Illegal Intrusion Part 1: A Dividing Issue

By: Tim Elliott Email
By: Tim Elliott Email

Illegal immigration is an issue that's dividing people all over the country. As a drug war rages just south of the border, the federal government is trying to prevent the violence from spilling over into the United States. And some say, most immigrants are just trying to make a better life for themselves and their families.

In the 1800's and early 1900's, millions of foreigners flocked to the United States. It's a practice that helped lay the foundation for this country. But now, a certain kind of immigration is spurring national debate.

It's the first installment of our special series: “Illegal Intrusion".

The focus on immigration has shifted south in recent decades as thousands people began pouring over a mostly unchecked U.S./Mexican border.

“We're either going to have a lawful system of immigration or we're not,” said U.S. Republican Senator from Alabama Jeff Sessions.

Illegal immigration has become a powerful and polarizing political issue.

“There's a controversy because people don't understand the issues, this is my firm belief,”

Rich Lopez is an advocate for Latinos in the wiregrass. He says people fear what they don't understand.

“When it comes to human relations and getting to know one another, we're cowards, if you don't speak the right language, if we don't sound the same, everybody panics,” said Lopez.

Lopez estimates there are 30,000 illegal immigrants living in the wiregrass.

“I think we need to start understanding what illegal immigration is first of all and realize that we stand for the very same things. (They) just want an opportunity to come here to have their families live in the United States in a safe place and they want to cooperate, they want to be good model citizens,” added Lopez.

“In my view, the first and foremost thing is to protect the American heritage of law,”

Senator Sessions believes the top priority should be upholding the law of the land.

“The President of the United States can make this happen, the president is the chief law enforcement officer,” said Sen. Sessions.

Senator Sessions says he spoke with President Barack Obama about the issue.

“I told him that this idea comprehensive reform would not work until he demonstrated that the border and the illegality was under control,”

“The federal government needs to do what they do on the border, they need to seal off the border,” said Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes.

The illegal immigration issue is trickling down to the state and local levels.

“For the last several years at the Alabama state house this has been a huge issue for our state,” said Alabama State Senator Republican Harri Anne Smith.

Senator Smith agrees with Sessions: the law is the law.

“People are really mad about what's going on about entering this country and not obeying the law. Americans just want to see the law followed,” added Sen. Smith.

Lopez agrees, but instead of deportation, he wants to see all immigrants, not just Latinos, get on the path to becoming citizens.

“We're not looking for amnesty, we're looking an opportunity for undocumented, Latinos, Germans, whoever, who want to document themselves,” said Lopez.

Lopez says becoming a U.S. citizen is a very long and difficult process.

He says several years ago, thousands of candidates for citizenship actually sued the Department of Homeland Security because they were too slow processing applications.

Thursday, News 4 will take a look at what local law enforcement can do to combat illegal immigration.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by JW Location: Dothan on Aug 19, 2010 at 07:12 AM
    Oh, and for crying out loud, they should at least attempt to learn to speak English. If I were to move to a different country, I'd learn the language...that's just good common sense.
  • by JW Location: Dothan on Aug 19, 2010 at 07:09 AM
    Rich Lopez, I hope you read this. This has nothing to do with people being cowards and panicking because they don't understand the Mexican people. Americans are angry because illegals are swarming in and taking away jobs, living off of OUR tax dollars, and in some cases, viloent criminals are here commiting crimes. (especially the SR13 Mexican gang) Stop using the excuse that we just don't understand them, that is just bs. We know that they all want a better life for their families, however, it is not fair that WE have to pay for them. What makes it okay for them to come here illegally and live off of MY tax dollars? I have 2 children and I have to pay for their medical needs, food, shelter, because they are MY responsibility. I don't mooch off of other's tax dollars, why the **** do they get to? If the Mexican government is so terrible, maybe they should go back to Mexico and start a revolution there to make it the way they want to. America can't afford them, neither can I.
  • by Joey Location: dothan on Aug 18, 2010 at 03:29 PM
    ok so they want to come here to make a better life for themselves and their family. They want to come here because our country is so great. One of the things that makes our country so great is a common language. So if they truley want to be here they should speak our american english. Also, they should respect our customs. Sinco De Mayo or however it's spelled is not an american holiday. But first and foremost they should respect us as a nation, honor our sovernty. Since an estimated twelve million have invaded our nation they have not honored our sovernty. Our federal government is supposed to protect us from foreign invasion. They have dropped the ball on this any anyone in our elected federal government who has not called for us to repel this invasion has violated their oath and should be removed immediately. Since that will not happen it is our duty to vote all incumbent federal officials out of office. If we do not do this then WE have dropped the ball.
  • by Erik Location: Wiregrass on Aug 18, 2010 at 02:54 PM
    Of course this "ENABLER" wants all the current illegals given the ability to stay and have a path towards citizenship. What does he say about those that actually FOLLOW THE RULES? Should their path be even faster? Why have Immigration laws at all? Why have borders? Those that are here illegally, those that enable or assist illegals, and those that employ illegals... all need to be deported... The illegals for the obvious, the enablers and employers for aiding and abetting crimes and criminal activity. One cannot work without providing an SSN for pay purposes. SO either these employers are paying under the counter and avoiding the payment of due taxes, or they are paying in to stolen accounts, disrupting and making liable, innocent victims to additional taxes and penalties when the income is reported. Just the other day in this area, people were arrested for providing FAKE DOCUMENTATION for illegals to buy, so it could be used to decieve and defraud locals. NO to illegals
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