11/19/08 — On the loose: Law enforcement officers speak out on illegals

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On the loose: Law enforcement officers speak out on illegals

They have been telling us for years -- there is a significant problem with crime and illegal immigration.

Law enforcement officers from around the country have been saying over and over that there is a reason to be concerned about the number of crimes committed by illegal immigrants -- and that they are often powerless to do anything about making sure these offenders are sent on their way.

And now, finally, we are getting some statistics.

Sheriffs in seven North Carolina counties have identified more than 3,100 people in their jails processed for deportation proceedings this year, according to news reports this week.

And, by the way, just in case you missed it, that does not mean that the sheriffs are able to definitively say that those offenders are on their way back to where they came from, either.

The problem with illegal immigration, not just in the border states but all around the country, is that the system is so overwhelmed that it cannot handle the oversight necessary to get these criminals sent back to their home countries when they are caught violating the law.

Law enforcement officials are understandably frustrated. They work hard to get the investigations completed and the charges filed only to have the criminal, in essence, relocate.

The problems associated with illegal immigration are more than figuring out how to pay for the services these people need. It is about more than Spanish language debates and concerns regarding how to provide adequate education for the children who often come with them.

Illegal immigration is becoming so much more of an issue because it is becoming increasing harder to regulate and control.

There are many good people who choose to come to the United States in search of a better life. We need to make it possible for them to take advantage of the citizenship process and to get their chance to become legal residents.

But there are also those whose purpose here is less than noble and who have no respect for this country's laws or the responsibilities that accompany living here.

We can't wait any longer to figure out a way to weed them out and to send them back home.

And if we don't come up with a plan soon, an already overwhelmed system is going to collapse -- and we will have a much bigger and more expensive problem.

Published in Editorials on November 19, 2008 10:54 AM