Illegal immigration impacts Missouri, too

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Donald Trump's campaign stump speeches are low on specifics and high on emotion. But for all he's getting wrong, there is one point on which he is correct.

It was Trump who brought the issue of illegal immigration to the campaign debate and it is Trump who continues to beat that drum on a daily basis.

Without Trump's constant pledge to build a big, beautiful wall, illegal immigration would not be a campaign issue for fear of alienating the Hispanic voting bloc.

Trump couldn't care less and apparently his army of supporters agree that the influx of illegal immigrants is indeed harming the economy and culture of America.

The headlines on illegal immigration understandably tend to focus on the southwestern and western states like Arizona, Texas and California.

But a brief article this week on FEMA's attempt to help flood victims in Missouri illustrates the depth of the illegal immigration debate.

Monday was the deadline to apply for federal flood assistance from the winter floods that struck our state. Thus far 2,400 homes have received financial aid with most of those in low-lying neighborhoods in the St. Louis area.

Since many of these lower income areas are home to non-English speaking residents, FEMA hired Spanish interpreters to assist in the sign-ups. Yet, despite this attempt to provide federal tax dollars for those impacted by the floods, none of those effected took advantage of the program.

Why would there be zero sign-ups from households who reported flood damage? FEMA says that most of those residents are undocumented and reluctant to deal with government officials for fear of being deported.

But that hasn't stopped FEMA from trying to dole out more money. If a child in the home has a Social Security number, then the entire household will still qualify despite the federal prohibition of providing these funds to undocumented residents.

Keep in mind, we're not talking about petty cash. As of today, more than $75 million has gone to Missouri residents impacted by the floods.

While going door-to-door in the impacted neighborhoods, FEMA canvassers found residents who speak Spanish, Bosnian, Vietnamese, Russian, Nepali, Arabic, Somali and Korean.

In an ironic twist of wording, FEMA said their massive attempt to hand out more taxpayer dollars to flood victims is "about fairness and ethics and following the law." It seems that the feds want to "follow the law" when it comes to handing out money but the same "laws" apparently don't apply to residency.

Back to Trump.

Trump seems to get so many issues wrong that it's refreshing when he gets something right. On the issue of illegal immigration, Trump has single-handedly brought the topic to the debate stage. And that's where it should be.

Next time you hear discussion of illegal immigration, think beyond Arizona and Texas.

Think Missouri.

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