News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Sessions, Aderholt going right direction on illegals

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions persisted in getting the Senate to appropriate $1.83 billion in an amendment to the 2007 defense spending bill to build more fencing along the southern border.

The money will go to the Army National Guard, which President Bush enlisted in helping border patrol officers.

The senator was in the county Tuesday, along with U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, for a ceremony at Eva to break ground for a water treatment plant. Both men talked about illegal immigration and the war in Iraq.

On the war, they are for staying the course, which is the Republican Party line. But on illegal immigration, they sharply differ with President Bush's call for a guest worker program that would allow undocumented workers to gain legal status.

On the war, they fall into the same rut as most humans who don't have a ready solution. In such instances, most people usually continue doing the same thing, even when the results don't change.

But on illegal immigration, they are gravitating toward a workable policy of issuing counterfeit-proof identification cards and making employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers.

As of yet, however, their emphasis is on closing the border at strategic points, which will only result in new crossing sites.

Expelling illegal workers and issuing hefty fines to their employers is a sensitive political problem for Congress. But using the $1.83 billion appropriation differently could go a long way toward starting to sort out the legal immigrants from the undocumented ones and begin a systematic program of expelling the illegal ones.

Sen. Sessions is correct in that a guest worker program amounts to amnesty. To continue the same unwritten policy on immigration that's gone on for years, like staying the course in Iraq, won't solve the problem; it will simply will produce more illegal workers.

Dry up the jobs and the illegal workers will return home on their own and save the government the expense of deportation.

Congress should do that or change the law.

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