Fast Focus: Follow the law

December 9, 2012 

-- JACALEE B. MICHAELIS, Benton City

Immigration has been an emotionally "hot topic" dating back to the 1800s. Bottom line: There are laws and guidelines in place and until they are updated or changed, coming into the country without following them means people are breaking the law. We don't have the right to pick and choose which laws to enforce and which to ignore. My mother-in-law came to the U.S. from another country in the 1940s and had to undergo several steps in order to be granted U.S. citizenship.

Additionally, providing state assistance to someone here illegally consumes strained resources, reducing availability to citizens who need aid to pay rent, buy groceries or acquire medical care. In a poor economy and living in a state whose budget is already overextended means difficult choices have to be made. Immigration reform must include holding people accountable for ignoring our laws; if, as a country we decide to open our borders or relax some of the requirements for citizenship, then future immigrants will benefit from these changes, provided they follow them. In the meantime, when someone is identified as engaging in illegal activity, then appropriate consequences must follow. Being in this country illegally is no exception.

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