Jewish World Review
August 5, 2010
25 Menachem-Av, 5770
Victor Davis Hanson
Some 11 million to 15 million illegal aliens are now residing in America, most after crossing into America unlawfully. Once a federal law is arbitrarily not enforced, all sorts of bizarre paradoxes arise from that original contradiction. As proof, examine the following illogical policies and contradictions involving illegal immigration.
Take, for example, profiling -- the controversial questioning of those who appear likely to be illegal aliens. Apparently, American border guards have developed criteria for profiling those deemed likely to be unlawful aliens. Otherwise, how would they have arrested and deported hundreds of thousands in 2009?
Yet apparently, at some arbitrary point distant from the border, those who cross illegally are not supposed to be asked about their immigration status. OK, but exactly why did procedures so radically change at, say, five, 10, 20, or is it 100 miles from the border? A border patrolman often profiles, but a nearby highway patrolman cannot?
The federal government is suing Arizona for the state's efforts to enforce the federal immigration law. The lawsuit alleges that Arizona is too zealous both in enforcing immigration law and encroaching on federal jurisdiction.
But wait -- for years, several American cities have declared themselves sanctuary cities. City officials have even bragged that they would not allow their municipalities to enforce federal immigration statutes. So why does Washington sue a state that seeks to enhance federal immigration laws and yet ignore cities that blatantly try to erode them?
Something is going very wrong in Mexico to prompt more than half a million of its citizens to cross the border illegally each year. Impoverished Mexican nationals variously cite poor economic conditions back home, government corruption, a lack of social services, and racism. In other words, it is not just the desirability of America but also the perceived undesirability of Mexico that explains one of largest mass exoduses in modern history.
But why, then, would Mexican President Felipe Calderon, whose country's conditions are forcing out its own citizens, criticize the United States, which is receiving so many of them? And why, for that matter, would many of those illegal immigrants identify, if only symbolically, with the country that made them leave, whether by waving its flag or criticizing the attitudes of the Americans who took them in?
And how does Mexico treat the hundreds of thousands of aliens who seek to illegally cross its own southern border with Central America each year? Does Mexico believe in sovereign borders to its south but not to its north?
Is Mexico more or less humane to illegal aliens than the country it so often faults? Why, exactly, does Mexico believe that nearly a million of its own nationals annually have claims on American residency, when Chinese, Indian, European and African would-be immigrants are deemed not to? Is the reason proximity? Past history?
Proponents of open borders have organized May Day rallies, staged boycotts of Arizona, sued in federal and state courts, and sought to portray those who want to enforce existing federal immigration law as racially insensitive. But about 70 percent of Americans support securing our borders, and support the Arizona law in particular. Are a clear majority of Americans racist, brainwashed or deluded in believing that their laws should be enforced? And if so, why would immigrants wish to join them?
It is considered liberal to support open borders and reactionary to want to close them. But illegal immigration drives down the hourly wages of the working American poor. Tens of thousands of impoverished people abroad, from Africa to Asia, wait patiently to enter America legally, while hundreds of thousands from Latin America do not. How liberal can all that be?
America extends housing, food and education subsidies to illegal aliens in need. But Mexico receives more than $20 billion in American remittances a year -- its second-highest source of foreign exchange, and almost of it from its own nationals living in the United States. Are Americans then subsidizing the Mexican government by extending social services to aliens, freeing up cash for them to send back home?
These baffling questions are rarely posed, never addressed and often considered politically incorrect. But they will only be asked more frequently in the months ahead.
You see, once a law is not considered quite a law, all sorts of even stranger paradoxes follow.
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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.