Thu, July 18

America needs sound immigration policy

The American Legion, a veterans organization of 2.7 million members, urges the Congress of the United States to adopt an immigration policy that will eliminate social, economic and population problems resulting from rampant migration of illegal aliens into the United States. To accomplish this, the Legion seeks a limit on legal immigration and the elimination of illegal immigration. It calls for the elimination of visa categories for adult offspring, siblings and the diversity visa program, the restriction of eligibility for certain publicly-funded assistance, the implementation of a nationwide system to verify worker eligibility and the resources necessary for effective border management and interior enforcement of immigration laws.

The American Legion recognizes the value of legal immigration and has been a leader in helping newly naturalized citizens assimilate into our society. The Legion has provided literature to immigrants, participated in naturalization ceremonies and have mentored our new naturalized citizens. But it our belief today that our country can no longer accept large numbers of legal immigrants when over 10 million aliens are in this country illegally. Our society cannot absorb these individuals without causing irreparable harm to our economy, our national security and the welfare of future generations of Americans.

Key positions on immigration held by The American Legion include the following:

Amnesty and Guest Worker Programs

The American Legion is opposed to any program, policy or directive that would grant illegal immigrants legal permission to remain in the United States. This includes legalization, earned status adjustment or earned access or any guest worker programs that do not require illegal immigrants to leave the United States and apply for the program through their country of origin.

The Legion opposes any and all forms of amnesty to illegal immigrants. Amnesty programs reward criminal behavior and it penalizes those who follow the laws of the land. The Legion does not oppose guest worker programs that offer no amnesty to illegals.

Employment of Illegal Immigrants

The American Legion supports strict enforcement of employer sanctions as called for in current employment laws, assessing civil penalties to employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens. It is our position that all foreign visitors in this country carry a U.S. government issued identification document, made as secure as technology allows, that is verifiable by any employer or benefit agency through an easy-to-access central database.

Border Security

The American Legion urges Congress to adopt an immigration reform policy that will secure this country's borders against those attempting to illegally enter the United States. This may include such measures as the hiring and training of additional U.S. Border Patrol agents with employment preference afforded former members of the U.S. armed Forces, the deployment of military resources where appropriate, and the construction of barriers (fences) in selected areas.

The American Legion has no position on citizen groups monitoring the border, as it is the Legion's belief that this responsibility belongs to the federal government. The Legion does not condemn nor endorse such action.

Enforcement of Immigration Laws

The American Legion calls upon all agencies of law enforcement to work together in the enforcement of immigration laws by sharing database information on individuals who are determined to be a threat to the security of this country. It also calls upon the federal government to authorize and encourage state and local law enforcement agencies to arrest and detain individuals, including illegal aliens, who are suspected of violating the immigration laws of the United States.

Tracking Immigrants within the United States

The American Legion urges Congress to pass legislation that would prohibit acceptance of certain foreign-issued forms of identification when it is determined said documents lack credibility, authenticity and accuracy of information when used in the application process for federal, state and local government-sponsored public services.

The Legion also supports the tracking of foreign students in this country and that their attendance at college and universities be closely monitored. It is also the Legion's position that institutions failing to cooperate with the federal government in this regard be ineligible for federal student loan monies benefiting foreign students.

Oppose Benefits to Illegal Immigrants

It is the Legion's position that all illegal immigrants be denied Social Security benefits, unemployment compensation, and other types of taxpayer supported forms of public assistance. The American Legion opposes any legislation or executive order that would allow illegal aliens and others who are in this country illegally to receive in-state tuition rates, federal or other government education grants and assistance to attend a college or university in the United States.

Finally, The Legion opposes any great influx of legal immigrants and that immigration be on a moderate and regulated scale in numbers that enable them to be readily absorbed into the culture and life stream of the United States of America.

Keith Tucker is the commander of American Legion Post 93, Camp Verde