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Friday, June 04, 2004

Davis Residents Worried About Illegal Aliens Obtaining Benefits Unavailable to Americans



Some Davis County residents worry about benefits illegals receive
Tom Busselberg 03.JUN.04
Some worry that illegals receive benefits at cost to taxpayers.

BOUNTIFUL — Illegal immigrants can get a college education in Utah at resident tuition rates, while U.S. citizens from other states have to pay much more.
At the same time, illegal immigrants are getting tax-supported help for everything from free medical care to tutoring.
These scenarios were mentioned by concerned Davis County residents among reasons to be worried about illegal immigration and its consequences.
“I’ve been working on this for five years and have been trying to get the attention of our government leaders,”said life-long Bountiful resident Joe Lawson.
He has no kind words for U.S. Rep. Joe Cannon, R-Utah. “We need to get rid of that guy. He’s making the situation worse.”
Lawson is referring to Cannon’s support for what he called “farm amnesty,” actually a “guest worker” program put forward by President Bush.
Under the plan, immigrants with job offers from American employers could work in the country legally for two three-year periods, during which they would either have to obtain permanent resident status or return to their country. In addition, illegals already in the U.S. could enroll in the guest worker program.
Fourth term congressman Cannon is a member of an immigration subcommittee.
“It’s ridiculous to let them (illegal immigrants) in without opposition,” Lawson said. “We’ve got about 10 percent of Mexicans (population) living in the U.S. There were eight million listed in the 2000 census, out of a population in Mexico of about 100 million.”
He questioned former Gov. Leavitt’s granting of in-state college tuition for illegals. “I’ve got four grandsons who are (now) residents of Illinois. Two years ago they wanted to go to the ‘U’ (University of Utah) where their dad attended. It’d cost over $8,000 a year for each of them compared to $2,800 for in-state.”
Subsidies should be cut, a “concerted effort”undertaken to send, say 100,000 illegals back each year, with borders closed.
Farmington resident Lori B. Koons sees other problems with the flood of illegal immigrants into this country.
She has only to look back to how things have changed in her native Lovell, Wyo., to raise concerns. “Ihoed beets through high school, as did other high school kids. Then the farmers no longer hired high school kids.”
Instead, illegal immigrants took those jobs, she said. Beyond that, tax dollars were used to provide busing and other services for the illegals.
She sees problems also with providing tuition breaks for illegals, along with other tax-supported services. “Pretty soon we won’t be able to help ourselves because we’re helping everyone else.”
She points to a situation in the Davis School District, where she works. Two boys with attention deficit disorder can’t get aides to help them, officials claiming there’s no money, Koons said. while a Mexican gets an aide all day long.
Koons sees the problem as going beyond Mexican immigrants. She recalled experiences as a former Alaska resident. “In Alaska, there were a lot of Russians and Ukrainians moving in. They were very outspoken and always said they would buy back Alaska, one acre at a time.”
“I have found those who do not oppose illegal immigration do not have first-hand knowledge of what they do to a community and the resources they consume,” she wrote in an earlier Letter to the Editor to the Clipper.
“I’m opposed mostly to their (illegals)trying to change our culture,”Lawson said. “Ihad two brothers-in-law from Holland.They were expected to learn English, their parents learned English. All they had was English,” compared to today, where he said “American heritage” is being lost.
If the tide of immigrants isn’t stopped, a number he estimated at 50,000 a month crossing the Mexico-U.S. border, “we’ll just have another state of Mexico.”
He pointed to France, where nearly 10 percent of its population is now Muslim, as being “in trouble” due to conflicting cultures, ideas.
“It’s disheartening to try to get our legislators to recognize the problem,”Lawson said.
In the meantime, illegal immigration continues to stir controversy, on a state and national scale. For example, a group calling itself the Coalition for the Future American Workers is running ads touted as “urgent legislative alerts” against Cannon’s proposal.

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