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Border guards on the Hernando-Desoto, or, Be careful what you ask for, or Jingo bells, jingo bells...

Over at B. Krumm's blog, he is polling us as to what is the most pressing issue that will confront Tennesseans over the next year. The last time I looked, 'illegal immigration reform' was about to lap the field.

I have a few questions: 1) What do we want the state legislature to do about illegal immigration? 2) Other than anecdotes, do we have any real information about the damage, if any, illegal immigrants are foisting upon the 'legal' population in Tennessee?

Do we want border guards on the Hernando-Desoto or check-points backing up traffic for miles and miles and miles?

We hear that TennCare is paying out fifteen million a year to handle the medical costs of illegals, but if you read the fine print, this is reimbursement to hospitals for emergency room expenses, NOT paying claims to undocumented workers directly. In the recent hearing on illegal immigration and Tenncare, there was NO evidence presented that illegals were actually being added to TennCare.

Federal law says that emergency rooms can't turn anyone away who presents with an emergency situation. Yeah, if the illegals weren't here, they wouldn't be presenting, but that leads to another question: how are you gonna round em' up and shiveree em' out of Tennessee? Talk about an expensive proposition........

Do we really want people with untreated TB or other communicable diseases walking around without care? Do we really want children going without immunizations? These are the questions you have to answer if you want to deny people health care based on their 'legality'.

The truth is, these people ARE paying taxes. The ironic effect of a regressive means of taxation (sales tax), is that everyone (including illegals) pays. Nobody checks for papers at the check-out counter at Krogers.

Another truth is, if the jobs dry up, the parade of illegals to Tennessee dries up. We do have a wonderful 'free' country here, but living here isn't free, and money is doing the talking and the walking with this issue.

I'm tired of being anecdoted and told we have a problem, without seeing any real evidence. I'm not saying there is no problem, but I want to know what it really is.

Jingoism and xenophobia may boost ratings for talk show hosts, and probably engenders comments I read recently that Nolensville Road is becoming a junior Tijuana (obviously the commenter has never been to the real Tijuana), but hot air does little but produce steam.

Yeah, we could bump up the penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants, but the truth is, we don't have the means of enforcement, and it would probably do little than cause employers do a more efficient job of keeping illegals off the books.

I'm not saying that our nation's borders should be opened and unguarded. I just don't see how we can legislate here in Tennessee, based on anecdotes, ignorance and fear.

Can you honestly say that illegal immigrants have had a detrimental effect on YOUR life?

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About me

  • I'm John H
  • From Salemtown, Tennessee, United States
  • Cruising past 50, my wife and I have reared three kids and several dogs. I work for state government and daily conspire to deflate bureacracy.
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