South of the Border

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Last year, I took my wife and kids to Mexico with our church.  We built a home for the Gonzalez family near Tijuana, on land that the family had bought through years of hard work, while living with their chickens on the dirt floor of their shack. Before we got there, teenagers Pablo and Jose Luis carved an amazingly flat building site out of a steep hillside, using the rustiest shovel I have ever seen. Now, it cost me thousands of dollars to build this house, and I had to shut my business down for a week. But I was happy to do it after it was clear to me that the Gonzalez family is hardworking and law-abiding.  They simply had no opportunities.

Returning back to the United States, I saw the debate over illegal immigration in a new way. One extreme supports amnesty. The other extreme wants to shoot them on sight.  Our President has sued Arizona to prevent enforcement of federal law. The California Supreme Court has ruled that undocumented students should pay subsidized in-state tuition fees. Now I hear calls for Congress to vote on the Dream Act. which would give college financial aid to undocumented teenagers.  Hold on a minute. This is crazy.

There are 500 million people south of our border. If we create a welfare state, and give the welfare to foreigners, how many will come here with their hand out? What will these young people do, if we give them a free education? Will they begin to pay taxes, or will they continue to cheat the system in more sophisticated ways?

I'm happy to have foreigners of all kinds come to this country.  But let's use some common sense. Everybody needs to put in more than they take out. For hundreds of years, ancient Rome allowed non-Romans to become citizens, but only after serving in the legions for 25 years. I'd rather help a bright kid like China Gonzales to earn her way through college, instead of giving a free ride to a kid that's been taught to break the rules.

With a perspective, I'm Joe Madden.