One of the hot topics in the blogosphere over the last few days has been an enormous rift in the Republican Party over immigration. That’s a good thing because this is an issue that deserves a lot more attention. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that A-list blogger and popular radio host Hugh Hewitt was right on target when he said:
“After two days of conversations in DC with leading conservatives and officials, it is clear to me that the GOP is the party of expertise and achievement abroad and innovation and new ideas at home, always the superior position in politics. The only serious danger to its leadership is a split over immigration — the sort of split that destroyed Peel’s Conservative Party over the Corn Laws and Gladstone’s Liberals over Home Rule for Ireland and Chamberlain’s theories of imperial preference.”
The reason the sort of split that Hugh mentions is possible is because quite simply, there is no issue, let me repeat, no issue, where the President and our Republican Congress are farther out of touch with what their base and the American people want than on the issue of illegal immigration.
There are a lot of Americans who are boiling mad over how we’re dealing with illegals and with good reason.
Since illegal immigrants break the law to enter our country, it’s not surprising that where large numbers of illegal immigrants go, crime waves follow. For example, as Heather Mac Donald reveals, in LA “95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide…target illegal immigrants.” But it’s not just a West Coast problem. Mac Donald also notes that “estimates (are) that 70 percent of the drug dealers and other criminals in Manhattan�s Washington Heights were illegal.” With numbers like that, it’s no coincidence that in 2000 “nearly 30 percent of federal prisoners were foreign-born.”
But an increase in illegal immigration doesn’t just mean a surge in the number of Americans who will be raped, robbed and murdered, it means more taxes have to be paid by the rest of us. According to Mark Krikorian, about 25% of illegal aliens collect welfare which they’ve become eligibile for after having children on American soil. Then there’s the aforementioned costs of dealing with crime committed by illegals, the costs of sending children of illegal aliens to our schools, and don’t forget that taxpayers end up picking up the tab for the medical care of many illegals. When you put it all together, it’s hardly surprising that illegal immigrants consume more taxes than they pay out:
“U.S. households headed by illegal aliens used $26.3 billion in government services during 2002 but paid only $16 billion in taxes, an annual cost to taxpayers of $10 billion, says a report issued yesterday by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).”
Furthermore, keep in mind those numbers are just for the federal government; they don’t include the enormous amount paid out by states. According to theFederation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), California alone pays out 10.5 billion dollars a year for the “education, health care and incarceration of illegal aliens.”
So what is the government’s reaction to this very real problem that’s having a negative impact on the quality of life here in America? To be blunt, most of the time the government seems to be more concerned about making the illegals happy than looking out for the interests of American citizens.
Despite the fact that our border security is so mediocre that private citizens are actually out on patrol in Arizona, doing the job that the federal government refuses to do, George Bush is only authorizing 200 out of the 2000 new border patrol agents Congress gave him permission to hire in the new budget. Meanwhile, in cities like Los Angeles and Houston, there are “sanctuary policies” in effect that prevent the local police from going after undocumented workers merely for being illegals. Add that to the fact that in many states illegal aliens are allowed to open bank accounts, send their kids to our schools, get drivers’ licenses, and in some cases, they’re even able to vote, and it becomes clear that illegals are practically treated as citizens in large swaths of the country.
Yet, when Americans bitterly complain about this to Washington, all that happens for the most part is that our representatives shrug their shoulders and give us a song and dance about how it’s impossible to deport all of the illegal aliens so we’ll have to bring them into the system.
Getting rid of the vast majority of illegal aliens would actually be quite easy and would only require two steps. The first would be cracking down on businesses that hire illegal aliens. That means enormous fines and better yet throwing people who hire large numbers of illegals into jail. Most illegal immigrants come to the United States to get jobs. If they can’t get work, many of them will self-deport. Then while we’re cracking down on the criminal enterprises that hire illegals, we should put enough manpower, radar stations, and predators on the border to lock it down. That will keep out illegals, criminals, terrorists and anyone else who might be tempted to sneak into our country. If we did nothing but those two things, within five years, the numbers of illegals here would drop precipitiously without our having to take the time to track down and deport them one by one.
So why aren’t the Republicans in Washington pushing this idea? CongressmanTom Tancredo explains:
“The Republican Party looks at massive immigration, legal and illegal, as a source of cheap labor, satisfying a very important constituency. The…President of the United States is trying to create a wedge issue here and trying to get a portion of Hispanics to vote for him where they haven’t in the past.”
Of course, that’s a doomed political strategy the moment the Democrats start credibly talking tough on illegal immigration as I am sad to say, we in the GOP may find out in 2008 if Hillary “I am, you know, adamantly against illegal immigrants“ Clinton goes up against a Republican candidate who is as out of step with the American people on illegal immigration as George W. Bush.
The pro and anti-illegal immigration factions in the GOP don’t need to come to some sort of compromise on illegals, particularly one that involves infuriating the electorate by rewarding alien lawbreakers with citizenship in some way. No, it’s not compromise we need, it’s a radical shift in policy towards actually enforcing the law and protecting our borders. Either the GOP will change how we approach this issue or eventually we will be punished at the ballot box for defying the will of the American people and deservedly so.