Americans Must Come Together to Address the Problem of Illegal Immigration

By Meg Whitman

Californians are on the front line of the immigration debate in America. As such, California has the most to gain from sensible immigration reform and the most to lose from the failed status quo. It’s no surprise that the rest of the nation is looking to California for leadership on this issue.

In a post 9-11 world, illegal immigration is more dangerous than ever. And yet, legal immigration is no less important to America’s economic success. If the next great inventor lives in India, China or Mexico today, we should welcome that inventor coming to America legally to create jobs and prosperity here. If a segment of our economy has a shortage of American workers, then we should look across our borders for guest workers who can help American businesses succeed by working here legally, but without full U.S. citizenship. Finally, our doors should always be open to honest and well-intentioned people facing the terror of political oppression in their homelands. Closing our doors to legal immigration would be counter to everything our nation stands for.

But our nation also stands for the rule of law. Our porous borders have allowed millions of illegal immigrants to live in our country. Most are hardworking people who chose to break the law to find a better life for themselves and their families. Sadly, some are here for criminal reasons, like smuggling drugs.

Illegal immigration burdens our local economy and law enforcement, causing enormous hardships. It diminishes the services Californians pay for with the tax dollars they sacrifice to the state, while allowing illegal workers to escape paying some taxes. Ultimately, illegal immigrants live in the shadows and fail to participate fully in American life, something that hurts us all.

What has bothered Latinos for too long is the harsh rhetoric around the immigration debate. Too often, the debate has been tinged with hurtful words signaling intolerance or worse to many Latinos. For other Americans, the debate has lacked real recognition of what illegal immigration threatens to do to our society and national identity. Both sides are often deeply at odds.

In the end, we must have a thoughtful conversation with each other about the real issues and solutions. California’s rich Latino heritage cannot be simply dismissed, nor can the real safety and security concerns of an unsecured border be ignored. We should all embrace America’s cultural progress and diversity, but we can never forget that American citizenship is central to our nation’s future. We are successful because we are both a nation of immigrants and of laws.

During the Republican primary for governor, I took what I deeply believed was a thoughtful course. I strongly opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants, but also voiced my opposition to Proposition 187 and Arizona’s new immigration law because I don’t believe these are the right policies for California. I supported a strong U.S. border but also supported a guest worker program as the best way to get the workforce we need into a legal, tax-paying and temporary status. I was attacked for taking these positions, but I held my ground, because it was the right thing to do. California does not need divisive laws that will be litigated for years and do little to solve the problem.

We must find a fair and practical solution to the status of the millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. But this can only occur after we have convinced Californians and the American people that the federal government has finally delivered on its promise to secure the border. Until that point, there can be no effective immigration reform. In the short term, I agree with President Obama and many Republicans in Congress that deploying the National Guard should be an option to augment the resources we currently have at the border.

In this race, my Democratic opponent, Jerry Brown, has said very little about most issues, including immigration. However, from what he has said, former Governor Brown appears to share many of my positions on immigration. He, too, is against Proposition 187 and opposes Arizona’s new immigration law. Former Governor Brown joins with me to oppose driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. He has endorsed tougher sanctions against employers who hire illegal immigrants and spoken out against sanctuary cities, and he opposes blanket amnesty that would grant full-citizenship rights without first requiring illegal immigrants to pay a fine and learn English.

Clearly, when examining our positions on immigration, there is very little over which Jerry Brown and I disagree. Latinos seeking a candidate who supports amnesty for illegal immigrants won’t find one on the gubernatorial ballot this year.

I believe that the real choice for Latinos in this election is over which candidate is going to be better at creating jobs and fixing our education system. And on these issues, Jerry Brown and I could not be more different.

I know that for the Latino community, excellent public schools and a state full of good jobs are the key to seeing the next generation reach the American dream. Unlike Jerry Brown, I have a plan to address both.

On education, I have the courage and independence to stand up to the entrenched union interests that too often stand in the way of fixing our schools. The union bosses sadly forget that schools should be about helping classroom teachers get what they need to really teach our children, not what is best for the powerful teachers’ unions.

As a leader from California’s business community, I also know how to create good jobs. I know why jobs are leaving California and I know exactly the steps to take to keep and increase the number of good jobs in our state. Jerry Brown has a long history of supporting polices that have cost California jobs. In his second term as Governor, Brown’s policies resulted in a near doubling of the unemployment rate.

I believe that by the end of this campaign a majority of Latinos is going to agree that our state can’t afford to turn the page back to another failed Jerry Brown governorship. A Whitman administration will always be open to the Latino community. Working together, we can build A New California where jobs are plentiful, our schools lead the nation in excellence, and every Californian has the opportunity to succeed.

Meg Whitman is the Republican candidate for California Governor. She is the former president and chief executive officer (CEO) of eBay, Inc., an online auction site.

