Let's not cloud up the issue here. If the adjective "illegal" appears before the word "immigrant," this translates into (per Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition) "an alien who has entered a country illegally."

The key word here, again, is "illegal." That, again, means "prohibited by law; against the law; unlawful; illicit; also, not authorized or sanctioned, as by the rules."

What is so difficult to understand here? Don't twist this into anything else. I am all for immigration. People of every race, color, and creed should be allowed to enter into this great country. Legally. Not illegally. This is not rocket science, folks.


It is a shame that immigration laws with regard to Mexico have become too lax and not enforceable. In truth, the United States allowed this ugly issue of illegal immigration to get out of control. To date, it has been, more or less, a swinging door, without process of entry.

Just as people once proudly walked through Ellis Island, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance on the day they gained citizenship, I think every person should abide by some requirements to learn our customs and to eventually pay taxes. Being a citizen of this country means supporting it in every sense of the word.

Some people really believe that if every illegal vanished tomorrow, the United States would plummet into a depression. If you are to believe that, then this just demonstrates that far, far too many illegals are in this country - and, without enforceable laws, it will only get worse.

If anyone believes the 20,000-22,000 men and women needed annually to fill vacancies in the HVACR trade could come from the immigrant ranks ... well, that is possible; but let's make sure the people hired are, indeed, legal. After all, we stress that our technicians dress professionally, be clean shaven, drive a clean truck, and be courteous to customers. If we do not insist on hiring legal immigrants, you can bet that "Dateline" or another TV news program will be doing a future sting - only this time, it will be searching for how many illegals are working for Joe Contractor's Heating and Cooling.

Like George Rodriguez, current chairman of the California state chapter of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), I believe incoming immigrants have to follow the rules of this land in order to reap the benefits of living here. Rodriguez, for one, did it the correct way. The owner of ServTEC Air Conditioning Inc. (Santa Fe Springs, Calif.) entered the United States through El Paso, Texas, in 1954 at the age of 9. His family applied for legal, permanent residency - and the process took 1.5 years to gain legal entry. Are we saying this is just not possible today?

Twelve years after stepping on U.S. soil, Rodriguez applied for U.S. citizenship. When all was said and done, his older and younger sister gained citizenship - and even his mother, at the age of 76. It can be done. Don't be fooled otherwise.

"A society cannot last long when its own laws are selectively applied," Rodriguez told me.


According to a recent report from CNNMoney.com, the unemployment rate for foreign-born workers in the United States fell below the rate for U.S.-born workers in 2005 for the first time since the Labor Department started tracking those numbers a decade ago. Does that bother you?

Numbers from the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics show that unemployment for native-born workers fell to 5.2 percent last year from 5.5 percent in 2004. But the unemployment rate for those who were born elsewhere sank to 4.6 percent last year from 5.5 percent the year before.

Of course, the bureau's numbers don't distinguish between those here legally and those here illegally. How could they?

It's time to clamp down, pure and simple.

What bothers many people is the fact that many legal citizens here can't get the medical care they require because they don't have insurance, yet an illegal immigrant who needs regular dialysis (or whatever) is getting all expenses covered by a public hospital. For the unknowing, many hospitals along the border have gone out of business because they have to accept illegal immigrants - and, they were not getting paid for services rendered.

It's time. Enough is enough. Let's fix what is currently broken, before it breaks this great country. The HVACR trade can do its part by not hiring illegal immigrants.

Publication date: 06/19/2006