News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Illegal immigration not all about working

What a U.S. attorney described as a major drug bust this week focuses directly on Decatur and its problem with illegal aliens.

To most of us, the name Oscar Xicotencah Salomon, 34, if we heard it, might suggest a hard-working Hispanic who probably was in the U.S. illegally. Even by the other names that U.S. Attorney Alice Martin said this suspected drug kingpin uses — Javier Hernandez, Jose Delores or "Lo Lo," — local residents would see him only as part of the changing landscape in North Alabama and the United States.

But according to Ms. Martin, he was living in Decatur and was head of a drug organization that pumps cocaine and other illegal drugs throughout the region.

In all, agents made 29 arrests, with 27 of the suspects being illegal immigrants.

Federal agents, Ms. Martin said, worked with local and area agencies in a two-year investigation of Mr. Salomon's activities.

Most workers with Hispanic names are honest, hard-working people. Many of them are here legally; others are part of the relentless wave of illegal immigrants who continue to come to the U.S.

The nation's lax enforcement of immigration laws contributes directly to drug trafficking because it's much easier for dealers and suppliers to blend in once they cross the porous Southern border.

The suspects are innocent of the drug charges until found guilty in court, but most of them are guilty of illegal entry and should have been deported long ago.

Neither Congress nor President Bush yet has the gumption to deal honestly with the immigration problem.

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