Symposium 2011: Most everyone, Democrat and Republican alike, agrees that we must control the border. How do we achieve a secure border? Was the intent of the 14th amendment to grant citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants? Should illegals receive welfare benefits or tax credits?

RMC:  Thinking Outside the Boxe has long thought that a real border fence is impractical.  We’ve supported both a virtual fence using cameras and drone technology as well as an increased presence of military personnel on the border.  Now that we’ve got a lot of troops coming home from Iraq, let’s reposition them on the border with Mexico.  If we need more manpower, let’s recruit more people into the military so that we can secure and protect our border.  These Mexican drug cartels aren’t going to take on the whole U.S. military.  There won’t be much competition there.


I do not believe that children born here to illegal immigrants should be granted automatic citizenship.  That clearly was not the intent.  The 14th amendment was passed during Reconstruction to protect the citizenship of freed slaves.  These were people who were brought here against their will and for generations worked as slaves.  This is somewhat different from people who came here illegally and have resided here illegally.  It’s absurd to think that the child of two foreigners who are in the United States illegally—they’re not citizens remember—should be granted citizenship here just because they were born here.


No, illegals shouldn’t get these benefits.  Easiest way to ensure illegals don’t get benefits—national ID cards.  Here again, this is a controversial issue.  I understand the concerns about this, but it’s pretty simple.  Everyone here who drives has to go get a state issued driver’s license.  If you want to travel, you need a passport.  If we all had a national ID card much like a passport, it would solve a lot of issues when it comes to illegals—without that national ID card they couldn’t get a job, open a bank account, receive any type of government benefits.


Sydney:   It’s hard to imagine that there is much more that can realistically be done to achieve a secure border. It’s pretty difficult to stop people crossing into the United States when there is no natural border (such as an ocean).


Obviously the original intent of the 14th Amendment was to grant rights to African Americans, not to grant citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants. On this basis the children of illegal immigrants should be regarded in the same way as their parents.


I think illegals should receive welfare benefits of some sort. You can’t let people starve. I don’t really think they should receive tax credits though, unless they are making a decent contribution to society in which case they should probably become U.S citizens anyway.


Cartwright:  I think it is ridiculous that any American would want to give citizenship to a child born here to two illegal immigrants.  If they were here legally and had become citizens, yes, but clearly the 14th amendment was designed for another purpose. It wasn’t instituted to protect the children of people who sneaked into this country and have been taking from the system without giving back their share.


There are a few ways we can go about this.  First, we can do nothing and just let the people keep sneaking in here.  If there aren’t any jobs for them, however, there’s no real incentive for them to come here.  So, let’s make it tough for them to get a job.  If you can’t prove that you are a United States citizen or are part of a legal guest worker programme, you can’t get a job.


Second, we load up the border with the U.S. military and shoot anyone coming across.  I don’t think these drug cartels are going to have a border war with the whole U.S. military.  I certainly think we use drones to assist as well.


Third, we build a wall all the way across the border.  In front of the wall there is a moat filled with alligators and water moccasins.  The wall has barbed wire and spikes and all kinds of deterrents.  At the top of the wall, we’ve got the militia armed with machine guns.  Now, if you can make it over the wall and both feet touch the ground on the U.S. side, you’re in.


Sadly, however, we’re probably not going to do anything.  We’ll just keep letting them wander across the border and infiltrate America.


Michigan:  Let’s get serious.  If we would take only the money that is given for trying to grow corn in the desert of Africa, we could protect our border.  Should we make these drugs legal and charge a tax at the border?  Is there ever going to be a time when there is no demand for drugs?  Drug running is a major source and maybe the only source of income for a lot of these people in Mexico.  We catch them, send them home, they get a new load and come back.  Some of them we jail at the average cost of $15,000 per year to the taxpayer.  We need to get serious or continue this cat and mouse game—until the mouse wins.

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