Sunday, August 14


In recent days, Democratic Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico showed good sense and uncommon political courage, given the mindset of denial rife in the Congress and in the White House, to declare a "State of Emergency" in four counties in his state, owing to the deleterious impact of illegal immigration and illicit drug-running; similarly, local officials in Caldwell, Idaho, tired of the federal government's dereliction, began their own crackdown on illegal immigrants swarming their region; and, to his credit, even the mayor of Douglas, Arizona weighed into the fray, commenting on unsafe conditions along the Arizona-Mexico border in an article that also pointed to 220 attacks on U.S. Border Patrol agents since October 1st of last year.

Is it me or is the noise level building nationally at the local and state level that it's high time to quit the waiting game for President George Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress to do something about this nation's porous borders and run-away illegal immigration and to take matters into the hands of the people closest to the action and experiencing firsthand the crush of an illegal immigrant population that is conservatively estimated at 11 million?

Maybe the following is a further indication of that trend: a Houston city councilman, Mark Ellis, has written a column entitled Immigration Insanity -- What we can do to stop it and it's an above-the-fold column on the front page of the "Outlook" section of today's edition of the"Houston Chronicle" (registration required). Understand that Houston has a very large Latino population and within that population a large number of illegals, who cross through southern Texas via the Rio Grande Valley and seek jobs and housing in the 4th largest city in the United States. Mr. Ellis, like Governor Richardson, has shown courage in "telling it like it is" and risking the wrath of the open border apologists and Hispanic activist organizations, which are legion in Texas.

It's a credit to the councilman and I applaud him. His prescriptions:

Short of throwing out every congressman and state legislator who doesn't seem to get it, we can and should implement policies that at the very least discourage illegal immigrants from calling Texas home. We can do so with effective leadership at the state and local level that accomplishes the following:

• Repeal the sanctuary status granted by cities, including Houston.
• Provide clear legal authority to law enforcement to detain, arrest and prosecute illegals for both state and federal crimes.
• Establish systematic data collection for illegal alien use of public services, including our schools, hospitals and state welfare services.
• Prohibit and/or repeal at the local level the use of matricula consular ID cards.
These policies would benefit all including the communities my liberal friends presume to represent. Our hospital district could provide the care for which it was intended — for the poorest of our communities — and do so without constant fear of bankruptcy. Rather than being overwhelmed by a population that consumes dollars in a disproportionate ratio, our schools could concentrate instead on lifting those children who are at greatest risk — those from our inner cities who struggle in less-than-adequate schools. Our communities would be safer, our law enforcement more effective and our jails less crowded. Last but not least, property taxes would stop growing at exponential rates.

We have a federal system that costs billions and fails, and a state and local system that basically says: If you clear our border, welcome home. Other than our own, we cannot throw out every congressman across the nation who doesn't seem to understand. But we can, and should, force our local elected officials and our state legislators to take action that mitigates a failed federal system.

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