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Immigration Action Stalled, Congressman, Senator Say

Posted November 30, 2007

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— An estimated 12 million illegal immigrants are in the United States, and an estimated 300,000 of them live in North Carolina.

Debate surrounding immigration has provided plenty of political fodder on the presidential campaign trail and on Capitol Hill. So far, though, it has been all talk with no action.

After Faye Coleman was hit and killed by a drunk driver who was in the U.S. illegally, her daughter blamed leaders in Washington.

“I thought the government was supposed to take care of us,” Stacy Koon said. Her mother died in a crash on N.C. Highway 86 in Orange County on Jan. 21, 2006. The other driver Isael Medrano, was determined to be in the country illegally.

Federal lawmakers have debated what to do about illegal immigration, but so far have done nothing.

“This is a black eye,” said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.

Burr wants border fences and beefed up patrols to keep illegals from crossing into the country. Funding slated for that program was pulled from legislation, however, and Burr said he now thinks problems will only get worse.

“I think it's safe to says the longer Congress puts this off, the more in jeopardy our borders become,” Burr said.

“Our immigration system is so messed up,” said Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., who represents the state’s 13th district. He blames the lack of progress on Republicans.

Politicians must be willing to compromise on the issue, Miller said. He said he believes those here illegally who are working at jobs and obeying the laws should be given a chance to stay.

Like Burr, however, Miller said it could be years before any new policy is put in place.

“I'm not sure anything will happen absent a significant shift in politics,” Miller said.


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