 million people. Sens. John McCain, who would like to be president, and Edward Kennedy got together and came up with a plan that would let the immigrants work and not have to go back home. As you might think, restaurants, hotels and farmers liked their idea.

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