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American taxpayers under siege

POSTED: June 23, 2010 4:00 a.m.

While the steady stream of illegal immigrants continues to flood American streets, our country’s leaders do nothing more than offer a political nod to securing our borders.

  

President Obama is sending 1,200 troops to Mexico, just enough to plug a tiny fissure in the gaping chasm that is our border security.  Honest, hardworking American taxpayers are footing the bill for the more than 10 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. today. Taxpayers are under siege; they simply cannot sustain the financial burden of millions of undocumented immigrants who cross our borders each year. 

  

Rather than protecting American citizens from wasteful spending, high crime rates and illegal drugs, President Obama and Speaker Pelosi invite Mexican President Felipe Calderón to our nation’s capitol to bash Arizona’s new immigration law.

  

Calderón should be asking himself why millions of people are fleeing his country on a daily basis, rather than standing on U.S. soil criticizing our laws. 

  

Amid cheering on Calderón’s criticisms of the U.S., Obama and Pelosi conveniently avoided the fact that it’s because of the federal government’s inaction that states are carving out their own rules to protect taxpaying citizens. 

  

Arizona is being invaded by illegal immigrants daily, a population that has surged from 115,000 in 1996 to a half million today, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

  

The state’s education, medical and prison systems are buckling under the financial weight of paying for millions of people who don’t return a dime in tax revenue. The situation in Arizona is simple enough: do nothing and watch the state go bankrupt under uncontrollable immigration flows. Enforce current laws and watch the state stabilize its economy while curbing crime and drug trafficking. 

  

Fed up with surging numbers of illegal immigrants, states around the country are following in Arizona’s footsteps by introducing similar legislation of their own. Georgia is no exception. During this year’s legislative session, I drafted a more streamlined version of Arizona’s bill to curb our state’s illegal population, estimated at around 490,000 in 2008.

  

Georgians spend more than $1.6 billion in illegal immigration costs each year, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform. The bill was drafted late into the session and missed the deadline to be introduced, however, expect it to be re-introduced next year. 

  

Georgia was thrust into the spotlight of the illegal immigration debate after law enforcement found that Kennesaw State University student Jessica Colotl has been living here illegally for over 10 years.

  

It’s important to note that Colotl began applying for American citizenship only after she got caught. While it wasn’t her choice to come here illegally as a child, at a certain age she knew she was breaking the law. With aspirations of becoming a lawyer, she should know the difference between right and wrong.  

  

Colotl’s case represents the millions of taxpayer dollars spent each year to educate people who have no right to that money.

  

The State Board of Regents received more than $5 billion in the 2010 state budget, using that money to educate undocumented students across the state.

  

As Georgia continues to struggle with the ever-escalating cost of higher education, each valuable seat should belong to those who earned their place legally in that classroom.

  

Colotl is taking a spot that belongs to one of a thousand legal immigrants who abided our country’s laws to earn a better education.

  

In 2006, I co-authored a bill that would have solved this very problem, prohibiting any undocumented student from enrolling in a public university. 

  

Under that legislation, not a single eligible student would have lost their seat to an unlawful occupant.

  

This week I joined 14 other senators in signing a letter to the Board of Regents urging the board to fully comply with state and federal law by making sure only legal residents are attending our publicly subsidized colleges and universities. 

  

I’m not against immigration; I’m simply against illegal immigration.

  

I want people to come to our country in pursuit of the American dream, to be successful and contribute to our economy and society. I just want them to do it legally.

  

The left-wing likes to argue that immigrants are treated unfairly because the process to citizenship takes too long. If they don’t like the process, they should work to change it.

  

Just because it’s a lengthy procedure is no excuse for the blatant abuse of our country’s laws.

  

Like Georgia, more states are following Arizona’s lead to strengthen their immigration laws. If enough states follow suit, we can end the siege on American taxpayers.

   

Sen. Chip Pearson serves as chairman of the Economic Development Committee. He represents the 51st Senate District, which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Pickens and Union counties and portions of Forsyth and White counties. He may be reached at (404) 656-9221 or via e-mail at chip.pearson@senate.ga.gov.

 

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