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Guest Column: Obama's Immigration Policy is Wrong

I am a legal immigrant to this country. My parents and I followed the law, waited in line and did things the right way at a cost of significant time and treasure.

By State Rep. José Aliseda
Jose Aliseda

Suppose for a moment that you are the victim of a theft of a substantial amount of money. Let’s suppose further that you know who the perpetrators are. They are your neighbors, a mother and/or father criminal team, who have used and are continuing to use their ill-gotten gains to build a home next to yours and provide their children with a nice lifestyle. You go to law enforcement expecting swift justice and the recovery of your money, only to be told that your money will never be recovered because it might harm the children of the perpetrators, who through no fault of their own are enjoying the fruits of their parents' crimes.

Think about it. Does that sound like the fair and just result? A major tenet of our justice system is that wrongdoers, and even those who may innocently benefit from their wrongdoing, should not be allowed to profit from that wrongdoing. So it is that if you purchase an item in good faith from a thief, upon the discovery of its true nature, the law requires that it must be returned to its rightful owner and that you, perhaps, lose the money you spent on it.  Our prisons are full of people whose children are suffering because of their parent’s actions. But it is because of their parent’s actions that they are suffering and not the actions of a society whose very foundation is based on the rule of law.

So I find it hard to swallow the rationale of President Obama, or for that matter, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who say that the children of illegal aliens are the victims of some kind of wrong perpetrated on them by American society and that we must rectify it by allowing them to live their dreams and, in effect, grant them amnesty from their parent’s wrongdoing. I am a lawyer. I have practiced criminal law in one capacity or another for almost 30 years — as a naval officer, prosecutor, judge, parole board member, legislator and a defense lawyer. With the exception of defense lawyer, every one of my public service jobs required me to take an oath that contained the words to uphold and defend the Constitution, and some went even further to require me to swear to uphold the laws of our nation, and of our state.  Needless to say the law and upholding the law has been my career.

Laws are passed by legislatures, and in the case of federal immigration laws, enforced by the U.S. Departments of Justice and of Homeland Security —agencies under the President. I consider the President’s actions unconstitutional, illegal, a breach of the separation of powers, and little more than political pandering.  On January 1, 2013, I will be sworn in as the District Attorney for the 156th Judicial District in South Texas. How do you think the citizens there would react if, upon taking my oath of office, I announced that thieves would no longer be prosecuted by my office? My citizens would quickly move to remove me from office and the thieves would run rampant in the streets in the meantime. Prosecutorial discretion is one thing — done on a case-by-case basis — but blanket policies publicly pronounced by someone in authority who has taken an oath to the contrary to those policies, do little more than promote lawlessness, disrespect for the law, and undermine our whole system of government.

I am a legal immigrant to this country. My parents and I followed the law, waited in line, and did things the right way at a cost of significant time and treasure. My father, my brother and I have served in the U.S. Armed Services to defend this country. To say that service is the equivalent of college is an insult! Just like you, I resent people who cut in line and add insult to injury by inviting others to join them, whether they are children or not. Furthermore, lest you think that the only profit that the children of illegal aliens have drawn from their parent’s wrongful actions in American society is their residency, consider that their parents might have:

  • accessed Medicaid for them as a minor and to do so they would have fraudulently filled out paperwork applying for it when it is illegal and a crime to do so,
  • driven without a driver's license in a state that does not allow illegal aliens the right to a driver’s license,
  • accessed our public highways while driving and not maintaining proper liability auto insurance as required by the state,
  • worked without a Social Security card/number, or with an illegally obtained one,
  • illegally accessed programs such as food stamps or federal free lunch,
  • failed to file income tax returns, or worse still, filed income tax returns only to be given an earned income tax credit refund, which is essentially welfare,
  • taken a job from a legal resident.

I could go on and on, but my point is that this whole illegal immigration problem has cost America more than it knows, and until our borders are secure, it will continue to do so. Granting de facto amnesty will only make the situation worse.

Jose Aliseda, R-Beeville, represents the 35th District in the Texas House of Representatives and is running for district attorney on this year's ballot.

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