When we consider the concerns with immigrants entering into the country illegally, the most urgent is preventing terrorists from entering the country undetected.
The vast majority of illegal immigrants are not coming here with malicious intent. However, despite their good intentions they are indeed putting a burden on the country. More importantly, the overwhelming volume crossing the border illegally makes it nearly impossible to find, catch and deal with the few malicious terrorists.
Whenever solutions are discussed, many Americans believe that increasing border security will stem or even stop the flow of migrants illegally entering the country. Although increasing border security would indeed help, it is not an end-all solution. Even the Berlin Wall, possibly the most secure border of our modern day, still had an estimated 5,000 people who illegally crossed the border and official records show 136 people died attempting to cross.
A group of 27 illegal immigrants turned themselves into Border Patrol agents June 17, in Mission, Texas, part of the Rio Grande Valley. Communities in Texas are overwhelmed by the increased number of illegal immigrants. More than 1000 people are apprehend everyday in this sector. Photo Sara A. Carter/TheBlaze.
Sure, 5,000 people over a 29-year span sounds like a relief compared to our problem today, but the Berlin Wall was only 96 miles compared to our southern border of nearly 2,000 miles!
We do need more border security, but is there a more efficient way to stem the tide of migrants flowing in to the country? The answer is yes, and the good news is we already have the system in place: E-Verify.
E-Verify originated in 1997 and is a free system where employers can verify through the internet that their new employees are indeed citizens or legal workers. Although initially set up as a voluntary system, individual states have passed legislation requiring employers to use it.
The program has been effective in preventing companies from hiring illegal immigrants, but many migrants work around E-Verify by working as independent contractors, running their own business or even by working out a deal to get paid in cash under the table.
Using E-Verify for hiring - by itself - is not a big enough deterrent. If we expanded this system to include those enrolling in our publicly funded schools, those who want to buy houses, rent houses or buy cars from car dealerships, then how many people would still be willing to risk coming here illegally?
Elliseo Delgado of Scranton holds his 4-month-old son Angel Jesus Delgado as his daughter Kate Delgado, 8, talks to him during a Mass for the well being and ethical treatment of immigrants at Saint John Neumann Parish at the Nativity of Our Lord Church in Scranton, Pa., on Sunday, Sept 8, 2013. Elliseo come from Mexico and now lives with his children in Scranton. (AP Photo / The Times-Tribune, Jake Danna Stevens)
When E-Verify began, many companies were hesitant to participate in the program because a 2009 audit showed that it only had a 58 percent accuracy rating. However, the 2012 audit showed vast improvement with a 90 percent accuracy rating. Even more important to note than the accuracy rating is the effectiveness a policy like this would have as a deterrent.
A few years ago, the state of Alabama attempted to pass a law that would only allow legal residents to be able to enroll in public schools. Before the law was blocked by a federal judge, a mass exodus began of illegal immigrants from Alabama.
What parent would seriously consider coming to America if their children couldn't attend public schools? How many people would risk coming here if they couldn't buy a house, rent property or buy reliable transportation?
Overall, E-Verify expansion would address two issues: It would slow down the massive influx of illegal immigrants coming into the country and it would be the answer for identifying the millions of those that already here. If E-Verify expanded, many illegal immigrants already here in America would start looking for coyotes to help them get back to their country of origin.
This August 15, 2012 file photo shows young people waiting in line to enter the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) office in California, on the first day of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Democratic US President Barack Obama failed on his promise of immigration reform, and Republican challenger Mitt Romney has employed harsh rhetoric against illegal immigrants. Now both need the acquittal of Hispanics who feel disillusioned by one and threatened by the other. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Expanding E-Verify in this manner would still have the MAJOR obstacle of overcoming the oft-cited Supreme Court ruling Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982). This ruling has been used recently by the Obama Administration to support illegals attending our public schools.
Assuming this ruling could be addressed, a "comprehensive immigration plan" would still need to prioritize rebuilding our legal immigration system and would need to include revised procedures pertaining to border security. Revising those procedures would be easier considering Border Patrol agents would now know that those attempting to cross the border would either be adults only coming here for work without their children, drug dealers or terrorists.
No more unaccompanied minors, no more families making excuses to break the law because they "just want a better life for their kids," no more breaking up families, no more excessive burden on Border Patrol, and no more tax dollars paying for the schooling of non-legal residents.
Like border security, expanding E-Verify is also not the end-all solution. It would make it easier to address border security, allow us to concentrate on improving our legal immigration system and make it easier to stop terrorists from entering the country.
Robert Rees is radio talk show host on 98.3 The Torch in Des Moines, Iowa and can be heard at http://983thetorch.com or contacted via his website http://TheRobertRees.com
Feature Photo Credit: Getty Images
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