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Give illegals fighting chance to be citizens

How many borders can a volunteer National Guard force cover?

In a 20-minute speech last night, President Bush promised to send National Guard troops, perhaps as many as 10,000 of them, to help guard the 2,000-mile-wide Mexican border.

The theory seems to be, “We’ll let the millions of illegals already in the U.S. stay here, but that’s it. No more. We mean it this time. Enough is enough. Swear to God and hope to die. Scout’s Honor.”



Meanwhile, there are already an estimated 25,000 “part-time” Guard soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan today, with no sign of relief.

I say “no sign” because the U.S. seems determined to stay in Iraq for a long, long time. In fact, we are building a 104-acre, 21-building embassy in Baghdad as we speak. According to news reports, the “fortress-like compound” will be the largest embassy in the world (roughly the size of Vatican City), with the population of a small town, its own defense force and self-contained water and power, much to the dismay of many Iraqis, who are often without their own water and power.




“It’s somewhat self-evident that there’s going to be a fairly sizable commitment to Iraq by the U.S. government in all forms for several years,” State Department spokesman Justin Higgins told MSNBC last month.

The new embassy is expected to cost … get this, taxpayers … $1 billion.

Back at the Mexican border, Bush is proposing that the Guardsmen (and Guardswomen) work with the 12,000-strong Border Patrol. “They (Guard) will not perform law enforcement duties but will help in such areas as construction, surveillance and transportation,” said White House Press Secretary Tony Snow.

Critics of the Bush plan (imagine that) say the Guard is stretched too thin and can’t be in Iraq, on the Mexican border, and shooting looters in New Orleans all at the same time.

So here’s a solution that I haven’t yet been able to pass on to Bush: What say we bring the Guard home from Iraq, put them on the border and send a few thousand illegals over to Iraq to replace them? They say the illegals are in this country only because there are jobs to be done that no American wants to do, so why not send them to Iraq? I don’t know a whole heck of a lot of Americans who want those jobs, either.

I’m not talking about all 12 million illegals, mind you. We’d only need maybe 10 percent or so. Offer up a “no strings attached” citizenship for one tour of duty in Iraq. In fact, offer up a full citizenship, college education and free medical care. Oh … I forgot … they already get the college education and free medical care. How about full citizenship and a brand new washer and dryer?

I know what you’re thinking: “Who’s going to mow my lawn and wash my dishes while the illegals are off in Iraq fighting some stupid war?”

Great question. We can’t have the National Guard doing that (it wouldn’t look right having a uniformed soldier with a hedge trimmer in the front yard while you sit on the porch sipping an iced tea. Especially on a Memorial Day weekend, for crying out loud), so we may need to let in a few thousand more illegals to backfill, at least temporarily.

The last thing we want to see is a bunch of American citizens washing their own dishes, picking their own produce and mowing their own lawns. Not so long as there are cell phones to be answered and Game Boys to be played.

My plan also includes a significant return on investment. According to the Center For Immigration Studies (there are lots of folks studying this problem), the U.S. spends $10 billion a year in services for illegals. That number was determined by subtracting taxes paid by illegals from the value of services they enjoy in this country.

By sending them to Iraq, we’d actually be reducing the costs for war while teaching them life skills that could earn them much more money when they return to the U.S. as full-fledged citizens.

Who wouldn’t want a gardener who could also handle a .50 caliber sniper rifle in a pinch?

“See that gopher over there? Kill it!”

I’m sure my plan would not sit well with Mexican President Vicente Fox, who kind of prefers a status quo where he continues to send us his people and they continue to send him their money. Fortunately for me, I don’t have to listen to Vicente Fox. At least not until I decide to move to Mexico and take a job no Mexican wants (serving cocktails to tourists from Utah).

What I need for my Mexican Border/Iraq War Cultural Exchange Program (doesn’t that sound humanistic?) to work is your support. If you agree with me, please call the president, or your city council representative, immediately. If you disagree, write a letter.

ooo

Jeff Ackerman is the publisher of The Union. His column appears on Tuesdays. Contact him at 477-4299, jeffa@theunion.com, or 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley 95945.


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