Re "Immigration reform, again,"
editorial, Sept. 22
The Times suggests that I want to deport the estimated 8 million to 12 million illegal immigrants living and working in the United States. This is untrue. Instead, I have championed the idea that most illegal immigrants would leave the country on their own, or not come in the first place, if laws designed to discourage illegal immigration were actually enforced. The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act contained amnesties for farmworkers and other illegal immigrants, as well as sanctions for employers who hire them. The amnesties were carried out but the enforcement was not. Illegal immigrants and American employers know that the government does not take enforcement seriously. As proof, consider that in 2004 not one employer was fined for hiring illegal immigrants. The government should enforce current laws before any guest worker program is considered by Congress.
REP. LAMAR SMITH