Accuracy in Media

The issue of illegal immigration has for a long time been a topic of
high political and economic contention in Washington, D.C. Being an
election year, many politicians are walking a fine road appealing to
both sides of the illegal immigration debate.

Speaking at the Heritage foundation recently, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said that “Illegal immigration is complicated, but it can be resolved.
And it must be resolved in a way that upholds both our laws and our
highest ideals.”

Sen. Sessions noted that “new statistics illustrate the effectiveness
of just a handful of targeted border activity. Illegal entries at the
border are down by approximately 20%. U.S. Border Authorities arrested
just under 877,000 illegal crossovers in fiscal year 2007, in the past
year the arrests were 1.1 million.”

He cautioned voters to ask candidates vying for Presidential nomination
their positions on illegal immigration. “More importantly, candidates
must demonstrate a firm personal conviction that illegal immigration
will end under their Presidency and a lawful system of immigration that
furthers a national interest will be created,” he added.

He said construction of a border fence should be among the tasks of the
next president. “Secure Fence Act of 2006 requires the construction of
700 miles of fencing on the Southern border (not virtual fencing but
actual fencing), to date less than 200 miles have been constructed.” He
added that the Bush Administration promised to construct additional 370
miles of fencing by the end of this fiscal year.

Sessions also called on the next President to make illegal
border-crossing a felony. He said “according to (internal documents)
documents of Department of Homeland Security, it is critical that the
second offense of illegal entry carry a minimum sentence of 30 days in
jail and that a third offense carry a minimum sentence of 90 days in
jail.” “If elected President, will you deter illegal entry by expanding
the already successful zero tolerance prosecution policy from three to
twenty border sectors and support statutory mandatory minimums for the
crimes of illegal entry and re-entry for conviction of a felon?” he

Noting that this would be a challenge given that there are only 20,000
Federal Immigration Officers within the United States, he proposed that
“we need to partner with the 700,000 State and local Law Enforcement
Officers who are central to effective interior enforcement.”

He also observed that “27% of our Federal prison population is composed
of non-citizens (and these are not people being in prison as a result
of being stopped at the border), these are for drug crimes and violent
crimes and crimes of that nature.”

He believes that best way to deal with illegal immigration is through
the provision of tamper-proof identification card and employment
verification. He said “The president of the National Border Control
Council told our Senate Judiciary Sub-Committee that the only
meaningful solution to dealing with this problem is to go after the
root. We have to cut off access of people to having jobs in this
country who have no right to be here. Today the employment verification
system at the workplace still does not work.
The tamper-proof identification card for any aliens authorized to work
in our country is essential to a modern enforceable employment system.”

He added that “we are a nation of immigrants and this history disposes
us to favor immigration and causes us to have great sympathy to those
who desire to come here to achieve a better life.”

However, he noted that special interests, business and political action
groups in Washington, D.C have undermined meaningful resolutions to fix
the illegal immigration issue. One very active action group is the
Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, a group formed in 2005 to “ensure
there was an Irish voice in the nationwide debate over immigration.”
Sen. Sessions says that a combination of these interests “has resulted
in what I think is one of the most extensive and long processes of
unlawfulness and political deception.”

For decades now, the U. S. Congress as well as a number of
American presidents repeatedly promised to fix the immigration system
and many laws have been passed to that effect. In fact in some cases
there are laws that overlap exacerbating rather than ameliorating the
problem. For instance, employers are required to ask for identification
document when hiring people. However, employers cannot reject someone’s
identification document even if it looks suspicious or else the
employer is immediately susceptible to anti-discrimination lawsuits
under the Equal Opportunity Employer Act.

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