Those brave American heroes captured 463,382 people from all over the world coming across our borders illegally and uninspected in fiscal year 2010, which ended Sept. 30. Official and very optimistic estimates are that they are able to catch about one of every four or five illegal crossers.
Please take a minute to do the math. And remember that many of the illegal aliens who escaped capture have made their way to Georgia and are now taking a job and using a benefit or service here. Maybe even testifying against pending bills aimed at immigration and employment enforcement in the legislative committees under the Gold Dome.
According to new General Accountability Office report, the Border Patrol only has "operational control" of 44 percent of the Southern border with that paradise to our south. That's 873 miles out of the nearly 2,000 mile border supposed to separate the U.S. and Mexico.
If we want to effectively address illegal immigration in Georgia, we must do it ourselves.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, most illegal immigration comes from Mexico. Georgia ranks number 6 in the nation, with about 480,000 illegal aliens squatting here. (Many demographers tell us to double that number). DHS also reports that from 2000 to 2009, Georgia had the highest rate of increase in an illegal population in the nation, at 115 percent. Arizona, with fewer illegals (460,000) had an increase of 42 percent. We have an official unemployment rate of about 10 percent.
Which brings me to the current ongoing debate in the Georgia legislature on HB 87, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011.
The public comment hearings for HB 87 have concluded in the House Judiciary (non-civil) Committee. Next week they vote.
The lines between the pro-enforcement majority and the anti-enforcement special interest coalition were never on more clear display. Many shocked everyday Georgians in attendance saw for themselves the process of well-funded, professional special interest lobbying groups vs. "We the People" for the first time.
The common talking point from the Libertarians, the Chamber, the Farm Bureau, the ACLU and the snarling ethnic-based illegal alien lobby this year goes like this: "Because of the budget crisis, we can't afford to put in place any law that would add actual teeth into the law we passed in 2006 to protect our jobs and public benefits. Because unemployment is so high, we should not consider statewide use of the E-Verify system already in place for public employers and public works contractors. It would force too many 'undocumented workers' - and their dependents - to migrate out of Georgia."
I am not making this up.
The very mindless argument goes on sort of like this: "We have found extremely, um, 'flexible' laborers who will work for much less than we would have to pay legally present workers. Including construction, Americans will not do these jobs. The real answer is to pass a repeat of the 1986 federal comprehensive legalization program and create a path to citizenship for the black-market labor we are now using."
What we are expected to overlook is the enormous hole in this nonsense. If Americans won't do these jobs - a deeply offensive, un-American lie - who are the political bosses going to find to "do the jobs Americans will not do" were they to pass another amnesty and make the now illegal aliens into American citizens?
The battle lines on ending the ongoing de facto state amnesty, real enforcement in Georgia and the outcome of HB 87 have been drawn. On one side is the much of the business community, the Farm Bureau, the ACLU, the state Democratic Party - and the Chamber of Commerce Republicans.
The other side is made up of the Rule of Law Republicans and the majority of the citizens of Georgia.
Lucky for the latter group that the new governor has repeatedly promised to use the power of his office to put in place and sign such legislation and clearly endorsed state-wide use of E-Verify during the campaign.
But many working Georgians - including this writer - wonder out loud exactly when, and now if, those promises will be kept.
All of Georgia should be watching.
D.A. King is president of the Cobb-based Dustin Inman Society, which is pro-enforcement on American immigration laws. He is currently working in favor of HB 87 in the Georgia Capitol.