Jewish World Review Feb 16, 2012/ 23 Shevat, 5772
Please, a little honesty about illegal immigration
By Victor Davis Hanson
The administration has also said it will focus enforcement only on those who have committed crimes -- with the implicit understanding that it is no longer a crime to illegally enter and reside in
It is time that Americans revisit the issue and ponder very carefully the morality of entering
True, American employers have welcomed in illegal aliens as a source of cheap labor. Employers were happy to pass the ensuing social costs on to taxpayers. To summarily deport those who have resided here for 20 years, obeyed the law, worked hard, stayed off public assistance and are now willing to pay a fine, demonstrate English proficiency and pass a citizenship test would be impracticable, callous and counterproductive.
Most, however, probably do not fit those reasonable criteria.
More importantly, we forget that the influx of millions of illegal aliens unfairly undercuts the wages of the working American poor, especially in times of high unemployment.
Crossing the border was also hardly a one-time "infraction." It was the beginning of serial unethical behavior, as illegal aliens on everyday forms and affidavits were not truthful about their immigration status.
The legal process of immigrating to America was reduced to a free-for-all rush to the border. Million of applicants abroad wait patiently, if not naively, in line to have their education, skills and capital resources evaluated. But they are punished with delay or rejection because they alone follow immigration law.
Billions of dollars in state and federal social services do not just help provide parity to illegal aliens, but also free them to send back about
Nor is it very liberal to turn illegal immigration into an issue of identity and tribal politics. Too many advocates for open borders and amnesty argue about the politics of ethnic solidarity rather than considerations of immigration law. In other words, we do not hear much national outrage over the plight of the occasional Pole, Nigerian or Korean who overstays his tourist visa, but rather equate the circumvention of immigration law almost exclusively with social justice for Latinos.
How reactionary and illiberal that debate has become, when Mexican Americans who object to the undermining of immigration law are slandered as sellouts, while non-Hispanics who do the same are smeared as racists and nativists.
In fact, illegal immigration unfairly warped perceptions of undeniable Hispanic success. If one does not include millions of recently arrived poor Latin American foreign nationals in federal and state surveys, then Hispanic American citizens prove statistically to be assimilating, intermarrying, integrating, and finding economic success at rates comparable to many other immigrant groups of the past.
To mean anything, laws have to be followed. When newcomers choose to ignore them, then the entire structure of jurisprudence crashes as well. If aliens are free to ignore federal immigration law, then cannot citizens likewise pick and choose which statutes they find inconvenient?
Finally, illegal immigration has wrongly been couched in terms of a xenophobic and insensitive exploiter preying on a more noble and defenseless guest. In truth,
There are now about 40 million foreign-born people residing in
We can argue about the history or the future of illegal immigration. But please spare us the psychodramatic appeals to a higher morality.
In most regards, illegal immigration has proven as immoral as it is unlawful.
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Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.
© 2012, TMS