Commentary by Donna Locke:

The Tennessean
Many of us are outraged by lawbreaking, not by law enforcement. Sob stories go both ways.
Most of our “illegal” immigration comes from Latin America, mainly Mexico. The Mexican government has long interfered in our country’s affairs and has pushed to get millions of Mexicans into our country in a blatant money and power grab.
In 2016, Mexico got more money from remittances its emigrants sent home, a record $26.9 billion, than it received from oil revenue. Mexicans aren’t the only migrants doing this. Tennessee should place a fee on these remittances, as Oklahoma does.
Seventeen years ago, I viewed a tape recorded undercover by off-duty Latino officers of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service in Georgia. Several INS officers there had formed an immigration-control activist group that allied with a group I was in.
These immigration-enforcement officers were furious, and much of that anger was directed at our government, which was, and is, undermining its own citizens. Our government’s policies have greatly increased the dangers immigration and local police officers face.
The Georgia tape showed a Mexican official instructing a room of Latino “illegal aliens” on how to evade U.S. laws and how to tap into our welfare system. When presidents talk about deporting only “criminal aliens,” actually all adult “illegal aliens” are “criminal aliens.”
That’s what those words should mean, not just murderers and rapists. “Illegal aliens” have to commit a number of crimes, such as fraud and driving without a license to remain in this country.
As for welfare, more immigrant households are getting it than are households headed by our native born, according to Census data and a study from the Center for Immigration Studies.
Our laws say that, except for refugees and asylum seekers, we’re not to admit immigrants likely to become burdens on the American people. Well, that happens every day, and a profit-making industry is devoted to bringing in refugees, automatically eligible for welfare.
Assorted research indicates that immigrants who come here with modest levels of education cost us far more in services than they pay in taxes, especially if they have children. Our country is generous, but we can’t save everyone.
The American Farm Bureau, among others, has lobbied for amnesty for “illegal aliens” and for bringing in more foreign workers. A documented “Latinization” of the fields was accomplished decades ago by systematically running American, primarily black, workers out of those jobs. This history was reported by Dr. Monica Heppel, a former director of research for the U.S. Commission on Agricultural Workers.
Sixteen years ago, the Tennessee Farm Bureau lobbied our legislature for driver’s licenses for “illegal aliens.” That law was passed, then essentially repealed after the mess it caused in this state and after the terrorist attacks in 2001.
The H-2A visa program provides an unlimited supply of legal, temporary guest-workers to agriculture. The Farm Bureau isn’t satisfied with that and wants amnesty that would legalize current “illegal” workers, freeing them to seek other jobs, meaning the Farm Bureau would then call for more foreign workers.
We’ve had amnesties. The trick one under President Reagan was supposed to be the last. It wasn’t.

Donna Locke is an immigration-control advocate who lives in Columbia.

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