Illegal immigration remains an issue with some members of Congress, and at least one of them justly links the need for secure borders with a need to put an end to the welfare state -- and an end to amnesty for those who cross into the United States illegally.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, said in a weekly address that the way to curtail illegal immigration is simple, but too many of his colleagues lack the political will.

Mr. Paul has joined with other members of the House Immigration Reform caucus to demand legislation this year that keys on maintaining physical control of our borders while rejecting any form of amnesty for illegal immigrants -- though, he said, other members of Congress and administration officials remain committed to amnesty.

Amnesty allows those who broke the law to be rewarded with visas and possibly citizenship -- given legal status -- while those who tried to immigrate through proper channels face years of bureaucratic delays.

"If we reward millions who came here illegally, surely millions more will follow suit. Ten years from now we will be in the same position, with a whole new generation of lawbreakers seeking amnesty," Mr. Paul said.

The Texas congressman calls the immigration problem a welfare state problem, saying some illegals receive housing subsidies, food stamps, free medical care, and other forms of welfare.

"This alienates taxpayers and breeds suspicion of immigrants, even though the majority of them work very hard. Without a welfare state, we would know that everyone coming to America wanted to work hard and support himself. Since we have accepted a permanent welfare state, however, we cannot be surprised when some freeloaders and criminals are attracted to our shores. Welfare muddies the question of why immigrants want to come here," he said.

We couldn't agree more.

Not long ago we ran an editorial saying much the same thing: "If the U.S. government were not in the socialist habit of redistributing wealth, of usurping the charitable energies of religious and other private organizations, there would be less concern for fully open borders," we wrote in May.

What have been termed "entitlement programs" such as Social Security, Medicare and others may have started with good intentions, but they have helped strain the federal budget. Allowing illegal immigrants to take part in such programs increases the financial problems that will have to be paid somehow by someone. And that "someone" is the American taxpayer -- the cash cow of the American welfare state.

As Congressman Paul pointed out, Social Security is in trouble already, and sending those benefits to millions of illegal aliens who return to their native countries will cost millions or even billions of dollars.

As said in the May editorial, our nation's borders should be open for those who come to work to build a better life, but it should be closed to those who come here to siphon life from the rest of us.

Ending the welfare state will go a long way to securing the borders. With fewer illegals coming for the welfare, it will be easier to catch those who come to spread terror.

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