If there is one thing on the minds of Americans across the nation, it is our economic crisis and Washington’s failure to address it. The failure of Obama’s policies is nowhere more painfully obvious than in his unwillingness to connect the dots between our economic burdens and illegal immigration.

President Obama and his congressional allies on Capitol Hill enacted a failed $787 billion stimulus, a $1 trillion government takeover of health care, auto bailouts, cap-and-trade legislation and tax increases. All of these hurt America’s working families and small businesses, but they have done nothing to create the jobs promised by the Obama administration.

Yet, no one in Washington – and as yet, no candidate on the 2012 campaign trail – has tackled the overarching issue of illegal immigration and its connection to our economic woes.

Illegal immigration affects every aspect of our daily lives and every part of our economic crisis. Illegal aliens attend our schools, utilize America’s health-care benefits and enjoy access to America’s public roadways, parks and other public amenities. In many states, criminal aliens occupy 20 percent or more of the beds in our jails and prisons. More importantly, they compete for jobs at a time of 9 percent unemployment.

All of this comes at a cost to the American taxpayer. The United States is a nation founded on freedom, individual responsibility and the rule of law. Allowing persons who are in the country in violation of our laws to exploit our social services and safety nets is a slap in the face to all Americans. It is especially insulting to legal immigrants who have come here the right way. Simply put, rewarding illegal behavior punishes the rest of us.

Two days ago, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of an Arizona law that requires all employers to use the federal E-Verify program to check the lawful eligibility of new hires. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has now been told by the Supreme Court to stand down in its opposition to such laws. Other states can now move forward without fear of expensive litigation, and Congress could make the use of E-Verify mandatory across the nation.

Just weeks ago, Obama visited our southern border at El Paso in an attempt to woo Hispanic voters in 2012 and appease the open-borders lobby. The new claim from the White House is that amnesty and unmitigated immigration won’t hurt American workers – in fact, Obama asks us to believe it’s good for the economy. The fact is, during a time of high unemployment, adding more illegal workers to the job pool – or legalizing 10 million illegal workers now “in the shadows” – only hurts Americans already struggling to find work. This is simple economics.

We have come to expect persistent attempts at passing the unpopular amnesty bill from President Obama and congressional Democrats, but it is surprising that not one of the current candidates for the Republican nomination for president have discussed the issue on the campaign trail. I say surprising because it is a popular issue among Republican voters, with 80 percent of them opposing amnesty and supporting stronger border security. Republicans agree we must put an end to Washington’s culture of reckless spending and soaring taxes to create jobs and put our economy on the road to recovery. But oddly, not one of the presidential candidates has addressed the dangers illegal immigration and open borders have on both our prosperity and our survival as a nation.

No Republican presidential candidate has mentioned the growing threat Mexican drug cartels pose to American citizens and our national sovereignty. According to the FBI, the Mexican drug cartels now have operatives in over 200 American cities. Not one of the presidential candidates has led the fight against sanctuary cities and businesses that hire illegal aliens. Not one of them has voiced concern for these issues on the campaign trail.

Here are the dismal facts.

Rep. Ron Paul has taken a sharp left turn on immigration, which I highlighted in a recent column, and refuses to back meaningful immigration enforcement measures such as mandatory E-Verify for all employers. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has consistently supported amnesty and was an ardent supporter of in-state tuition for illegal aliens. Gov. Mitt Romney supported the McCain-Kennedy amnesty plan, before he was against it, and has avoided the issue in all of his campaign statements. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich supports a “robust” guest-worker program and a comprehensive amnesty. Sen. Rick Santorum voted against creating a voluntary E-Verify system and has consistently stated America needs to increase immigration to fix Social Security. Gov. Sarah Palin has outlined a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens. And finally, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has a respectable but limited record on the issue in Minnesota, has consistently ignored it on the campaign trail.

If we are serious about solving our economic problems, we must insist on secure borders and effective interior enforcement of our immigration laws, including enforcement of federal laws against hiring illegal workers.

Not one of the 2012 Republican candidates has a passing grade on illegal immigration, and not one of them is discussing this problem openly with the American people. I hope one of the current candidates will step up and address this issue. If that does not happen soon, I do know one person willing to give that issue the attention it deserves on the 2012 national stage.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.