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News - Should there be an amnesty for illegal Mexican immigrants?

Yes. Bush's poorly conceived sop to a portion of the Hispanic population just might convince lawmakers that some thoughtful statesmanship is in order

One need not venture far afield for compelling evidence of our dependence on Mexican labor. Check any constrution site, auto repair shop or restaurant, and chances are you'll find a workforce comprised largely of Mexicans. Drive south to farmlands where armies of Mexicans sweat it out in fields of peanuts, beans and sweet Vidalia onions. Head to north the Gainesville, where the Mexican tricolor might as well wave over numerous chicken processing operations, so solidly is that country represented on the cleaning floors.

But just working hard doesn't entitle illegal immigrants to an amnesty.

Take a trip to any metro courtroom. Watch the numbers of frightened, poor, often uncomprehending Mexican immigrants being slapped with monstrous fines and lengthy jail sentences while complacent judges, quota-driven prosecutors and overwhelmed public defenders swallow their revulsion and pretend The System works just fine.

But being ground between the gears of America's aptly titled "criminal justice system" doesn't entitle illegal immigrants to an amnesty.

Take a look at the balance sheets of the companies, lawyers, doctors, stores, newspapers and radio stations that thrive on the business Mexicans support. Take a look at the taxes — yes, many of which are never claimed by illegals working under phony Social Security numbers — paid by Mexicans living and working here.

But serving as a cash cow for American business and government doesn't justify an amnesty for illegal immigrants.

So why support one? Because the realization that our "special" neighbor to the south and its hemorrhage of citizens may justify such drastic measures is just the first blinking eye of a national awakening. When George W. Bush, of all people, is willing — however briefly, and however sincerely — to concede that neither fencing nor armed guards, jails nor deportations, is sufficient to staunch the flow, it is only a matter of time before that reality becomes apparent to all.

If this blatantly political amnesty does come off, the resultant cries (completely justified) from every other immigrant, legal or otherwise, in this country will demand that some fairness be returned to our entire immigration system. The cries (completely justified) from conservatives that rewarding lawbreakers with a green card will only spur more immigration will help us look for ways to foster decent development in Mexico.

Perhaps most of all, Mr. Bush's poorly conceived sop to a portion of the Hispanic population might — just might — convince lawmakers here and in Mexico City that some thoughtful statesmanship is in order.??





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