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July 7, 2010  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

Comments

8 Responses to “Americans Must Come Together to Address the Problem of Illegal Immigration”

  1. Penny Magnotto on July 15th, 2010 12:01 pm

    Thanks for this opportunity to opine on Meg Whitman’s bid to serve as governor of California. I have just read this article, ‘Americans Must Come Together to Address the Problem of Illegal Immigration.’ It doesn’t take a genius to read between the lines of Ms. Whitman’s editorial (I doubt that she wrote it because even the most egotistic of individuals wouls find fault with the wording and pseudo-concern offered in this piece). The header in itself, says much about the writer; Hey Meg, we’ve already “COME TOGETHER” and expressed our frustration and anger that NOBODY is doing a darn thing about the continuous flow of illegal (not undocumented) aliens into our sovereign nation. We’ve considered the issue and concluded that there should be little doubt as to how we handle those who have repeatedly breached our border(s). As for the visa overstays, most of us feel that even they should not be given special consideration. It’s amazing to me that no matter how many ways the feds and the pro-amnesty folks try to spin things, WE the PEOPLE remain convinced that self-deportation can be achieved! We need to shut down the borders and ramp-up security at U.S. ports of entry. America is quite adept and successful in securing foreign countries; borders and ports, so While these measures are being implemented. Massive notification (newspaper ads, Post Office flyers, and publications available in all local and federal government agencies) should be posted

  2. Penny Magnotto on July 15th, 2010 12:13 pm

    Typically, this publication has made leaving a comment very difficult for me. Why? Because I am writing the TRUTH! Meg Whitman is a LIAR.
    She is not fit to serve the state of California. This editorial, if written by Whitman, is proof that she is just another self-serving (potential) politician. She has bought her way into the election, and will do anything in her power and with her considerable WEALTH to WIN. California does not deserve this kind of “leadership.” In closing, I’d point out that this piece is riddled with tired old political rhetoric. The wording is beneath an average reader. By now, we Americans (Californians) have become quite astute at dissecting political jargon. This article is chock full of it. It’s boring, worn-out and beneath those who might save California. NO! to Whitman, NO! to Brown. !YES! to candidate, Chelene Nightingale…a true American patriot. It’s time for fresh new blood in the Cali Governor’s Mansion.

  3. Penny Magnotto on July 15th, 2010 12:21 pm

    Interesting how you “saved” the comment that was CUT-OFF as I was typing…be careful, folks, of what you have to say. If they print all of my comments (3, counting this one) my first comment above, as you can see, was left “as-is” because I was not PERMITTED to finish it. What a rag.

  4. Cindy on July 15th, 2010 12:30 pm

    Meg how about we in Arizona just send you all of our illegals and let you and California citizens come together to find a solution. That way it’s YOUR tax dollars hard at work supporting them and not mine. I hear San Fransisco and San Jose (Ebay’s headquarters) are both sanctuary cities and will welcome our illegals with open arms. They are all yours!

  5. mesay yimer on July 16th, 2010 6:06 am

    I HAVE A BIG PROBLEM IN MY COUNTRY I CAN’T WORK I CAN’T GO……….I CAN’T MAKE ANY THING PLEASE HELP ME

  6. Robert Lonquist on July 16th, 2010 1:04 pm

    Hey Meg, if elected you will take an oath to uphold the laws of California. Will you uphold this law? The last section forbids you and all other government officials from limiting the enforcement. Sanctuary cities are breaking the law and should be prosecuted.

    Penny stated it above; we have come together. 60%+ of Americans and 74% of Arizonians agree with AZ SB1070. Like many weak suck politicians you are on the wrong side of this issue.

    Criminal/Illegal aliens are no longer just migrant farm workers they are taking construction, industrial and service jobs from people who actually have the right to be here.

    California Penal Code
    834b. (a) Every law enforcement agency in California shall fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.

    (b) With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the following:

    (1) Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, an alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time or as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of immigration laws. The verification process may include, but shall not be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date and place of birth, and entry into the United States, and demanding documentation to indicate his or her legal status.

    (2) Notify the person of his or her apparent status as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws and inform him or her that, apart from any criminal justice proceedings, he or she must either obtain legal status or leave the United States.

    (3) Notify the Attorney General of California and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status and provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity.

    (c) Any legislative, administrative, or other action by a city, county, or other legally authorized local governmental entity with jurisdictional boundaries, or by a law enforcement agency, to prevent or limit the cooperation required by subdivision (a) is expressly prohibited.

  7. Craig on July 18th, 2010 7:53 am

    I agree with Cindy and I live in Sacramento. I really just wanted to point out that the huge ad next to the editorial is in spanish. REALLY?

  8. Les M on July 26th, 2010 10:33 pm

    I have voted republican most of my life. I never have been a single issue voter. However illegal immigration is ruining our country and anyone who takes the time to examine the evidence knows this. I’m so outraged over Meg’s flip flop on illegal immigration I simply won’t vote for her period. I won’t vote for Jerry Brown either so I’m sitting this one out.

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