If you like open borders, you must have loved President Barack Obama’s close-to-extra-constitutional executive action to grant an estimated five million illegal immigrants work papers and freedom from potential deportation – as if that was really going to happen since few are being deported anyway. In reality, the borders have been open. We have an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in this country who came in after the last amnesty in 1986 and we don’t know what to do about them.
Whatever, it was a political move, more attuned to representing the rest of the world rather than the majority of Americans. It was a promise both broken and kept: broken because President Obama promised to take it right after his election when Democrats had control of both houses of Congress; kept last week by executive action – not law – as an in-your-face gesture to Republicans who take control of both houses in January and have blocked prior action because of concerns with border security.
It is a short-term, disruptive constitutionally and political, action. It addresses only half the problem. The problem is you can’t deport 11 million people anyway. Impossible physically and politically. However, if you give amnesty – that is, a direct route to citizenship – how do we stop the influx of new illegals? An unanswered question. We haven’t in the past and what are the real plans for doing it now? If we do what we did in the past, we’ll be back in a few years to where we are now. The focus should be on stopping new people from coming in illegally.
Don’t think the actions don’t affect the labor market, particularly the lower echelons. Cheap, imported labor, legal and illegal, is competitive. We may love the illegal immigrants, but it’s no favor to people already here. Think African-American population, or, as I like to think of them, Americans who were born and raised here and just happen to have darker skins. No difference than anyone else. However, there are far more lighter skinned people in the labor market who are affected. Then, there’s the factor of fairness and justice – with which the political left seems obsessed. Where does that fit in?
We all probably know someone who went through that lengthy legal process to get here. Is that fair to them? Can we go to other countries and establish residency? Of course we can, but not legally (check out the restrictions for immigrants to Mexico). And, that’s the issue – besides blocking the illegal flow. Politically, some don’t want to stop the flow. Partly it’s people who already have relatives here; the other part is political or the anticipation that all the new people will vote with the party that allows everyone in.
We need to ask, also, who do we want to come to this country? Some industries (agricultural, for instance) want temporary and even permanent workers. High tech industries want to keep some of the high-tech immigrants who graduate from our universities (an estimated one million Asians). So, we have to pick and choose – oops, politically incorrect. Anyway, we need imported labor. Nothing really wrong with that. But, it doesn’t fit the mantra that we are all immigrants in this country and therefore everyone should be allowed in who wants in.
Really? Are we going accept open immigration from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, etc., etc., and Africa, or all of Asia – many of whom are oppressed? The fact is, we’re not talking just about Latinos with whom we have long and physically close connections, nor Europeans who, for the most part, share our earlier heritage. No. We’re part of a global picture. If you want a comprehensive immigration policy (I do) then think globally. It’s a politically dangerous game.
I’m in favor of a comprehensive immigration policy – proposed and opposed in the early 2000s – and think there has to be a way in for the 11 million people already here. We also need a positive, America-oriented program that attracts people we need from all over the world. It’s a complex problem that isn’t static. We do, however, have to control our border. Without that everything is meaningless.
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