Vital Signs

Citizenship and Immigration

Every evening, thousands of people line up just south of California's border with Mexico. They wait for darkness to fall so they can slip across the border and illegally enter our country. The Border Patrol succeeds in catching as many as half of these people, but thousands more still succeed at illegally entering our country each and every day. I don't fault people trying to find a better life in our nation. In fact, it's hard not to admire their courage and determination. America is a nation of immigrants—three of my own grandparents were immigrants to America. They came for the same reason anyone comes—to build a better future. They brought their hopes and dreams, and the nation benefited from them and millions like them. But there's a limit to how many immigrants we can assimilate at once.

During just the past four years, enough people to fill a city the size of Oakland have illegally crossed the border into California. In Los Angeles alone, illegal aliens and their children total nearly a million people—that's a city of illegal immigrants the size of San Diego living in our midst. If we ignore this flood of illegal immigration, we'll erode the quality of life for all those who live here legally. And make no mistake, our quality of life is threatened by this tidal wave of illegal immigrants.

Our classrooms are already bursting, but by federal law the}''re open to anyone...

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