Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Conservative Viewpoint
- Illegal immigration: One Of America’s Economic Battlefronts

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

Voters are telling pollsters the economy is their biggest concern. The president and Congress have proposed a $150 billion incentive package to hopefully avert a recession. Economists and politicians are debating what will work best in the short term. We need something that will work for the long term.

Illegal immigration is a serious economic problem. Our “friends” to the south have been waging an economic war against this country for more than 30 years. We’re losing big-time and we’re letting it happen.

The U. S. Border Patrol estimates that we have between 12-15 million illegal aliens living here. Bear Stearns & Co., a legal global investment firm, puts the figure closer to 20 million. No one knows for sure.

Seventy- eight percent of illegal immigrants have entered the U.S. from our southern border and they continue to come. Fifty-six percent are from Mexico; 22 percent from Central and South America

The U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Service reported there were 702,000 immigrants naturalized in 2006. Eight-four thousand were from Mexico. Approximately 350,000 were from Spanish-speaking countries, with the bulk coming from countries south of our border. They’re not the problem.

Pew Research estimates in excess of 700,000 aliens entering our country illegally every year.

Our politicians are charged with enforcing the laws of the land, but don’t. They would rather appease businesses that depend on the flow of the cheap labor that illegal aliens provide, knowing they’re often rewarded with campaign contributions for doing so.

The U. S. government estimates that at least $80 billion leaves the country every year in cash transfers. The bulk of this money flows into Mexico. Mexico exports unemployment and social problems to the U.S., and imports billions of U. S. dollars that will be spent in Mexico.

Living in America shouldn’t mean a free lunch. For illegal immigrants, it often is. They reap the harvest from our hard-earned tax dollars paid through income tax (state and federal), and Social Security, unemployment and Medicare taxes. While some illegal aliens are paying taxes, many are not. They are either frightened of being caught or sent home and /or work for unscrupulous employers who are gaming the system.

Tina Grigio, a journalist for the Denver Rocky Mountain News, illustrates the cost of harboring illegal aliens:

* In California, if the 3.5 million illegal aliens left the U. S. and returned to Mexico, the state would have an extra $10.2 billion to spend on schools, hospitals and prisons. Less congestion on the roads would mean less pollution. English would again become the predominate language.

* In Colorado, returning their 500,000 illegal aliens along with their 300,000 children and grandchildren to Mexico would save state taxpayers $7 billion.

There are an estimated 1.5 million illegal aliens in Florida and 2.1 million in Chicago.

California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Arizona and North Carolina account for half of our nation’s undocumented population. In North Carolina, one out of every 17 people is an illegal alien.

Listening to Washington and Raleigh politicians, you’d think solving this problem is among the most difficult we have ever faced. This is nonsense.

Fifty-four years ago Republican President Dwight Eisenhower faced a similar immigration crisis. America’s porous southern borders had been violated by 3 million illegal aliens over several years. With only 10 percent of the number of today’s U. S. Border Patrol agents, Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback” rounded up and removed illegal aliens from the U. S.

The law-abiding citizens among us are being punished because of this nation’s addiction to cheap labor and by politicians concerned about self-preservation. Hispanics represent the second largest U. S. voting block.

In January of 2005 “World Net Daily” reported the Mexican Foreign Ministry had created a pamphlet entitled “The Guide for the Mexican Migrant.” It gives practical advice to Mexicans seeking work opportunities outside of Mexico. It focuses on how to safely cross into the U. S. illegally, the legal rights they’ll have while here, how to avoid detection by the U. S. Border Patrol, what to say and do if you’re caught, as well as how to live unobtrusively in America.

Recent polls have shown that eighty percent of Americans want immigration laws enforced and similar numbers do not support amnesty. They do however support a legalized guest-worker program that permits Mexicans to register in their country for temporary agricultural jobs here.

Our economy is facing many major economic challenges, including dealing with the imbalance of trade with China and the sub-prime mortgage debacle. We’re in this mess because we’ve allowed ourselves and our leaders to succumb to greed, laziness and self-indulgence. We’ve put our sovereignty at risk, as well as our jobs, our language and our culture.

If we are a nation that truly believes in the rule of law, why do we continue to allow this illegal immigration travesty to continue? It can be fixed. Do we have the will to do it?

The unfortunate answer is that many Americans, a large number in both our major parties, have rationalized the acceptance of those among the invaders who help them. The mother who uses a cheap child care worker she could not otherwise afford, the plumber who works 80 hours and doesn’t have time to mow his lawn, the small business that uses cleaning crews at night, farmers who need workers to get in the crops they barely make money on, the socialist who is committed to “the workers of the world”, the liberal politician who needs their votes to assure victory, the civil rights leader who needs another constituency of the aggrieved . . .

Because of this rationalizing an excuse to tolerate, and in some cases glorify, these economic invaders there is no political will to take direct action to cure the problem. The American people are the ones who will crucify anyone who takes direct action such as deporting long time neighbors who are found to have been here illegally. However they want the problem solved and they want new invaders kept out and they want life to be hard for those who have not yet made a life here.

That is a complicated challenge. There are a few for whom Bob’s charge of being greedy, lazy and self indulgent is accurate, but some have simply not figured out how to do this so that the same people demanding action will not “shoot the messenger”. How do you put pressure without taking direct action?

We have to fix this problem. Bob is right when he says that it is all about willpower.


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