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Guest Editorial

Mike Farrell

Here are the facts, According to recent reports, there are between 14 and 21 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. today. Last year, three million illegal immigrants crossed our borders, and this trend is expected to continue. So they’re here to stay. Many proponents to the amnesty plan purport our economy would suffer greatly under such a plan aimed at controlling our borders; in addition, Mr. Clyde (of famed "More Dogs on Mainstreet") stated, "I’m not sure I believe that they are taking jobs away from anybody in the U.S. I know I’m not looking for work eviscerating chickens all day."

This is a fallacy. Illegal immigrants fill one out of every four agricultural jobs, 17 percent of all office and house cleaning positions, 14 percent of construction jobs, and 12 percent of those who work in food preparation. It is estimated that undocumented workers account for 5 percent of the workforce in the U.S. Do not be fooled, there are great incentives to businesses, government and the workers alike current estimates indicate $400 billion dollars in taxes are not paid based in our "underground economy."

So, perhaps Mr. Clyde considers the thought of disemboweling a chicken carcass grotesque; he would find good company with undocumented workers. The old adage, "they’ll do what the American worker won’t," drives me absolutely crazy. Of the jobs alluded to earlier, and the 5 percent of the workforce occupied by undocumented workers, I’ve simply got to wonder what the 4.8 percent of legal Americans in the United States today who do not have jobs would say to that.

First of all, relating the Terri Schiavo case to the immigration debate is simply ludicrous; furthermore, insinuating Sen. Frist (a physician have you) and Santorum would have made a life or death decision based on a patient’s immigration status is preposterous and irresponsible.

Physicians and health care workers treat patients regardless of legal status, which is where I come to my second point. In 2004, it was reported that uncompensated cost of medical care for illegal immigrants was $1.4 billion, while total uncompensated education, health care and incarceration costs were estimated to be $10.5 billion.

Most illegal immigrants are treated in the emergency room, while rarely in physicians offices in the interests of preventative care (our own People’s Health Clinic does this tremendous service for those who do not have health care coverage). However, with the general costs of health care compounded by uncompensated treatment has put a tremendous strain on our health care system.

Hospitals (especially in California where three million illegal aliens reside) are forced to close, and in the end, who do you think the high costs of treating patients for free filters down to your insurance premiums.

I think Jimmy Buffett is right, "The cosmic bakers took us out of the oven a little too early." Of all the pseudo-half-ass-attempts to control our borders, I’m somewhat puzzled no one in Congress has decided to tackle the issue from the other side of the border.

Meanwhile, Presidents Fox and Bush were sipping margaritas in Cancun (make Bush’s a virgin) this week toasting the flow of immigrants to our country, but no one wants to get aggressive with Fox. Bush is clearly being played like a fiddle, so as an addendum to his "guest-worker" policy, how about the withholding of foreign aid we deliver to the country of Mexico to repay our taxed health care, educational and jail systems&so how’s the tequila going down now? Can I have the worm?


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