---- — Immigration is a real hot-button issue in the United States, but people, pundits on both sides of the aisle, agree on one thing: The system is broken and needs fixed.
How to go about fixing it is where the paths diverge. For some the way to fix it is granting citizenship to those already here and be done with it, similar to what happened in 1986 with the Simpson-Mazzoli Act. We have tried that and we are back in the same place two decades later.
For others, the answer is booting all the undocumented people currently in the country, build a wall and starting over.
The real solution is much simpler: Follow the existing law.
The biggest issue with immigration today is enforcement. The laws are in place but for varying reasons they are not enforced at all or not enforced properly. In this argument, Rep. Lou Barletta is right on the money when talking about the immigration plans released this week by a bi-partisan committee and President Obama.
"The president believes our nation's borders are secure," Rep. Barletta said this week. "I couldn't disagree more."
The plan seems to be working in reverse and could in the future. As Barletta says, having an immigration plan in place without a secure border is meaningless. Not only that, it might backfire as more immigrants flood into the country to get in line for legalized path to of American citizenship.
Worry No. 1 is no longer someone crossing the border from Nicaragua and looking for a job, or even a drug cartel from Mexico crossing looking to distribute narcotics in the United States. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the top concern is another Mohamed Atta getting across the border unnoticed and killing 3,000 Americans.
Right now the United States spends a ton of money on Homeland Security. But having a porous border is like putting that money in a shredder.
So it comes back to enforcement. If you have a policy in place, why not execute it? An immigration policy that does not protect the borders is a placebo.
"We need to enforce our current laws," Barletta said. "We already have a legal process in place that addresses these issues."
Americans have bought reform once before. We fell for it then. We can't fall for it again. There is too much at stake. Secure borders must be assured in any reform.