Radio host Peter Boyles isn’t content to lambast the undocumented on his radio show. He’s started a new venture, Billboard Colorado. If you are driving by 21st and California or 6th and Osage, you will now see two billboards criticizing Denver for being too lax in deporting undocumented residents.
The sign on California Street says, “Mr. President, Mr. Governor, Mr. Mayor; They did not die for … ILLEGAL SANCTUARY!” the reference is to fallen soldiers and contains images of rifles and helmets. The other sign, which greets drivers on 6th Avenue as they head into Denver, says, “Welcome to SANCTUARY CITY… Relax, you made it!”
This is a cheap attempt to exploit our soldiers fighting in Iraq for a personal pet cause. According to the Bush Administration, we are fighting in Iraq to end an oppressive regime, install democracy and prevent future acts of terrorism. There is no connection between the war and the soldiers who have died fighting it and immigration at home.
A new Congressional Budget Office report finds that while a guest worker program would result in 20 million more immigrants over the next decade, the money these new residents would bring in outweighs the cost of both the program and welfare associated expenses:
The nation’s population of legal immigrants would increase by nearly 20 million over the next decade if the recently passed Senate immigration bill becomes law, and taxpayers would spend more than $50 billion to operate a new guest-worker program and pay for extra welfare, Social Security and public health-care costs, according to a Congressional Budget Office report.
But the cost of absorbing the newcomers would be offset by a boost of $66 billion in federal revenue from income taxes and payroll taxes generated by the temporary guest-worker program, along with fees that immigrants must pay to participate, the report said.
Sen. Edward Kennedy points out:
“We can build miles of fences, but the fact remains that immigrants will still come because employers need workers and immigrants want jobs,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who fought for a guest-worker program. “It’s far better for American jobs and wages to have a practical, common-sense policy of legal immigration, than to continue leaving millions of immigrants underground and underpaid.”
There is a valid discussion to be had on how to best achieve immigration reform. But slogan-filled billboards like those being launched by Boyles neither further the debate nor enlighten anyone. They serve only to inflame already heated passions. It’s going to be a long, hot summer. Cooler heads are needed when it comes to tackling the immigration issue.