Let me get this straight. Senator, you want to legalize people who enter our sovereign nation illegally, ignore our immigration laws, steal our identities and lie to employers. People, who draw from our public services, get free health care and education, all paid for by you and me and American taxpayers. And, if I'm reading this right, many if not most, of our illegal visitors fail to pay taxes while sending huge sums of money back to their homeland.
Excuse me, am I the only one that sees something wrong with this? Isn't it apparent that this deal is one-sided, and not in the best interest of the United States?
As I travel across this nation as the spokesman for The American Legion, people tell me they are frustrated, upset and concerned that little or no attention in this national debate has been given to national security implications. Some say that more Americans are being killed in the United States by illegal aliens than are dying on the battlefields in Iraq.
Sometimes they remind me that 30 percent of our federal prison population is illegal aliens and more than half of them have committed multiple crimes. The sad reality is that most of them will be released on our streets to commit more crimes; crimes against we, the American taxpayers, who are unknowingly funding their very existence in this country.
Yes, I know. I've heard the arguments. They are just hardworking men and women who come to this country to better themselves and to feed their families. But at what cost to the United States? Can we say with complete assurance that this is all they want?
Millions of illegal undocumented people in this country are a security time bomb and the clock is ticking. It is imperative that we, as a nation, put our national security up front, priority number one, when considering an immigration reform plan. The bill being considered in the U.S. Senate does not do that and leaves this nation vulnerable to acts of terrorism.
Local and state law enforcement agencies that do not report violations of immigration laws to federal authorities are gambling with our safety. Similarly, cities and municipalities with sanctuary policies for illegals are aiding and abetting. They are putting our nation at risk and recent history has proved that.
Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 terrorists, was stopped several times for traffic violations but his immigration status was not checked. If it had been, almost 3,000 people who perished that day might be alive today.
Earlier this month, Dritan Duka, Dljivir Duka and Shain Duka were arrested and charged with plotting to attack military bases and slaughter American service men and women. They might have been successful if it were not for an observant store clerk who reported their suspicious behavior.
Authorities had many opportunities to end this conspiracy but they did not check their immigration status. The Dukas were stopped 75 times for traffic citations and other violations between December 1997 and May 2006. Since they lived in a "sanctuary city," law enforcement officials missed 75 opportunities to uncover the conspiracy and protect American lives. Instead, it was the observant store clerk who saved the day.
The American people have reason to be upset with our government because it is not doing its job. It's time to put Americans first by dealing with illegals as uninvited visitors to our sovereign soil. Illegal aliens are trespassing and they are threats to our security. Let us pray that our elected representatives will come to that realization sooner rather than later.
(Paul A. Morin is national commander of the 2.7 million-member American Legion, the nation's largest veterans organization.)