By John Eberhard
There has been a great deal of controversy over the last several weeks about illegal immigration, which was initiated by Congress’s considering several bills attempting to reform the area.
Latinos in the Los Angeles area have been protesting, waving Mexican flags, students have been cutting school, and various politicians have been weighing in on the issue. Teddy Kennedy made a speech recently, which compared the issue of illegal immigration to earlier civil rights struggles by blacks and women. In other words, he was saying that illegal immigrants have a right to come here illegally and efforts to limit their illegal immigration are an infringement on those rights. Other immigration supporters have chimed in with this line.
I’ve decided to weigh in on this issue. There are a couple of things wrong with illegal immigration.
The Problems of Non-Assimilation
Since the United States is the most prosperous country on Earth, it is a privilege to move here. It is not a right. Trying to compare illegal immigration to earlier civil rights struggles is ridiculous.
The United States has, as does every country in the world, a right to limit immigration and control immigration. There are a variety of reasons why the US and every country has this right and should have this right.
One reason we have the right to limit the number of people who immigrate here, is because we want to make sure they assimilate to our culture and way of life. There is, naturally, a limit to how many people could assimilate into a country at any one time.
Why do we want them to assimilate or why do we have the right to demand that they assimilate?
First of all, we have a tradition in America where people moving here from other countries have assimilated; they have learned the language, learned our laws, become citizens, paid taxes, and so on. We have never required them to leave their own customs behind, but we do require that in general they become part of the group here. And you’ll notice that despite many different peoples here with many customs and backgrounds, most Americans get along pretty well. The last major civil strife occurred 141 years ago.
There is a phenomenon that has been observed in some countries, which some smart person has named "Balkanization." "Balkanize" is defined by the Miriam Webster Online Dictionary as "to break up (as a region or group) into smaller and often hostile units." The term comes, of course, from the Balkans, the countries occupying the Balkan Peninsula; Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece, & Turkey. You may have heard of a lot of fighting and unrest in that region over the past 15 years, based largely on differing customs, languages, ethnic hatreds and so on.
We have also seen a Balkanization effect in Canada, where the French-speaking people of Quebec have tried several times to secede.
We are seeing a definite Balkanization in France, caused by large-scale Arabic immigration in recent years, and by the French government foolishly permitting the Arab immigrants to set up isolated enclaves where police aren’t even allowed in. This recently erupted in full-scale riots in Paris.
Now in America, with massive amounts of illegal immigrants, most from Mexico, we are seeing a true Balkanization effect. The bilingual educational program has allowed the youth of this group to continue to speak Spanish and not to learn English. And how many times have you called some company you deal with and heard "for English, press 1…"? Many companies have worked hard to court the non-assimilating Hispanic population, and in so doing have made it easier for them to be here. Some banks are now even giving home loans to illegal immigrants.
Many of these people have no intentions of assimilating to America. They aren’t learning the language, learning the laws, or becoming legal so they can pay taxes or get a driver’s license. Some are even staying here only temporarily so they can send money home to family in Mexico (no wonder Vincente Fox wants things to stay as they are).
If you look at past generations of immigrants to America (mine from Germany in the early 1900s), and the way those generations adapted to life here, it is totally different from what the current illegal immigrants are doing. The current illegal immigrants, most of them from Mexico, have no respect for our laws, our customs, our way of life. Note that recent demonstrators have been waving the Mexican, not the American flag.
Several authors have written books recently on this Balkanization of America and how this alone could potentially destroy the country.
Many illegal immigration advocates say that any hostility towards illegals is a symptom of racism. I saw a column in the paper recently that made that claim. What they are not willing to confront is that Americans have played by the assimilation rules for hundreds of years, and that it is actually natural to feel hostility towards someone who comes in, breaks the law, doesn’t play by the rules, doesn’t learn the language, and has no respect for the country or the system. And collects $5-6 billion in free services per year in California, paid for by his taxes (see the next section).
Welfare – The Monkey Wrench in the Works
The second major problem with uncontrolled illegal immigration (along with non-assimilation), is welfare benefits for illegal immigrants. Welfare benefits for illegals creates a drain on the economy, and it attracts the wrong type of person to come to our country.
You may recall Prop 187 from 1994 in California. This proposition would have stopped all welfare benefits for illegal immigrants in California. At the time these benefits added up to over $3 billion per year. In the 12 years since then this figure has probably doubled. Prop 187 was passed by 59% of California voters, but was ruled unconstitutional by one liberal judge. I still don’t get how it is unconstitutional to say that people who come here illegally from some other country, and aren’t US citizens, shouldn’t get free benefits – to the tune of $3 billion per year. But that’s liberal judicial activism for you.
So in essence, we are being told by liberal judges that we HAVE to give illegal immigrants free welfare benefits (including health care, free education, etc.). Even in California which has been on the verge of bankruptcy for the past two years. So we can’t afford it, the people don’t want it, but we are forced to do it.
