A respectful heads-up to GOP primary voters in politically bright-red Georgia: You may have a problem if your candidates for the General Assembly and local governments are not focused, educated and very outspoken on the crime of illegal immigration.
The way the system is supposed to work is that voters decide what the important issues are, not the reverse. Honest.
Having spent considerable time inspecting campaign websites and listening to candidates for office this year, an alarming but predictable pattern has emerged. In a state with a very serious illegal immigration problem, that topic is absent from the majority of stump speeches and "issues" pages on most "elect me" websites.
Let's make it clear: The main cause of illegal immigration is illegal employment. Many state and local politicians get quite uncomfortable when forced to pick a side on either subject.
Why -- beside the fact that Republicans are allegedly conservatives and conservatives traditionally value and defend the rule of law upon which our republic was founded -- should each and every GOP voter demand a complete rundown of their candidate's position and promises on illegal immigration in the Peach State?
Some pesky facts: Governor Nathan Deal -- before he too went silent on the crisis -- has cited an estimate of the cost to Georgia taxpayers for education, health care and incarceration for illegal aliens (the legal and accurate description of non-citizens present in the USA in violation of our immigration laws) and their children at $2.4 billion. Each year.
Let's be equally clear on a no-brainer piece of info: Illegal immigration is not somehow a separate issue from "jobs! jobs! jobs!," health care, education, taxes, quality of life, honestly operated businesses of any size or ethics in government. Or common language. Or the Rule of Law.
Please let this sink in: According to the United States Department of Homeland Security, Georgia ranks No. 6 in the nation in the number of illegal aliens.
Each and every illegal alien takes either a job or a service. Or both.
The Georgia Department of Labor puts Georgia's unemployment rate at about 9 percent.
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 7 percent of Georgia's workforce is made up of black-market labor.
English is an optional language in the Peach State.
Another glaring indicator that we have a problem: In March, about 5,000 angry and resentful illegal aliens marched on the Georgia Capitol demanding -- in a foreign language -- an end to any enforcement of American immigration laws, legalization and the right to vote. There were no arrests. That may have caused a scene.
Until 2012, Georgia successfully passed illegal immigration enforcement legislation every year since 2005.
Voters should be asking why the logical process skipped last session. And they should be demanding action and carefully recording the needed pledges of job protection and enforcement action from candidates.
Here is another fact from a longtime denizen of the Gold Dome and local county commission chambers: The real and most powerful opponents of illegal immigration enforcement are not the ACLU and the rest of the far-left, open borders mob. The main challenge to state enforcement legislation comes from the Chamber of Commerce of Georgia. And the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) and the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA). And the agriculture industry.
Did I mention that many politicians get uncomfortable when made to pick a side on illegal immigration enforcement?
At more than a million each year, the U.S. takes in more legal immigration than any other nation on the planet. We have nothing to apologize for -- unless it is to the millions of unemployed Americans, including previous waves of legal immigrants, who are struggling to find a job.
We also have an agriculture visa that allows that industry to access an unlimited number of legal, proud, foreign temporary workers looking for a better life. The concept that black-market, taxpayer subsidized labor is essential to Georgia farming and us getting onions in the spring is complete manure.
Unsolicited advice from someone who has been studying the organized crime of illegal immigration for a decade: If you don't hear about what your candidates will do to deter illegal immigration in Georgia before the primary, you likely won't see them do anything when the pressure comes from the well-funded anti-enforcement coalition lobbyists after the election.
D.A. King of Marietta is president of the Georgia-based Dustin Inman Society and a nationally recognized authority on illegal immigration.