Sunday, May 06, 2007

Illegal Immigrant Problem Spreads to the Ohio Valley

By CASEY JUNKINS Staff Writer


WHEELING — Ninety- eight illegal immigrants have been arrested by the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department since May 2005 — with many of those arrests in the past few months.

“We have arrested 98 of them, but we can only imagine how many of them have gone through without our detection,” said Sheriff Tom Burgoyne.

And Belmont County Sheriff Fred Thompson said his office is now averaging 15-20 illegal immigration arrests every month.

Burgoyne — a former FBI agent — is concerned about just how serious the problems with illegal immigration are becoming.

“The federal government simply has not addressed this problem the way they need to, and I am tired of hearing their excuses,” Burgoyne said.

Burgoyne said many of the illegals he has arrested are just passing through the area on the way to jobs on the East Coast, but an increasing number of them are being employed in West Virginia.

“This is not a problem we used to have in West Virginia, but because there are now an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in our country, it makes sense that more and more of them are coming our way,” Burgoyne said.

Thompson said his office arrested 14 illegals during an incident in April.

“On Sunday, April 22, we arrested 14 of them in the parking lot at Kroger’s in the Ohio Valley Plaza,” he said.

“We caught seven the week before that,” Thompson added. “Not one of these individuals had any identification or passports, while none of them spoke any English.

Thompson agreed with Burgoyne that many illegals are just passing through, but said a few of them are trying to stay here.

We caught several of them working on a construction team at the new school complex in Martins Ferry,” he said. “We arrested one illegal immigrant who was dealing heroin in the St. Clairsville area. He had previously been deported but had no trouble coming back here.

Burgoyne and Thompson said they are required to release the illegal immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents after processing them.

“Once we turn them over to ICE, we no longer have any say in what happens to them,” Thompson said.

ICE said we should just let them go, unless they have outstanding warrants,” Burgoyne said, noting prosecution of the illegals is not always effective.

“In July 2005, some of the illegals we had arrested were in federal court. The judge released them and told them to be back in court six months later in January 2006 to determine if they were illegal immigrants,” he said. “I don’t know if that judge really thought they would just come back to court six months later or not, but it seemed pretty ridiculous to me.”

Burgoyne and Thompson agree that illegal immigrants are taking jobs from Americans, which is one of the major issues.

“Employers know they don’t have to pay the illegals anywhere near what they have to pay Americans, so many of them take the risk of hiring them,” Burgoyne said.

West Virginia Delegate Orphy Klempa, D-Ohio, also sees illegal immigration as a problem for American workers.

These illegal immigrants are coming in here and taking a lot of our construction jobs, which makes it more difficult for our workers to find jobs,” he said.

However, Russell Sobel, professor of economics at West Virginia University, said the economic impact of illegal immigration is not so clear cut.

“Anyone who is not directly competing for jobs with the immigrants will be better off economically because lower labor costs lead to lower prices for consumers,” he said. [umm .. no it does not! ]

Sobel also said the immigrants must be spending money here if they are living here, so they are supporting the economy. [ they are sending half of what they make BACK to Mexico idiot! ]

“There is little if any difference between the immigration we have now and what we had 100 years ago with Europeans coming here,” Sobel added. [ umm you are a complete idiot - there is a HUGE difference - what an ASSHOLE you are!!!!]

David Javersak, dean of the School of Liberal Arts at West Liberty State College, said the theme of Americans opposing immigration is far from new.

“Italian and Irish immigrants were once treated the way Hispanic immigrants are treated today,” he said. [ big difference - they were IMMIGRANTS not illegal ALIENS ]

“You should not blame the immigrants because they are just looking for better opportunities, so the blame should lie with the federal government for letting this continue,” Javersak added. [grrrrrrrr]

Gerry Griffith, communications director for U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., said the congressman is very concerned with the issue.

The increasing number of immigrants entering the United States illegally undermines job prospects for American citizens, places a burden on local schools and governments and poses a threat to our security,” Griffith said. “Congressman Mollohan supports efforts to increase border security and, as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, he has worked to increase funding for the Immigration and Naturalization Services border control functions.

Congressman Mollohan does not support amnesty for illegal aliens.” [ clone this man!]

Jason Friedman, communications director for U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-Ohio, said Wilson also knows illegal immigration is a major problem.

“Congressman Wilson believes the system of immigration in this country is broken and that a comprehensive plan must be developed to fix it,” Friedman said. [ as in deport them and punish employers - that is as comprehensive as it needs to be! ]

“This plan must include strengthening border security, as well as punishing companies that hire illegal immigrants,” he said.

“Overall, the congressman believes illegal immigration is a major problem facing this country today and is definitely working to do something about it,” Friedman added.

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is also disturbed by illegal immigration.

These illegal immigrants have committed a crime just by coming here without going through the proper channels, not to mention that they take jobs from Americans. They use our roads, schools and health care, which places a tremendous and unfair burden on American workers,” Capito said. [ oh my God I must be dreaming to have so many politicians GET IT or seem to GET IT ]

“West Virginians believe it is unfair for illegal immigrants to come in here and take advantage of us the way they are,” she added.

Capito said she believes the vast majority of the 12 million illegals should be sent home. [ WOO HOO! Buh bye]

“I strongly oppose any type of amnesty and believe employers should be punished for hiring illegals,” she said. “I am not pleased with the progress made in Congress regarding this issue, but I am definitely working on it.”

Burgoyne is waiting to see results from Congress.

The federal government should do its job and keep these people out of here,” he said. “They need to enforce border security and make sure employers are charged with a crime for hiring illegals.”

Citizenship in this country is a privilege, and 12 million people are abusing this privilege,” he added. [ WELL SAID!!! ]

Thompson said his deputies will do the best they can, with or without more federal support.

“We are going to make it as difficult on these illegals as we can to discourage them from continuing to do this,” he said. [ I LOVE it! You guys are my heroes! ]

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