Since America is a land of freedom and opportunity, it is understandable that many people would seek the advantages of immigrating to this country. Early in the history of the United States, laws and procedures were written to ensure that the flow of immigration did not overwhelm the ability of our country to assimilate them. Qualified immigrants that followed the written established procedures were granted citizenship. Citizenship was a privilege and not a right.

Today, by comparison, there is an open border on all fronts. Many come illegally to our country despite laws to the contrary. Instead the motivation is chiefly for economic benefits. Many illegal immigrants use social services such as welfare, medical assistance, and food stamps. In addition, a growing segment of the U.S. prison populations are illegal aliens. Many believe our borders are being overwhelmed.

Minnesota is not immune from this national problem. Our Social Services are straining to maintain services to citizens and county and state officials correctly question the priority of who should receive such services. Minnesota’s laws of immigration need to be enforced just like other laws are enforced. To turn a blind eye to the problem only magnifies the problem. There is a need for serious discussion of how best to deal with this problem.

Our country is a beacon of hope for those who long for liberty, religious freedom and economic opportunity, and for that we should all be thankful. At the same time, the federal government needs to address the severe problem of illegal immigration. If they fail to do so in a timely and appropriate manner, states will continue to confront the very real problems that illegal immigration creates. The cost of ignoring the problem is simply unacceptable to our citizens.