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Task Force Researching Illegal Immigration Costs

U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service

Does it seem like immigration is the issue on everyone’s lips?

Donald Trump is certainly talking about it.

“We have at least 11-million illegals in the country. Not only the jobs they’re taking, but everything else. And you know about the crime wave,” Trump told Fox News recently.

And Bobby Jindal is following suit, telling CBS News this past Sunday, “People that want to come to our country should come legally, should learn English, should adopt our values, roll up their sleeves and get to work.”

It’s been a favorite theme for U.S. Senator David Vitter for several years.

“My amendment would end birthright citizenship,” Vitter declared on the Senate floor this past March, as he tried to get traction for a law that has failed to get out of Congressional committee for four years in a row.

Immigration -- specifically the undocumented kind -- is also a big concern for certain conservatives here at home. A new task force, created by Louisiana House Resolution this spring, began its work on Thursday.

“The purpose of this task force is to be able to identify how pervasive the problem is, and the impact that it’s having on the taxpayers in Louisiana.”

Rep. Valarie Hodges, a Republican from Denham Springs, chairs the Immigration Task Force. She was the author of the resolution that created it.

“What we are here to do is review the data on the influx of those who come here to the United States, seeking benefits, without having gone through the proper legal channels,” Hodges said, when addressing task force members. “And find out what the cost is to the taxpayers of Louisiana.”

Hodges did offer a disclaimer, trying to indicate there wasn’t anything personal behind this.

“We’re not here to demonize individuals or families.”

But then she continued, “American jobs are lost and wages are diminished by illegal immigration,” -- indicating she’s not completely impartial.

You might remember Hodges from her previous time in the spotlight. In the summer of 2012, she backtracked from her support of statewide vouchers, when she found out they were not limited to just Christian schools, but could go to Islamic schools, as well.

“I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America’s Founding Fathers’ religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools,” Hodges said at the time.

“Unfortunately it will not be limited to the Founders’ religion. We need to insure that it does not open the door to fund radical Islam schools. There are a thousand Muslim schools that have sprung up recently. I do not support using public funds for teaching Islam anywhere here in Louisiana.”

There’s not much state lawmakers will be able to do with the data collected by this immigration task force. Immigration law is – constitutionally – a function of the federal government.