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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Barrow wants to secure borders, crack down on employers, deny benefits to illegals

Larry Peterson writes in the Savannah Morning News:

Back from touring border areas in Arizona and Texas, U.S. Rep. John Barrow says he is more determined than ever to "stop the invasion."
The Savannah Democrat and half a dozen other congressmen spent two days near Tucson, Ariz., and El Paso, Texas. They saw border station facilities, met with border patrol and immigration officials and visited traffic checkpoints and border-crossing sites.

Barrow said Wednesday that he is committed to securing the borders before considering any so-called "comprehensive" immigration policies.
He has voted against so-called "amnesty" measures to let illegal immigrants stay in the country.

Nationally, both parties are divided on the issue.

But Barrow's position "is a winning one in Georgia," said University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock.

Earlier this year, Bullock noted, U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, both Republicans from Georgia, leaned toward a measure that included amnesty provisions.

"But they got caught in the firestorm of controversy and backed off," he said.

"What's going on at the border is not a photo-op," Barrow said. "It's the real thing. There is an invasion going on."

Barrow said more than half a million illegal immigrants a year enter the United States, and that depresses the wages of citizens as well as immigrants here legally.

"This is not a victimless crime," Barrow said. "The victims are workers who have a right to be here.

He said more fences, walls, detection equipment and - most of all, more border patrol agents - are needed at or near the border.

Facilities such as walls don't stop illegal immigrants but slow them down and extend the reach of patrol agents, Barrow said.

Moreover, Barrow said, employers must be required not only to ask workers for identification, but also check with the federal government to determine whether it is valid. That can be done by e-mail or by telephone, he said.

Barrow is backing a bill that would require employers to do so, but he doesn't expect a vote soon.

Lastly, he said, no federal benefits should go to illegal immigrants.

He dismissed a recent Krieble Foundation poll that found most Americans doubt that the border can be secured without a temporary worker program.
A general willingness to hire illegals - rather than a need for temporary immigrant labor - is driving the influx from across the border, Barrow said.

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