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Illegal immigrants cause trouble, officials say

Panel talks in sharp contrast to demonstrations’ message
By Dan Galindo JOURNAL REPORTER

Illegal immigrants are overwhelming local governments, schools and law enforcement, said officials testifying yesterday at a meeting of a congressional subcommittee in Winston-Salem.

In a wide-ranging discussion, local, state and federal officials brainstormed about deporting illegal immigrants from North Carolina, keeping track of gang members, and fighting drugs and fake identification documents, all of which are connected to illegal immigration, they said.

"I think the people of this district and people all over this country think we’re being invaded," said U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th, a member of the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources. She is running for re-election this year.

The hearing, titled "Gangs, Fraud and Sexual Predators: Struggling with the Consequences of Illegal Immigration," was held on the heels of rallies across the country by those opposed to a bill Foxx co-sponsored, which is aimed at tightening border security and makes being in the country illegally a felony.

Demonstrators also favor a path to legal status for those here illegally.

The timeliness of yesterday’s meeting was coincidental, as it had been planned weeks in advance, Foxx and the the subcommittee’s chairman, Rep. Mark Souder, R-Indiana, said in their opening remarks.

The meeting drew about 10 people, other than reporters and congressional and federal staff members.

Those at rallies earlier this week carried messages that America is a nation of immigrants and should grant more rights to a population that contributes to the economy and is illegal largely because the immigration system is broken.

Yesterday’s hearing painted a starkly different picture, one of illegal immigrants – most Hispanic – bringing big problems that citizens and legal residents have to pay for.

"Every dollar spent on an illegal immigrant is a dollar that was diverted away from a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen," Foxx said. (more…)

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