Column for September 7, 2006
At the risk of sounding like Mel Gibson after a night of drinking, I did want to bring to the forefront something that is pretty much already there. I am not getting on the bandwagon on this topic, but have been blowing this trumpet for almost two decades now.
When school bonds are reaching $1 billion in a neighboring county and Johnston County Schools are looking for more money and space, I wonder why. I have read figures that estimate that as much as 52% of our school's increase in population is because of illegal immigration. Just within the last week, I read news reports that Johnston County Schools have increased enrollment by about 1500 students this year. 52%, folks.
Some statistics show that illegal immigrants cost the U.S. Government $2700 more in services than they pay in taxes. That does not account for the local costs of schooling, medical care, law enforcement, accommodations of foreign languages, prison populations, court costs, and various public assistance programs.
Roughly 60% of Selma's residents are property renters. The remaining 40% of us, in reality, shoulder the burden of responsibility for the services used. Many of these renters are in fact illegal immigrants. I need only to sit on my front porch steps or visit Wal-Mart on Sunday to realize this.
If the federal government is going to continue to abrogate their responsibilities in regards to securing our borders for the sake of national security and immigration control, then it is unfortunately left to our local governments. The State of North Carolina has not "stepped up to the plate" so it is unfortunately left up to the local counties and towns to take care of the issue.
Visit the emergency room at the local hospital, the county health department, and read the police report in this paper. Tell me that we are not paying for these services as taxpayers. Tell me that it is appropriate that we should continue to pay for free medical care, education, food stamps, welfare, and coming soon to an alien near you, Social Security benefits for those who flaunt the law to enter this nation. We should not tolerate this as taxpayers any longer.
One town, Hazleton, Pennsylvania, realizes the drain on their finances, not to mention the moral consequences of allowing illegal immigration. Hazleton started denying business permits to companies that hire illegal aliens, fining landlords who rent to illegal aliens, and made English the official language of the town.
The Town of Selma has passed measures that help curb the hemorrhaging of money because of non-paying utility customers. If we started requiring proof of legal status of immigration for utility customers and business owners, that would help cut that problem down. Forget what the State says about how we should run our town in that regard. They don't pay our bills, hire our employees, or run our utility. Let's have the courage to do what is right rather than what is required.
If the federal government is going to continue to abrogate their Constitutional responsibility, it becomes our responsibility by default to do something at the local level, even if it is not pleasant or seems hateful.
I do not comprehend why any government official would not want to take action against the continuing waves of illegal aliens draining our resources. When our towns and our schools are feeling the crunch, it is time to have the guts to do something about the problem. I applaud the town leaders in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. They had the fortitude to stand up and refuse to take the burden any longer, which is the morally and fiscally responsible thing to do.
I can only hope that leaders in Selma and across the nation will have the spine necessary to deal with this issue. It is not an easy thing to do, is not popular with some groups, but it is the right thing to do, in my opinion. By the way, my position on this has absolutely nothing to do with race or culture. It has everything to do with the rule of law, financial responsibility, ethics, and fairness. Period. My opinion is my own and does not necessarily represent that of the staff or management of this newspaper, though it probably should.