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Edgefield County, South Carolina

July 7, 2005

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EDITORIAL

Are we powerless over illegal immigration in Edgefield County?

Editorial

web posted July 7, 2005

With national attention being drawn to illegal immigration in the US, many forget the local implications of such. Edgefield County being a well established farming county has always relied on migrant farm workers. However, those workers in the past were required to be in the US legally.

As federal constraints on immigration were relaxed in the late 1970’s and again in the late 1990’s illegal immigration exploded in the country. At present the US government states there are over 20, and as many as 40, Million illegal aliens in the country.

We want to make it clear we are not against immigration. The United States of America is the greatest country in the world and we welcome those who enter our country through the proper process. It is those who choose to violate our laws and thumb their nose at the process we find appalling.

Edgefield County is shown by the 2000 census to have a population of Latin American residents accounting for 2% of the population, or roughly a little over 400 residents, yet they account for more than 58% of all arrests for driving without a license in Edgefield County. We are not implying that all those who are arrested for driving without a license are illegal aliens, but the logical conclusion drawn is why would so many be driving with no license if they are here legally and driving on our roadways?

Unfortunately, even with the heightened security issues after 9/11, checks for immigration status of such persons are not conducted. Local sheriff’s and law enforcement agencies say that even when they do obtain information that an illegal alien has been arrested the federal authorities do not cooperate in deporting the individual. A strain, they say, that has led to releasing illegal aliens due to the cost of holding so many without any federal assistance.

In the county of Edgefield, where our local jail is already pushing the limits of the new expansion, housing illegal aliens would force the county to overcrowd the jail for extended periods of time. Such would create a drain on the county resources that are provided to maintain law and order for residents.

The Edgefield County Sheriff’s Department currently houses no less than 60 inmates as well as processing about 100 new arrests every month.

What is the answer? Of course federal enforcement of immigration laws is paramount in providing the security the federal government is demanded to provide. Deportation of illegal aliens should be quick and required regardless of cost, a cost that is to be borne by the federal government.

Our country is only as secure as our borders. Our county is only as secure if the federal government fulfills their duty. Contact your representatives and inform them of your concerns on enforcing our laws on those who are not in our country legally, an issue that is fast developing into the big issue of the 2006 election cycle.





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