Then, in the face of that, we have people protesting because we want to limit the flow of illegal immigrants coming here. So we have to give them free benefits, we can’t take those away, and according to the protesters, they have a right to come here and we have no right to tell them they can’t or limit the flow. How many things are wrong with that?
In addition, it seems extremely obvious that welfare benefits for illegals forms an alluring carrot to attract millions more to come. And what type of person would be attracted to come to the US to receive free benefits? Is it the type of person who would work hard and help build the community? Or is it the type of person who would be a parasite on the community? We are told by the illegal immigration advocates that these people just want to work. If that is so, then why can’t we take away the free welfare benefits? If someone wants to work then why does he need welfare benefits?
Clearly, the illegal immigration advocates are being disingenuous (i.e. dishonest) in the way they are promoting the issue and in the reasons they are giving. Clearly, part of their goal is the old Marxist story of socialist re-distribution of wealth.
How the Parties View Illegal Immigration
Neither party has really tackled the issue of illegal immigration solidly or honestly.
The Republican Party has stayed away from better enforcement of the immigration laws, it is reported on radio talk shows, because they view illegal immigrants as a cheap labor source. Apparently top Republicans feel that having a "cheap labor source" is good for business, especially certain industries such as agriculture.
In case, you haven’t followed the issue, "cheap labor source" is a code phrase for "we don’t have to pay them minimum wage." In other words, since these people are in the country illegally, and they are hired under the table and paid cash, they can be hired for less than minimum wage.
Some Republicans have been saying that illegal immigrants will "do the jobs that Americans won’t do." I don’t buy this, period. I consider it an insult to Americans.
On the Democratic Party side, we have people like Teddy Kennedy saying that illegal immigration is a "right" and that this is a civil rights struggle. Getting past the point of how ridiculous this is (it’s like saying some stranger has a "right" to my wallet), my bet is that their true motivations are twofold:
a. They see that block of 11-12 million illegal immigrants, if they give them enough welfare giveaways, as natural future Democratic Party voters.
b. It’s part of the old, tired, Marxist idea of redistribution of wealth, meaning they want tons of immigrants to come here illegally so they can take yours and my tax money and give them all kinds of welfare, and
In the face of this we have the Senate working right now on a compromise bill, that is basically a guest-worker amnesty. Lots of Senators are insisting that it is not an amnesty, but let’s face facts. It removes the major penalty that is currently supposed to be imposed on someone who comes here illegally, which is deportation.
The other problem with any proposal of this type is that there is no way to enforce it and no real incentive for the illegal immigrants to come forward and go through the new steps being proposed; pay a fine, learn English, get on the track to citizenship, etc. If we don’t have enough manpower now to deport illegal immigrants (we deported 200,000 last year) then how would we have enough manpower to enforce and manage this new, complicated guest-worker amnesty system?
Recent polls show on amnesty show differing amounts of support, from about half the population to be against any kind of amnesty, to 99% against amnesty.
Unlimited, large-scale illegal immigration is a problem for several reasons:
a. These people are not assimilating to US culture, not learning the language and not becoming citizens, setting up a Balkanization effect that is already in progress.
b. It’s an economic drain because liberal activist judges are forcing us to continue to give illegal immigrants free welfare benefits. So while those that work do contribute to the American economy, they don’t pay taxes but do receive free benefits and so are by their nature a drain on the economy.
c. The bill coming out the Senate is an amnesty, which is unwanted by a large segment of the American population, but the Senate doesn’t seem to care. Politicians on both sides seem terrified of angering legal Hispanic voters. Plus there is no way to enforce the bill and no incentive for illegals to conform to it.
After all the above you’d think the solution was complex. It’s not. It comes down to two points:
1. Crack down on enforcement of laws against employing illegal immigrants. A few high profile busts will have a chilling effect on the employment of illegal immigrants nationwide. This doesn’t require any new laws, just enforcement of existing ones.
2. Simply discontinue all welfare benefits for illegal immigrants nationwide. This will require new legislation at the national level.
Once illegal immigrants can’t get a job and can’t get any more free benefits, there will be much less incentive to come here, because, after all, it’s probably easier to be unemployed in Mexico than it is here. Certainly it would be easier than to live in LA which has some of the highest housing costs in the nation. You won’t even need a fence along the US/Mexico border, because you would have removed the incentives to come illegally.
And doing the above will put more pressure on Vincente Fox to get his house in order in Mexico, which is why he is so against any change in the status quo relating to immigration.
Unfortunately, I don’t see much political will in Congress to really handle this problem.
But you can do something. If you agree with this article, do the following:
1. Send it to your friends.
2. Send it to your US Senator, and say "I agree with this. No amnesty!"
3. Send it to your US Representative, and say "I agree with this. No amnesty!"
4. Send it to your state legislators, and say "I agree with this. No amnesty!"
5. Send it to your Governor, and say "I agree with this. No amnesty!"
6. Send it to your local mayor, and say "I agree with this. No amnesty!"
Thanks for your support for America.