Demonstrators from opposing sides confront each other, Friday, July 4, 2014, outside a U.S. Border Patrol station in Murrieta, Calif. Demonstrators on both sides of the immigration debate had gathered where the agency was foiled earlier in an attempt to bus in and process some of the immigrants who have flooded the Texas border with Mexico. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

A few weeks ago, the president claimed that “the shadow of the crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.” His claim was based almost solely on his assertion that unemployment is lower than any point since 2009.

While the unemployment rate the White House touts is almost half of what it was in October 2009, the size of our labor force has continuously shrunk. More and more people are chronically unemployed and, therefore, have not factored into the current unemployment rate. Had those citizens also been counted, unemployment would easily be higher now than 2009.

Currently, our economy has more people out of the workforce than at any other time in recorded history, with some 93 million out of work. While the President and his fellow Democrats ignore these facts, we cannot.

The fact of the matter is that the State of our Union is not strong, and the president and many politicians in Washington are seeking to make it even weaker through amnesty and “immigration reform.”

President Obama and politicians from both parties have long sought to offer amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants who have broken America’s immigration laws, entered the country illegally, and are currently taking low wage jobs that millions of Americans and legal immigrants need to support their families.

The fact remains that our economy has been weakened by the largest influx of uncontrolled illegal immigration to the United States that we have ever experienced. To prove this we need not look any further than the 93 million American citizens and legal immigrants who are out of work, and cannot find a job because of the illegal immigrants pouring over our borders.

No American is immune from feeling the effects of our massive illegal immigration problem, but it’s the minorities who are especially affected by an unsecure border that allows illegals to pour in and take entry-level jobs from hard working Americans.

Here in Louisiana, the unemployment rate for young black men is three times higher than the statewide average. This is unacceptable.

Our immigration system is broken. And the Band-Aid “solutions” coming out of Washington are making the problems worse. They’re killing the middle class, harming the most vulnerable among us and destroying any hope many have of achieving the American Dream.

The time has long since passed to secure our borders, refuse to allow a pathway to citizenship for those who have broken our laws, and not allow a single penny to be spent on anything other than securing the borders and deporting those who have broken our laws.

We must ensure that the only immigration into the United States is legal immigration.

Rob Maness

U.S. Air Force, retired

Madisonville

Elbert Guillory

state senator

Opelousas