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Sir Winston Churchill

5.28.2007

Illegal Immigration Roundup

Oh, how I wish that was a plank of the current immigration "reform" bill!

One cannot separate the War on Terror from the surrender on border enforcement.

There are 2.3 million Muslims in America, of which many are not citizens. Given that a quarter of these admit to finding suicide bombing justified in some circumstances, the prospect of a small minority of these being active jihadists is very real. They are borne along the same immigration tide as California lettuce pickers.

Any meaningful immigration reform in wartime therefore must allow for America to choose the countries from whence immigrants come. Our national security demands it.

The current bill allows jihadists to obtain legal status same as anybody else.

This is madness.

One indication of how bad the bill is is that Peggy Noonan is implacably opposed to it:

Naturally I hope the new immigration bill fails. It is less a bill than a big dirty ball of mischief, malfeasance and mendacity, with a touch of class malice, and it's being pushed by a White House that is at once cynical and inept. The bill's Capitol Hill supporters have a great vain popinjay's pride in their own higher compassion. They are inclusive and you're not, you cur, you gun-totin' truckdriver's-hat-wearin' yahoo. It's all so complex, and you'd understand this if you weren't sort of dumb.

But it's not so complex. The past quarter-century an unprecedented wave of illegal immigrants has crossed our borders. The flood is so great that no one--no one--can see or fully imagine all the many implications, all the country-changing facts of it. No one knows exactly what uncontrolled immigration is doing and will do to our country.

So what should we do?

We should stop, slow down and absorb. We should sit and settle. We should do what you do after eating an eight-course meal. We should digest what we've eaten.
We should close our borders. We should do whatever it takes to close them tight and solid. Will that take the Army? Then send the Army. Does it mean building a wall? Then build a wall, but the wall must have doors, which can be opened a little or a lot down the road once we know where we are. Should all legal immigration stop? No. We should make a list of what our nation needs, such as engineers and nurses, and then admit a lot of engineers and nurses. We should take in what we need to survive and flourish.

As we end illegal immigration, we should set ourselves to the Americanization of the immigrants we have. They haven't only joined a place of riches, it's a place of meaning. We must teach them what it is they've joined and why it is good and what is expected of them and what is owed. We stopped Americanizing ourselves 40 years ago. We've got to start telling the story of our country again.

As to the eight or 10 or 12 or 14 million illegals who are here--how interesting that our government doesn't know the number--we should do nothing dramatic or fraught or unlike us. We should debate what to do, at length. Debate isn't bad. There's a lot to say. We can all join in. We should do nothing extreme, only things that are commonsensical.

Here is the truth: America has never deported millions of people, and America will never deport millions of people. It's not what we do. It's not who we are. It's not who we want to be. The American people would never accept evening news pictures of sobbing immigrants being torn from their homes and put on a bus. We wouldn't accept it because we have hearts, and as much as we try to see history in the abstract, we know history comes down to the particular, to the sobbing child in the bus. We don't round up and remove. Nor should we, tomorrow, on one of our whims, grant full legal status and a Cadillac car. We take it a day at a time. We wait and see what's happening. We do the small discrete things a nation can do to make the overall situation better. For instance: "You commit a violent crime? You are so out of here." And, "Here, let me help you learn English."


When a bill outrages Peggy Noonan to the point that she sounds a bit like Ann Coulter, it's an outrageous bill.

It's also immoral:

The U.S. Senate’s amnesty-guestworker package is being sold as “compassionate,” welcoming the alien and treating illegal immigrants “without animosity.”

Is this what Scripture teaches? What can we learn from reason and experience? We’ve tried the legalization route before. It not only failed, but made things worse.

Amnesties sparked more illegal immigration. People concluded that the United States won’t enforce its immigration laws very vigorously and, if they get in, they will be legalized eventually.

The people who gain the most from amnesties are the well-off: Employers let off the hook for having employed an illegal workforce and gaining an unfair competitive advantage over law-abiding employers.

Amnesty effectively shows favoritism to the rich and to the alien, and would demonstrate civil authorities’ failure to protect the people they’re charged with looking after.

With an eye to frequently referenced Old Testament passages, we should remember that it’s a long way from “do not mistreat an alien” to “you must accept all foreigners who wish to live in your nation and legalize all illegal aliens.”

Amnesty, moreover, risks abrogating the “love your neighbor” commandment and biblical standards of justice. It privileges the foreigners who broke our laws to get and stay here, and puts at a disadvantage the poorest citizens, law-abiding employers, and legal immigrants. This doesn’t sound at all like what Romans 13 describes, where the civil government wields the sword of justice to punish the wrongdoer and protect the innocent.

We all can empathize with someone who aspires to a better life. We wish the same for ourselves and our children. But there are lawful ways to achieve it.

Particularly in light of the utter failure of previous amnesties, the legalization route would constitute the government’s failure to mete out justice. It certainly wouldn’t be merciful, on balance.

When government tries to show mercy, it often results in injustice toward someone else. In this case, it’s native-born Americans who’ll suffer government-inflicted injustice.


