We need an effective immigration policy, as suggested in the Dec. 16 Maine Voices column (“Comprehensive immigration reform remains essential for Maine’s future”). Before you can discuss this “need,” though, you have to be clear on what you are talking about.

The authors use the term “immigrants” to include both legal and illegal immigrants, which is disingenuous and misleading as they are two different classes of individuals. Having immersed myself in this subject for the past 12 years, I understand that mindset, even though I disagree with it.

And, therein lies the rub.

Legalizing the estimated 11 million-plus illegal immigrants would be an insult to those who came here legally (“Letters to the editor: Citizenship something to be earned; let’s not give it away,” Oct. 4), but it would be giving amnesty – and it is amnesty – to those who have committed identity fraud, tax evasion, Social Security number fraud, illegal re-entry, etc.

We do not have a “broken immigration system.” Starting with the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act and extending to the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act – and the many laws passed in between and afterward – we have a plethora of laws. What we have lacked is enforcement.

Do we need revisions, additions and improvements to our immigrant and visa laws? Certainly, but embracing the comprehensive nonsense of the U.S. Senate bill, S.744, will only see a repeat of the 1986 amnesty: legalization without enforcement.