Can we be honest about illegal immigration?
It is a common challenge to almost every advanced Western country that is adjacent to poorer nations.
American employers and ethnic activists have long colluded to weaken border enforcement and render immigration law meaningless. The former wanted greater profits from cheaper labor, the latter wished more political clout for themselves.
For better or worse, illegal immigration is tied to race and ethnicity. No doubt, ignorant racism drives some to oppose illegal immigration. But by the same token, the advocates of open borders, many of them with strong ties to
There is too often a surreal disconnect about the perception of the U.S. in the immigration debate.
Millions, we sometimes forget, are fleeing from the authoritarianism, racism, corruption and class oppression of
Then there is the matter of law. America went to war over the Confederate states' nullification of federal laws. A century and a half later, do we really want hundreds of sanctuary cities, each declaring irrelevant certain federal laws that they find bothersome?
For every left-wing city that declares immigration statutes inoperative, a right-wing counterpart might do the same with the Endangered Species Act, gun registration laws, affirmative action or gay marriage. The result would be chaos and anarchy, not compassion.
Controversy has arisen over the number of undocumented immigrants who have committed felonies or serious misdemeanors, such as the Mexican national -- a repeat felon and deportee -- recently charged with the fatal shooting of a young woman in
Either the number of undocumented immigrants who commit crimes is so vast that no one knows the extent of the problem, or there are political hurdles in determining that number -- or drawing politically incorrect conclusions from it.
We should not minimize criminality. Creating a false identity, using a fraudulent
Numbers also count. When millions come to a country illegally, integration breaks down and tribalism takes over. Do we really want permanent Balkanized ethnic lobbies, frozen in amber -- another century of a monolithic Asian, white or Latino vote? Are Americans to fragment even more, as they collectively sigh, "If they vote predictably along ethnic lines, I guess I should, too"?
President Obama talks grandly of "immigration reform." But he apparently does not mean what most Americans would assume from that faddish catchphrase.
Reform should first include strict enforcement of the border. A new, ethnically blind immigration system would select from among applicants based on skill sets and education, and consider candidates from all over the world -- not on the basis of ethnic identity or proximity to the border.
Immediate and lasting deportation would ensue for those who committed crimes or cynically chose to receive public assistance rather than work while here illegally.
Many Americans are in favor of offering a path to legal residence to those undocumented immigrants who have long lived and worked in the U.S. and have crime-free records -- after they pay a fine for breaking federal law and then wait patiently in line while the legal process plays out -- as long as the border is sealed to prevent future illegal immigration.
If some newly legal residents wished to become full-fledged citizens, then they could pass citizenship and English tests and assimilate into the American body politic.
Somehow I doubt that this fair, reasonable process is what the president really wants.