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Guest Editorial

Find a place for some, not all, immigrants

BY DANIEL B.KLINE

Illegal immigrants drain our resources. They tax our health care system and their children clog our schools. Supporting them costs the average, taxpaying American money and the public should be outraged that our government has allowed this to happen.

Of course, illegal immigrants also do the jobs that most legal citizens consider beneath them. They clean our toilets, watch our children and harvest our fruits and vegetables. Perhaps when you consider the vital role played by these undocumented visitors who simply want to be Americans - with all the rights and responsibilities that entails - we should be outraged that our government hasn't found a way to welcome these people to our country.

The question of allowing illegal immigrants a way to attain legal status or of showing them the door should not be one of politics. It's easy for Conservatives to advocate kicking everyone out, but that argument comes with no explanation of who will fill the role of these people in our society. It's also easy for Liberals to push for an open door policy, but they have only weak explanations for how we might pay for all these new citizens and the services they would be entitled to.

On one hand this massive influx of non-citizens has already taken advantage of our generosity. Their children cannot be denied admission to our schools, which requires an increase not only in regular classes, but creates the need for bilingual education. We also don't require proof of citizenship at the doors of our hospitals, shelters, soup kitchens or any other charitable services.

If you consider the argument for illegal immigrants being a drain on society, than you must acknowledge that having no legal status makes it difficult to rise above the lowest level of society. Jobs that don't require documentation tend to not offer health insurance and it's next to impossible to amass the financial resources to deal with adversity when most doors remain closed to you.

Basically, the current system makes it impossible for people without documentation to rise above the lowest level of society. Under this system an undocumented worker must put in long hours to even afford to eat badly and live poorly.

Legalizing these immigrants would not immediately alleviate the problems and expenses they create. Their presence would continue to tax our schools and as citizens or official residents, they would be eligible for a variety of social services.

But, giving these men and women legal status would theoretically allow them to better their situation and become contributing members of our society. Legal immigrants would also pay taxes, advance in their jobs and some, perhaps many, would give more to America than they take.

Law-abiding, working, illegal immigrants should have a place in American society, but their rights should not come at the expense of people who are already citizens. Instead of taking a hard line and kicking all undocumented people out or a liberal one and simply opening our borders, we must find a way to allow in people who can add value to our society and keep those out who simply seek to live off our largesse.

Daniel B. Kline is the author of "50 Things Every Guy Should Know How To Do," which is available in book stores everywhere. His blog can be viewed at www.thingseveryguy.com and he can be reached at dan@notastep.com.

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