Wednesday morning I was proud to walk with my brothers and sisters in the police departments, fire department and first responder organizations to support the Memorial 9/11 Walk in Columbia. I think it is important that we remember that day and we pass the knowledge down to our children.
Sept. 11, 2001, 19 men from four different countries from the Middle East hijacked four commercial airplanes, creating a chaos that anyone alive that day vividly remembers. Many of us were glued to whatever outlet was available to give us the news.
That day alone 2,977 people died. Of that 2,753 were killed in New York City, of which 343 were firefighters, 23 police officers and 37 from the Port Authority. Did you know only 60 percent of the victims have been identified? A little less than half still have families that have never been able to get complete closure from that day.
In addition 184 people died at the Pentagon and 40 died in a field in Shanksville, Pa.
While the 19 were in the country legally through different visas, our borders were tightened immediately after that horrible day.
As the years continued and different politicians came into various offices, some of the extreme heightened security established after Sept. 11 loosened. And as things have gotten worse in other countries, more and more immigrants are entering our country illegally.
I am all for allowing people to move to this great country, but I am of the opinion it has be done legally. If I were to travel or move to another country I know I would need the proper paperwork to enter into the country, and I believe we should do the same.
We have heard the saying that “Freedom isn’t free,” and it’s not; just ask a veteran or any military family. However, in a lot of ways for illegal immigrants the answer is different and, yes, it is.
A FAIR study concluded that illegal immigrants are a net consumer of taxpayer benefits worth more than $100 billion a year, according to Fox News. According the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 25,000 undocumented workers receive subsidized housing. Realistically a good bit of natural-born citizens who pay taxes struggle to pay for their housing.
The children of illegal immigrants receive free education, breakfast and lunches, where a lot of citizens struggle to provide the same for their families.
We now live in a world where we are penalized if we do not have health insurance. Yet an illegal pregnant woman will receive prenatal and postpartum care under the Women, Infants and Children Program, and the infant delivery will be covered by Medicaid, according to the American Medical Association.
My husband is disabled and can no longer work. Anyone who knows him knows he is a very hard worker and has been working steady since he was 15 years old.
That means he has paid taxes since he was 15. Yet he and thousands like him have been denied Medicaid benefits and also Social Security benefits.
What kind of country denies help to a natural-born, taxpaying citizen who needs aid yet someone who breaks the law by coming into our country illegally can receive those same benefits without paying a dime?
Somehow I think we have gotten things mixed up. We should help our citizens first and foremost, and if there is anything left help the ones who are in here illegally.
Lady Liberty said, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. To spread the light of liberty world-wide for every land.”
She wanted to offer people a chance, yet nowhere did she say for a free ride.
Susan Amundson is managing editor of The Columbian-Progress. She may be reached at (601) 736-2611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.