One thing you can always say about a Don Cole cartoon, like the one on immigration two weeks back: he's consistent. He may not illustrate any understanding of the issue, or offer any illumination on possible solutions, but he always knows who's to blame: President Bush and them damn Republicans.

As public opinion rages over deportation, amnesty and guest worker programs, the issue is, at its center, a very simple choice. Either the U.S. has a controlled, secure border or it will have an open border. If you demand deportation of illegal immigrants, it is doubtful you can ship them out faster than they return through a porous border. A guest worker program will get few takers if it is easier to help yourself into America than stand in line for a chance to get into a limited government program. Offering some sort of amnesty to illegal aliens currently in the country is a sure way to open the floodgates even further, the amnesty offered in 1986 to 3 million led directly to the problem we have today, only now with 11 to 12 million.

The first step, even before the debate over what to do with all the undocumented aliens in the country already, is to secure the border. Laws against being in the U.S. without permission must be enforced, by national, state and local officials. Laws against those that encourage and support illegal aliens staying in the U.S. must also be enforced, meaning not only sanctions against employers that hire them, but also against those civil servants that provide non-citizens with welfare, unemployment and other public benefits.

Finally, fences must be erected at the borders, wherever it is deemed practical and necessary. Laws can be vigorously enforced or not so vigorously enforced, but a good, high physical fence stops people crossing illegally into the country regardless.

If the flow of illegal aliens into the country can be reduced by 80 to 90 percent, the number of illegal aliens will stop increasing and start decreasing. Then we can debate over the best solution to a shrinking problem, as opposed to the worsening crisis we now face.

Of course, for those that like the idea of open borders, we can continue on our present course. You may find yourself shocked, though, when your taxes double, as we extend all the benefits of citizenship to a world that bears none of the responsibility of supporting our systems.

Brett Malin

Seaview

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