Yesterday, I walked with fellow parishioners behind our church into the cemetery that holds the remains of many unidentified soldiers from the Battle of Manassas in 1861. Wounded, they had been brought back as far as our church which was turned into a field hospital.
Gathered under a large shade tree amid grave markers, we heard our church historian name and describe each of the boys from our congregation who have died in military service since 1940.
A retired colonel then mentioned the dozens of his colleagues who died during his service through the last 25 years of war in the Mideast and Afghanistan. He reminded us of the supreme sacrifice of giving up one's life at such young ages. Of all the wonderful experiences of our lives as Americans that those we honor on Memorial Day never got to have.
WE DO NOT HONOR THE SACRIFICE BY REFUSING TO HIRE THE FELLOW CITIZENS OF THOSE WHO DIED
The question rises for all of us, the colonel said: How can we honor such immense sacrifice?
All honor falls short, it seems. Certainly, we must start by never forgetting -- always making active gestures of remembrance.
But you can imagine that I always think about why our fallen citizens put their lives at risk in that way. Were they not serving their COUNTRY -- the members of their NATIONAL COMMUNITY?
Can we possibly say we honor their sacrifice if we allow business crooks to dishonor our fellow citizens by refusing to hire them, instead giving preference to people from other national communities who have violated the rule of law that our military fights to protect?
One of the boys described yesterday under that cemetery tree died while saving a fellow soldier. Is it possible that the hero died so the saved soldier could be later rejected for a job back home because an employer preferred to save some money by hiring somebody from another country? I just can't see how that makes any sense.
As those of you who have fought this immigration-policy battle with me over the last 20 years know, I spend some time every year on this day thinking about my high school companions who died in Vietnam. As the colonel indicated, they missed out on everything I have experienced in life over this succeeding half century. Everything.
They were working-class boys of modest means.
I cannot accept that they died for a country that would prefer making business crooks more affluent at the expense of working-class folks like those who died and their families.
But that is the country we have right now.
I CHOOSE E-VERIFY AS ONE WAY TO HONOR THOSE WHO DIED FOR THEIR COUNTRY
Nearly 60 million working-age Americans are NOT working, including large numbers of veterans who have returned from our conflicts overseas and can't find a job.
More than 7 million jobs are estimated to be filled by foreign citizens who illegally crossed our borders or violated the terms of their visas and remain illegally in this country.
We have a system proven over two decades that it can keep U.S. jobs open for Americans: E-Verify.
Congress has repeatedly refused to mandate its use.
But each state has the ability on its own to mandate that employers use E-Verify. Look at our newly updated map to see all the states that have also bowed to the wishes of business lobbyists to block requirements that employers use E-Verify to screen out illegal foreign workers -- that have backed the lobbyists who want their clients to be able to continue to undercut wages by hiring illegal migrants.
SEE THE MAP HERE: https://www.numbersusa.com/resource-article/everify-state-map
You'll see the states that insist that citizens of other countries who are here illegally be able to compete directly for U.S. jobs with returning veterans and other U.S. citizens.
I'll repeat what I wrote in last week's newsletter.
It has been against federal law since 1986 for a business to hire foreign citizens who are in this country illegally. This law was designed to protect the wages and incomes of the citizens of this country. Employers who violate that law are crooks, taking money out of the pockets of citizens just as surely as burglars, pick-pockets, flim-flam artists and robbers.
The fact that E-Verify is a system that can stop most of the wage/income thievery has long been well known.
The Supreme Court has ruled that states can mandate that employers use E-Verify to keep illegal migrants from obtaining jobs -- and that states can take away an employer's business license for failing to use E-Verify properly.
The only thing stopping state legislatures from mandating E-Verify is their insistence that employers retain the ability to continue to break federal law by engaging in the wage/income theft that occurs by hiring illegal migrants.
Once again this year -- and every year -- the names of the boys from my little Ozarks town, with whom I attended high school, played football, worked the production welding lines at the local steel plant; the boys who made the supreme sacrifice for their country a half-century ago: John Hansen, 21 (died 1968), Alan Ruddell, 21 (died 1967), C.C. Owen, 23 (died 1970), Jerry Petty, 21 (died 1968), Rex Highfill, 21 (died 1967), Jack Bagley, 25 (died 1970), Donald White, 23 (died 1968).
I hope you will take time today to name those in your life who made the same sacrifice.
ROY BECK is Founder & President of NumbersUSA
Updated: Mon, Jun 13th 2016 @ 11:00am EDT