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An Illegal Alien Is Not An Immigrant

by Paul Oreffice

As Congress continues to debate two ludicrous “immigration” bills, illegal aliens continue to deluge American borders.

If Congress is going to make any progress, it is imperative to begin by using the proper terminology, namely, an illegal alien is not an immigrant. The U.S. does not have an "immigration" problem. An immigrant is a person who obtains an immigration visa from a U.S. Consulate, expresses a wish to become a U.S. citizen, and abides by the law.

The problem Americans are facing is one of ILLEGAL ALIENS, not immigrants -- brought about by total neglect of the U.S. government throughout several decades. Democratic and Republican administrations alike have allowed the Immigration and Naturalization Service to become a bureaucracy that makes it difficult for legitimate people to come to this country but does precious little to stop the illegal aliens.

As a direct result of misusing the word "immigrants,” Congress is creating a negative connotation of immigrants. This results in a prejudicial mindset, causing Americans turn against immigrants in general, not just illegals. This is a terrible disservice to a country that has prospered for more than two centuries by allowing hardworking immigrants to assimilate and aid in the overall prosperity of American society.

In theory, the House bill will send 12 million illegal aliens back to their native countries. Just how does the government expect to find them? In addition, the Senate bill lacks the wherewithal to effectively enforce its agenda. The bill will reward the worst transgressors, those who have cheated for the longest period of time and send back illegal aliens who have been here less than two years. Again, how are we going to find them? Do the esteemed senators expect those here for a short time to say, “I have been here only one year, please send me back?”

To effectively control the illegal alien problem threatening our country, I propose a three pronged approach:

  1. Strengthen America’s borders

  2. Revamp the utterly inefficient INS, by allocating a tough businessman to strip it down and begin anew

  3. Create a guest-worker program.

I listen as my fellow conservatives (including those at HUMAN EVENTS) scream that creating such a program to "cleanse" the illegals would be tantamount to amnesty. But amnesty would be giving illegal aliens an immediate pardon. In contrast, a guest-worker program is akin to placing illegal aliens on probation, giving them a chance to clean their record over a period spanning many years.

Why should the U.S. government grant a probationary period, allowing illegal aliens to prove themselves? The answer is simple. America needs them! Without the 12 million illegal aliens our economy would suffer a mighty blow. Who would we find to take the jobs in construction, hotels, restaurants, and gardening, which these men and women are doing effectively?

The charge is often heard that American businesses are willfully hiring illegals. In most cases this is just not true; instead, employers may be hiring illegals unwittingly because of the ease with which documents can be forged. The burden of determining the validity of green cards, Social Security cards, and driver's licenses should not fall on employers who lack the means to determine the truth.

The solution is not rocket science. Simply create an ID card that is difficult to forge with a chip embedded in it that all immigrants must carry and present when applying for a job. After this is accomplished, the government should hold employers accountable for hiring illegals, and in turn, punish them if they hire immigrants without proper ID.

The solution exists to solve the problem of illegal aliens now and in the future. To do it, we need a national resolve to force our Congress to be realistic about what the problem truly is, and what needs to be done to effectively solve this epidemic.

This article was originally published on

About The Author

Paul Oreffice is the former CEO of Dow Chemical. He was born in Italy, immigrated to Ecuador and then traveled to America -- legally -- in search of the American Dream. His new book, "Only in America: From Immigrant to CEO," details his amazing journey.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

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