Posted on 09/04/2006 2:04 PM EST
Neugebauer Compares Hispanic Community to Terrorist Organization - Hezbollah
It’s time we insist on an open and honest discussion about the immigration problem in this country. Unfortunately, Randy Neugebauer continues to depend on misinformation and “party-line” statements to make sure District 19 residents are misled into returning him to office in November.
At an Olney campaign stop last week, Neugebauer suggested that, like the Hezbollah terrorist organization in Lebanon, the Hispanic community in the United States wants to take control of our country. He further declared that over half of the prisoners in the federal prison system are “foreigners.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
According to the Department of Justice, less than one in five federal prisoners as of July 2005 were non-citizens. Someone needs to tell Mr. Neugebauer that having brown skin does not make one a “foreigner.” That’s an attitude from another era, used to scare and misinform people and Neugebauer is using this kind of rhetoric to further divide this country on this important issue.
It was wrong then and it’s wrong now. It is especially shameful to hear this kind of statement from an elected member of the House of Representatives. Mr. Neugebauer should apologize to the Hispanic community today.
We all agree that we have a problem with illegal immigration in this country. We don’t really know the magnitude of the problem, but we certainly know the cause. Illegal immigration is caused by American business and its insatiable appetite for cheap labor. That’s why the Republican Party has ignored the issue for so long and it’s why the Republican response to the outcry from their base is to blame the immigrants rather than the business community. Immigrants have no money, while business lobbyists finance the re-election campaigns of Mr. Neugebauer and other Republicans in Congress. Scapegoating immigrants won’t stop them from crossing our borders; scapegoating the entire Hispanic community is clearly not the answer.
So how do we address the illegal immigration problem? We start at the source – design a system by which employers can verify the documents submitted by their workers and then enforce fines and penalties against employers who hire undocumented workers. Give employers the opportunity to apply for legal work visas for valued members of their current workforce who are undocumented and make them follow the rules for all future hires. Once we eliminate the demand for illegal workers, the flow of immigration across our borders will fall immediately, making it possible for the Border Patrol to do its job.
To address the concern that many citizens of other countries use our hospitals and other social services, document the citizenship of people to whom we provide those services and then bill their governments for the cost of care and services provided. We don’t need to turn sick people away from our hospitals – with a little diplomacy and encouragement; we can ensure that their home countries reimburse us for reasonable costs.
These aren’t draconian proposals. They’re just common sense.
Unfortunately, common sense is in short supply in Washington DC these days. We have a chance on November 7 to change that. We can have sensible government, but we have to vote to get it.
Editor’s Note: The writer is the Democratic candidate for the 19th Congressional District. Randy Neugebauer is the incumbent.
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