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posted: 8/18/2014 5:01 AM

U.S. must fix, enforce immigration laws

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As President Obama considers sidestepping Congress to loosen U.S. immigration policy by giving work permits to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, a Reuters poll shows that 70 percent of Americans are deeply worried illegal immigration is threatening this nation's culture and economy.

A report in September of last year indicated that 11.7 million illegal immigrants are residing in the U.S. In Illinois, the illegal immigrant population has remained constant since 2010 at 550,000.

Although the unemployment rate in IL dropped to 7.1 percent in June of this year -- not counting individuals who have stopped looking for jobs -- it was still 1.0 percentage points higher than the national rate for the month.

Meanwhile, the cost spent per year by Illinois taxpayers on its illegal immigrant population is $4.6 billion. About $2.6 billion goes toward educating the children of illegal immigrants.

Most of the unaccompanied children crossing the border from Central America will not be sent back, as they fall under the bipartisan William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, which allows them to qualify for refugee status.

Even so, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on July 29 asked the Department of Homeland Security to send at least 1,000 more illegal immigrant children to Chicago. The city is already caring for over 500 of the kids in secret facilities.

The Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals legislation of June 2012 must be repealed. This is the right thing to do with a federal government facing a rapid and unsustainable growth in debt and the American people overburdened with taxes.

It is also time laws already on the books are enforced.

Nancy J. Thorner

Lake Bluff