Environmental Impact Study Must Precede Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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By Michael W. Cutler

Mike is a Senior Fellow with CAPS and retired INS Senior Special Agent. During his 30-year career with the INS he rotated through all of the squads within the Investigations Branch. He was assigned to the Unified Intelligence Division of the DEA and for 10 years was assigned, as an INS Senior Special Agent, to the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force. He has testified at numerous hearings conducted by committees and subcommittees of the House and Senate and provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission.

He hosts "The Michael Cutler Hour" on USA Talk Radio Fridays at 7 p.m. (EST) and is frequently interviewed by broadcast media on various aspects of immigration issues, especially the nexus to national security.

The writer's views are his own.

June 2, 2013

Environmental laws are often stringently enforced whenever major construction projects are under consideration. Environmental impact studies are generally required before major construction projects are initiated. Their purpose is to minimize the potential for causing harm through unintended consequences to ecological systems. This  becomes more important issue when findings indicate that wildlife species may be forced into extinction. 

In1973 a freshwater fish, the snail darter, a member of the perch family, was first discovered. Its habitat was freshwater found in East Tennessee. Shortly after it was discovered, environmentalists determined that it might be pushed to extinction by the construction of the Tellico Dam which would block its migratory route.

Because a rare fish might be harmed, construction on a vital dam was halted. The debate over the snail darter went all the way to the Supreme Court which ultimately ruled that the dam could be constructed. This snail darter was transplanted to other locations to help insure its survival.

Today, Congress is debating the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, S. 744. This sweeping legislation's negative impact, should it be enacted, would be felt  from coast to coast and border to border. It would do irreparable harm to national security and the middle class Americans' survival. 

Because it would add millions to our population, S. 744 would impose huge stresses and burdens upon critical infrastructures in towns and cities across the United States. 

Today, even without comprehensive immigration reform, the United States admits more than one million lawful immigrants each year. Tens of thousands of foreign workers with temporary non-immigrant visas enter the United States to work legally. Many of these  are high-tech workers. Some non-immigrant visa holders violate the terms of their admission by overstaying and continuing to work. They compete with Americans for jobs. During many months, more foreign workers enter the United States than the number of new jobs created.

Additionally, illegal aliens enter the United States by entering without inspection, the process that is supposed to keep out aliens whose presence would be problematic. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is essentially static at about 7.5 percent. But those numbers are so disconnected from reality and meaningless.  That percentage ignores Americans who have exhausted their unemployment benefits and have given up looking for work as well as millions more Americans who are underemployed and whose standard of living has plummeted dramatically.

S. 744 would roughly double the number of high-tech workers that could legally work in the United States and would legalize tens of millions more foreign workers who would gain an equal standing in the labor market with American workers.

Politicians who may join the “Eight Gangsters” to ram S. 744 through the legislative process couldn't care less about the adverse impact that this would have on beleaguered American workers and their struggling families.

S. 744 would put the nation's vanishing middle class at further risk. But Congress seems indifferent since the future of  hard working Americans and their dreams aren't part of the S.744 debate.

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