Tuesday, July 01, 2008

What should the U.S. do about the millions of illegal immigrants now living in this country?

From AJC.com:

In the weeks leading up to the July 15 primary election, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will pose questions to candidates for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Saxby Chambliss. Candidates are given 150 words to answer. The winner of the Democratic primary will face Chambliss and Libertarian Allen Buckley in November.

What should the U.S. do about the millions of illegal immigrants now living in this country?

The Republican

Saxby Chambliss
Congress must make every effort to secure our borders and enforce our existing laws. Illegal immigrants will then have no alternative but to leave. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats continue to block measures to stem the tide of illegal immigration.

I absolutely oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants. I co-sponsored a measure to fund border security, immigration enforcement and criminal alien removal programs. I introduced "The Effective Immigration Enforcement Partnerships Act of 2008" and I formed the Border Security and Enforcement First Caucus in the U.S. Senate.

We are making progress. We have increased the number of border security agents; construction of a border fence has begun; and we are training local law enforcement to fight illegal immigration at the local level.

Despite this progress, our healthcare, educational and judicial systems continue to be overburdened with illegal immigrants. I will continue to address this problem one legislative effort at a time.

*U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss is a former representative and attorney from Moultrie.

The Democrats

Vernon Jones

The failed amnesty bill supported by President Bush and rubber-stamped by Senator Chambliss is not the answer. We must secure the border and enforce the law.
*Vernon Jones is CEO of DeKalb County and a former state legislator.

Rand Knight

The United States must enforce existing immigration laws, fine individuals who employ undocumented workers; require employers to open jobs to American citizens first; run checks on social security numbers of all hires; give those here illegally a chance to start the process of citizenship – to be granted after they pay back-taxes; and we must act diplomatically to help other governments find ways to employ their own citizens. In Georgia, we benefit from the labor of undocumented workers. Many of these workers labor for below minimum wage and in jobs that few others desire to perform. Georgia's economy would suffer a major setback if the proposed immigration reform does not include recognition that both a social and economic transition must occur. While we all came here in separate boats, we're in the same boat now, and we must help this country to come together to eliminate injustice and restore our economy.
*Rand Knight is an Atlanta businessman.

Dale Cardwell

Most of us agree on the need to secure our borders and reform immigration. The problem is corporations that fund campaigns want something else: cheap, undocumented labor. If we break the stranglehold those special interests have on their "bought" politicians, we can base immigration reform on pursuit of the American dream: If you contribute to our economy (but don't take an American's job,) speak or commit to learn English, and want to assimilate, then you should have an equal chance to apply. At the same time, we must, in the next term of Congress, implement a foolproof document verification system (burden on the government) employers have to access before applicants can be hired. Going forward, illegal employers will be prosecuted for hiring undocumented workers. Illegals already employed will not be fired or "rounded up," but will have an incentive to go home, get in line, and legally pursue the dream.
*Dale Cardwell is a former investigative reporter for WSB-TV in Atlanta.

The Libertarian

Allen Buckley
Provide employers advance notice of potential audits and reliable means to verify legal status of workers that can be used only for employment purposes. Simultaneously eliminate food stamps for people able to work. After 90 days, audit employers in industries known to employ illegal aliens. Employers breaking the law could avoid substantial penalties only by offering jobs at 1.33 times the price paid to illegal aliens. For jobs not filled by Americans, illegal aliens could qualify for VISAs if they owe no taxes and pay a $5,000 fine and a $1,500 fee for immediate VISA eligibility. Illegal aliens unable to prove that all taxes have been paid for the preceding 4 year period would be required to pay the lesser of proven taxes due, interest and penalties or $10,000. The taxes due could be paid over a few years, with interest. Free transportation to Mexico would be offered.
*Allen Buckley is an attorney/CPA who lives in Smyrna.

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