But now many of these former adversaries are recognizing that there is a higher cost for not having a bill. Even at current reduced rates, more than half a million new illegal immigrants are pouring into our country every year. Well before the end of this decade, if we do nothing, we will have more than 20 million illegal immigrants in our country, at tremendous taxpayer expense for indigent health care, public education and other costs. And they will be living as a growing permanent legal underclass, to the detriment of our citizens and immigrants alike.
Now is the time to act. If we can agree to compromise, we can put the brakes on future illegal immigration, while showing compassion to those here now. If we canít agree, the problem will just get bigger through lack of secure borders and a secure workplace. Yes, there is a price to pay for allowing these problems to grow for years, but that price will never be less than it is right now. We must secure our borders and end our illegal immigration nightmare, and a compromise bill this year is the best available political means to achieve that goal.
Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security and the Republican lead in the Bipartisan House Immigration Reform Working Group.