I recently traveled to Washington D.C. with a Massachusetts delegation that included members of the Irish government. The Irish government has joined with other foreign governments in calling on Congress to grant status to the undocumented.
We were met in D.C. by Sen. Edward Kennedy and John McCain who sponsored a comprehensive reform bill in the Senate. Senator McCain, a Vietnam Veteran and war hero thanked the undocumented for advocacy work and public demonstrations, stating, "There is beginning to be an appreciation for all those who have made a contribution to America. I'm proud to again be in your company you mean a lot to me, but there are 11 million others and you are speaking for them and speaking eloquently."
Senator McCain knows of the 60,000 foreign born who are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Immigrants, documented and undocumented, including Mexicans who Mr. Baran alleges bring disease to America, have died serving during the War on Terror. Our armed servicemen and women serve alongside Irish, Brazilian, Mexican and other immigrants, all sharing one thing: a deep love of America. If immigrants are prepared to die in the sands of Iraq and Afghanistan, surely we should do the right thing by granting status to their friends and relatives left behind here in the U.S.
Mr. Baran seems to have left out a solution to the immigration question among his three paragraphs of questions. Deporting the immigrants will not only devastate our country, but has been projected to cost upward of $230 billion or more over five years. This $46 billion a year cost exceeds the entire budget for the Department of Homeland Security (FY'06: $34.2 billion) and is almost triple the cost of military operations in Afghanistan ($16.8 billion).
The solution that we need is comprehensive reform.