Common sense approach to illegal immigration needed

Common sense approach to illegal immigration needed
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Common sense approach to illegal immigration needed

Published in the SW News Group Feb. 15, 2017

By Ray Hanania

Not being a politician, President Trump probably rushed too quickly to crack down on the nation’s immigration problem.

America has an immigration problem that’s not about losing jobs or even protecting civil right, but rather is about being able to control who enters this country to keep the criminals out.

An estimated 13 million illegal immigrants live in America. President Trump and others estimate about 3 million of them are engaged in crimes, other than being illegal.

A common problem involves illegal immigrants who drive without insurance and get in accidents with other citizens who are left holding the bag. The illegal immigrant can hide and “disappear” leaving the victim dealing with the terrible costs of bad accidents that sometimes involve serious injuries and hospitalization costs. That’s unfair.



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Illinois adopted a law allowing illegal immigrants to obtain a special drivers license if they obtain insurance and pass basic driving instructions, including knowing and understanding English. It helps, but it’s not a solution.

Politics has enflamed the debate pushing people to either the extreme right or the extreme left. We need to get people back in the middle.

The common sense approach mandates a system that stops the illegal flow of immigration into America not just from Mexico, but from Canada, too. Both Canada and Mexico have large immigration. Canada will arrest and deport you while Mexico did the same until only a few years ago. The largest illegal immigration into Mexico comes from Guatemala.

Trump’s idea to build a wall sounds worse than it really is. All he is doing is reinforcing border restrictions that are in place to prevent people from entering the country illegally.

We must know who is coming in and who is going out to protect our citizens. Every nation does the same thing.

Many of the illegals crossing the border are like El Chapo Guzman, the murderous drug kingpin who runs the Sinaloa Drug Cartel and who has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people including many Americans.

El Chapo crisscrossed the Mexican-US border for years but was arrested in 1993. He managed to bribe his way out of a Mexican jail exploiting Mexico’s massive government corruption. He was only recently re-arrested and extradited to the United States where hopefully he will rot until he dies.

Sinaloa is but one of a dozen cartels that operate in Mexico but rely on bribery and violence to protect their drug sales.

Cerco fronterizo de Nogales

Mexico border fence. Cerco fronterizo de Nogales (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The politics of immigration fuels the anger and the growing hatred that has divided this country. On the right, there is tendency to want to crack down hard. On the left, there is a tendency to issue a blanket amnesty and leave the borders open for anyone to enter.

I fault people like Congressman Luis Gutierrez who has advocated for immigration reform for two decades but has achieved nothing because he refuses to compromise. But Gutierrez benefits politically from the debate. As long as illegal immigration remains unresolved, he will benefit.

The politics of illegal immigration needs to stop.

In 1986, President Reagan signed a sweeping immigration reform bill that gave amnesty to any illegal immigrant who was in the country before 1982. He also said he would tighten the border to prevent more foreigners from illegally entering the country, but he failed. And the problem started all over again.

There is a middle ground. We need a reasonable immigration policy that imposes effective controls on who enters to keep the bad guys like El Chapo out. It also needs to show compassion for many illegal immigrants who have lived here for years abiding by our other laws while the issue has remained unresolved.

No one has proposed a commonsense middle ground solution to end the problem. We can’t do that if everyone takes sides and calls each other names, fear-mongering for political benefit.

That’s the real immigration challenge we face.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning writer and author and former Chicago City Hall reporter. Email him at

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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