While the health care fiasco, underwear bomber and antics of Tiger Woods distracted Americans, a piece of controversial legislation was introduced to the House of Representatives. Like most of the Democrats’ legislation, it requires scrutiny as it ignores the will of the majority of Americans.

Congressman Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., an open borders advocate, introduced the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009.” Amnesty for some 12 million illegal aliens is on the table – again.

According to CNN, in October, 73 percent of those questioned wanted a reduction in the number of illegal immigrants. With unemployment at 10 percent and the economy in the dumpster, Americans don’t want to fast track immigration, especially for those illegal aliens who have already been taking advantage of American generosity and lack of enforcement backbone.

Conveniently, a recent study sponsored by the Migration Policy Institute, a pro-immigration think tank, concludes that illegal aliens do not drain jobs or tax dollars and have a neutral impact on the U.S. economy. However, this pro-illegal group failed to include the costs of identity theft, drug smuggling and the moral cost of supporting criminal behavior combined with the exploitation of illegal aliens.

The sponsors of this study state that, “Because illegal immigrants occupy a small share of the workforce – about 5 percent – and work low-skilled jobs at lower wages than other workers, their overall influence on the economy is trivial.” Tell that to Americans struggling to save their homes and provide for their families. The myth that Americans are too arrogant to take low-paying jobs is baloney.

The smart thing to do is to close the borders to all immigration for the next seven years until America gets back on her feet and then reopen them with strict enforcement of the law. At the same time, provide legally employed, law-abiding, tax-paying individuals already stuck in the red tape-infested visa system with a clearer path to permanent legal residency.

On Capitol Hill, Republicans and some Democrats have already denounced Gutierrez’s bill as amounting to amnesty. As nice as they might be to know and illegally hire for less than minimum wage, illegal aliens have broken American law. Why do they get a free pass?

Gutierrez states, “We have waited patiently for a workable solution to our immigration crisis to be taken up by this Congress and our president. The time for waiting is over.” Further, “It is an answer to too many years of pain – mothers separated from their children, workers exploited and undermined security at the border – all caused at the hands of a broken immigration system. This bill says ‘enough,’ and presents a solution to our broken system that we as a nation of immigrants can be proud of.”

The simple solution to prevent the separation of mothers from their children and worker exploitation is for immigrants to follow the legal path to naturalization and for illegal immigrants to be deported.

Gutierrez does not want the passage of this bill because of his empathy for the plight of illegal aliens. It is not about empathy; it is about securing the loyalty of a massive 12 million strong voting bloc for the liberal machine. After all, from the liberal perspective, an illegal alien is just an unregistered Democrat.

Under the new legislation, illegal aliens already here simply need to be employed, pay a $500 fine, learn English and undergo a criminal background check to win amnesty. The bill also abolishes the E-Verify system, which has allowed employers to check easily if a job applicant is in the United States legally and eliminates the programs that permit local law enforcement officials to work as immigration officers.

American citizenship is a privilege not a right. It is time to stop rewarding unlawful behavior and stressing America’s limited resources by providing illegal aliens the rights and benefits afforded legal immigrants and citizens. Illegal immigration is just that – illegal. Because of a lack of enforcement, Americans now have to choose between empathy for the plight of illegal aliens or following the law and doing what is right for America.