The population has become concerned enough over the 12 million and growing population of illegal immigrants to force the issue to Congress’ attention for the second time this year via the McCain-Kennedy Immigration Bill.

Despite the disappointing results of Congress’ last attempt to curb the flood of illegal immigrants across the southern border – the 700-mile fence that has remained at 2 miles for months now [[ok]] – the American people have no choice. They must look optimistically to the ineptitude of lawmakers in their ability to forge another “solution.”

Lawmakers claim their hands are tied – it is “unrealistic” to imagine the deportation of 12 million individuals. Twelve million – a number that is a direct result of Congress’ 1986 amnesty legislation that resulted from the notion that it was supremely “unrealistic” to round up three million illegal immigrants and send them home. Instead, because the alternative was not politically appealing for lawmakers, the three million were rewarded for their unlawful entry with citizenship.

Will it be any more unrealistic to deal with the 40 or 50 million illegal immigrants who will no doubt be residing here in 20 years or so?

Unrealistic? It would be unrealistic to identify and bring justice to every person that has committed a crime. Do we dare declare their criminal activity forgiven? Never. Were we to issue such a statement, criminal activity would increase exponentially. What is to discourage would-be criminals if they can be relatively assured that their transgressions will be forgiven if they could delay getting caught?

Imagine the boost in crime if the prospect of being caught simply meant the offender was to be re-released with the loose requirement of appearing for a court date that would not be enforced. That scenario is as preposterous as the current immigration bill that already threatens to have missed its rare window of opportunity for enactment.

Rather than encouraging criminal activity by looking the other way, we, as a society, keep crime to a minimum by utilizing the principle of deterrence. We also must ensure that legal means for acquiring wealth – the main motivator for crime – are plentiful. Why is it not obvious that we should be confronting America’s growing illegal immigration problem in the same way?

The various justifications amnesty supporters use fall short of explaining why we as a nation should not assert the right to decide how many people and who should earn the right of citizenship. What qualifications should be required of potential entrants should be the decision of the country they seek the protection of.

The most absurd claim of these supporters is that the 12 million Mexican immigrants here illegally are “doing the jobs Americans won’t do.” This is an unacceptable notion and a lie. Even in agriculture, where the labor of illegal immigrants is thought to be critical, they represent just 24 percent of the workforce. That means that 76 percent of agriculture laborers – the majority – are not illegal immigrants at all but U.S. citizens.

The notion of their contribution to the economy is similarly dubious. The amount taxpayers spend on health care and education for a bilingual state is far greater than the savings hotels and homeowners receive from employing their workers cheaply.

While the system – or lack thereof – of border enforcement in the United States is pitiful, the processes provided for legal immigration are no less culpable. We should hold Congress accountable for addressing these inadequacies in the system as well.

Those seeking economic refuge have two choices. One is to risk their lives to cross a desert with a smuggler requiring a backbreaking fee, only to enter a country where the same risks are encountered every time they want to revisit home. The other is to gain legal status and enjoy the full protection of the law. The majority of those seeking economic refuge here would choose the latter.

That we see mostly the former could only mean that the existing process for legal immigration is defective. Congress and society need to reject the McCain-Kennedy Immigration Bill and demand something more comprehensive.