OCALA, Fla., December 30, 2013 — Of all the issues that will present themselves in 2014 and the midterm election cycle, few hold a candle to illegal immigration. On this topic middle ground is difficult to find, let alone stand on.
How do you compromise with those who support amnesty for millions of illegals? That position is radical from the start. It does not ignore moderation; it’s an assault on the very concept.
As with other extremist crusades, important facts are unmentioned for the sake of perpetuating a narrative. Many of these facts relate to American Hispanics.
A common claim is that amnesty for illegal aliens will help the Hispanic community. This claim is almost certainly untrue.
“Amnesty and the resultant increase in immigration would be highly injurious to America’s Hispanic community,” explains Dr. Stephen Steinlight of the Center for Immigration Studies.
“Most are working poor with a high percentage of families on two major welfare programs. They’re clinging to the bottom rungs of the socio-economic ladder in the loosest labor market since the Great Depression. A tsunami in immigration would greatly intensify competition for scarce jobs, increase unemployment, drive down wages, and make upward mobility even harder for second and third-generation Hispanics whose socio-economic advancement has stagnated. For reasons previously cited, it would also slow assimilation.”
Beyond the politics of race, illegal immigration presents a can of worms which is virtually impossible to seal. Dealing with it has proven dangerous for politicians across the political spectrum.
Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, says that “(i)f illegal aliens understand that they will not benefit by violating U.S. immigration laws, many fewer would come here and many who are here would respond rationally and, over time, return home on their own.
“For a brief time at the end of the Bush administration there was a moderate increase in immigration enforcement, particularly in the workplace. It is a policy he implemented as a result of stinging defeat of his own effort to pass amnesty in 2007 which he attributed to a lack of confidence on the part of the American people that he would enforce laws even after an amnesty.
“The results were immediate. Even before the recession hit, the illegal population declined for the first time in memory as illegal aliens responded to the unavailability of jobs and went home.
“The belated Bush enforcement policy was followed by a severe recession, which dried up jobs for everyone. Still more illegal aliens responded to the lack of jobs by leaving.
“To anyone who was paying attention, it was pretty obvious that illegal aliens are perfectly rational people, while the policies of our government are irrational. No sooner did the Obama administration succeed President Bush, the policies which were succeeding in reducing illegal immigration were abandoned.
“Even with the continued weakness in the job market (which might have convinced many more illegal aliens to leave) an end to meaningful enforcement and promises of amnesty stanched the downward trend in illegal immigration.”
From this, how can anyone honestly say that stopping illegal alien amnesty is a matter of “left” or “right”? The facts of illegal immigration do not gel with our society’s zest for convenient political labels.
“There are both conservative and liberal reasons for reducing legal immigration and stopping illegal immigration,” says Jo Wideman, the executive director of Californians for Population Stabilization.
According to Wideman, “reasons for opposing illegal immigration include concerns for sensitive borderlands, the impact of population growth, the effect on schools, downward pressure on wages for low-income workers, terrorism and security, injustice to those who follow the rules, and the lack of respect for the rule of law.
“In today’s polarized political environment, politicians tend to exacerbate their policy differences rather than to seek common ground.
“While many right-wingers do embrace the cause of immigration restriction, especially curbing illegal immigration and enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, actually, immigration is an issue that has traditionally cut across party and ideological lines. However, as battle lines have hardened, and wagons have been circled ever more tightly during the past decade or two of struggle, this may be somewhat less the case than in the past.
“Many left-wingers in particular have been relentless in demonizing anyone who favors less immigration or more effective immigration enforcement as racist and xenophobic.
“This has tended to silence many centrists and left-of-center Americans who would rather not be so smeared. No less than Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat, former two-term Wisconsin governor and three-term U.S. Senator from that state, referred to this vilification as left-wing McCarthyism.
“The fact is that the founders of some of the nation’s leading immigration restriction organizations are environmentalists first and foremost and are deeply concerned about the injurious effects of mass immigration on U.S. population growth and the environment.”
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