There is a reason Frost's "Good fences make good neighbors" line resonates, no matter how many don't love walls. "Good fetters make good slaves" is the alternative. Neighborliness has never extended to surrender to foreigners, which is why David was a warrior king, no matter how the Left wishes otherwise.

As a sovereign nation, we have the right and the duty to select those who join our ranks. Justice demands it. This bill fails on that score as well:

As the most attractive land for would-be immigrants, America has the equivalent of the first 100 picks in the NBA draft. Yet through lax border control and sheer inertia, it allows those slots to be filled by (with apologies to Bill Buckley) the first 100 names in the San Salvador phone book.

The immigration compromise now being debated in Congress does improve our criteria for selecting legal immigrants. Unfortunately, its inadequacies in dealing with illegal immigration -- specifically, ensuring that 10 years from now we will not have a new cohort of 12 million demanding amnesty -- completely swamp the good done on legal immigration.


This is precisely what one would expect from any legislation driven by corrupt Democrats. When you look to Ted Kennedy for moral guidance, you've gone far astray indeed.

All of which has caused even open-borders types like John Podhoretz to oppose it:

PRESIDENT Bush wants this new immigration bill. He wants it badly. He said yesterday that he ran both in 2000 and in 2004 as an immigration reformer and he's fulfilling his campaign promises.

He will take it hard if the bill goes down to defeat. He believes in it.

And yet, as was true of the popular revolt that led to the withdrawal of the name of the clearly unqualified Harriet Miers as a Supreme Court nominee in 2005, he will be far better off if he doesn't get what he wants. And so will his party.


Of course, the Great Divider has never much cared for the fortunes of the party he has pushed to the precipice of destruction from the greatest heights it had achieved since the Reconstruction era. If I had to guess, I'd say Dubya's last-standing the immigration bill because Alberto Gonzales is his buddy. That's about the depth of thought the President seems to bring to national issues---how does this affect my friends? Cronyism is the common denominator in the Harriet Miers, Alberto Gonzales, and immigration fiascoes he's inflicted upon the GOP.

Compared to Bush, who at least has the virtue of loyalty, the open-borders crowd is all vice:

To the Editor:

Your May 24 editorial attacks my research on the fiscal costs of low skill immigration as perpetuating a “myth”. Roughly one third of immigrant households are now headed by immigrants without a high school degree. My research, based on Census data and other government sources, shows these “low skill immigrant” households receive, on average, $30,160 per year in government benefits while paying $10,573 in taxes. Thus each such household costs the taxpayer $19,588 per year. Overall, the net cost to U.S. taxpayers is $89 billion per year. My report suggests that the country would benefit fiscally by having fewer low skill immigrants, who are net tax consumers, and more well educated immigrants who are net tax payers.

How does your editorial refute this finding? By changing the subject. Rather than rebut my contention that low skill immigrants are a fiscal drag, it presents statistics about how much all immigrants, including college graduates, pay in taxes. Far from refuting my study, this tactic is either misleading or, at best, irrelevant. It certainly does not demonstrate that low skill immigrants pay more in taxes than they take in benefits.

The editorial also asserts, contrary to the manifest facts, that low skill immigrants do not receive large amounts of means-tested welfare assistance. It claims that one major “flaw” in my analysis is that I count immigrants as receiving welfare despite the fact that most “are not eligible”. Immigrants do have limited eligibility for welfare, which is why my report counts the welfare received by immigrant households based on the immigrants’ self-report of welfare receipt to the Census Bureau. If an immigrant household states it got Food Stamps, it is counted as receiving Food Stamps. It is that simple.

As my report explicitly states, this procedure “automatically adjusts for the low use of government benefits by ...immigrants,” due to eligibility limits. Unless immigrants are over-reporting their own welfare benefits, one finds that low skill immigrant households receive about $10,000 per year in means-tested welfare throughout their lifetimes. This figure does not include other major benefits such as public education, Social Security, and Medicare.

By changing the subject and thus failing to engage the facts, your editorial obscures the real fiscal impact of low-skill immigration.

Robert E. Rector
Senior Research Fellow
The Heritage Foundation


There would be no need to lie about the facts if the facts were on the open-border advocates' side. They're not; at the time of the 1986 amnesty which was supposed to solve the illegal alien problem there were 3 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. Now there are at least 12 million. A fourfold INCREASE in illegal immigration in 20 years cannot be considered successful immigration reform.

How many Americans would support 48 million illegal immigrants among them by 2027? The Wall Street Journal editorial board would stand alone, I think.

All of which means:

1. This bill must be shot down.
2. Enforcment-ONLY is the only acceptable immigration reform.

After several years of successful enforcement, the numbers should be manageable enough to reopen the discussion on an easier path to citizenship.

Until the Keystone Kops who comprise federal law enforcement can establish that they know what noncitizens are in this country and why (knowing EXACTLY how many illegal immigrants are here would be a good indication of progress), they will gain some credibility in suggesting that increasing the numbers of legal immigrants would be useful.

Until the day when our government can credibly claim to keep terrorists and criminals out and let hardworking immigrants who want to be Americans in, bills such as this one must be dead on arrival.

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