Illegal immigration tarnishes America - A controversial Idaho county commissioner calls for blocking our borders

By Robert Vasquez, published on Tidepool, September 14, 2005

As a Canyon County commissioner in rural Idaho, I live every day with the consequences of our hypocritical immigration policy. Federal officials say it is our policy to block illegal immigration, but our southern border is so open than millions of people manage to come through, overcoming the desert's hazards of killing heat and rapacious "coyotes" who lead them to this country for outrageous sums of money.

What we have established is a cruel gantlet for young Mexicans and other migrants from central and South America desperate for work. While that may be cheap labor for many farmers in my part of Idaho, the downside is a culture that has become lawless. I say all this as a Mexican-American myself, the grandson of a Mexican immigrant.

...I have been called a racist, a bigot, a hate-monger and a turncoat.

But there is nothing racial in my analysis. The only color involved in this issue is green &endash; the color of money. I continue to protest this onslaught of illegal aliens because I believe in America and the priceless value of U.S. citizenship, because as an American citizen I have an obligation to my fellow citizens to warn of any danger to our nation's security and sovereignty....

America is flooded with illegal aliens intent on taking American jobs. They are willing to work for rock-bottom pay, driving down wages for other workers -- many of whom are minorities.

Illegal aliens export U.S. dollars to Mexico, contribute to the bankruptcy of our health care system, siphon off limited resources from our social service programs, force American schools to accommodate the presence of children whose parents are not committed to the community, and they relieve the political pressure on Mexican President Vicente Fox for much needed reforms.

Because I believe that employers should be held accountable for knowingly hiring illegal aliens and taking jobs away from Americans, I have spearheaded a lawsuit, joined by my fellow county commissioners, against four major agricultural companies and the nonprofit Migrant Council. We charge them of conspiring to hire and aid undocumented workers in violation of the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Better know as RICO, the law was designed to target the Mafia, but I think it is appropriate here....

I have tried repeatedly to call attention to these problems, even attempting to have Canyon County declared a disaster area. I have also sent a bill for more than $2 million to the Mexican government for the county's cost of serving Mexicans who live here illegally.

Though the Idaho Statesman recently called my politics "hate speech," many people I talk to in Idaho tell me I am one of the few elected officials willing openly to address the problems of what feels like an invasion.

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