The use of the term “reform” in the context of immigration policy is intentionally misleading. Reform indicates positive change, but in the context of the “DREAM Act” and a “pathway to citizenship” it is a euphemism for special privilege or dispensation, and, ultimately, once again, amnesty.
While there is a humanitarian argument for granting legal residency to some foreign children brought here by their parents and raised in the United States, the DREAM Act and “pathway” proposals validate special privilege, which compromises values of fairness and principles of equal justice under law. Those who snuck in to America will get a better chance to stay than will many of those who would like to come.
The reality we confront as a nation, and which we seek to address with immigration reform, is the negative effects of a relentless invasion of illegal immigration that has continued virtually unabated for more than 30 years now. Slowed only recently by the Great Recession.
This invasion has diluted public education, strained public welfare programs, bankrupted hospitals, increased violent crime, overcrowded prisons, eroded pay scales of manual labor jobs, put more unlicensed and uninsured drivers on our crowded highways, and driven America’s rate of population growth to Third World levels.
There are many specious arguments attempting to justify and forgive illegal immigration. These arguments seek to convince with hollow logic, often dumping loads of sentiment to backfill yawning gaps in reason.
Perhaps the most repeated emotive rationalization for tolerating illegal immigrants and forgiving their trespass is that they are just hardworking people trying to support their families. The fact that they broke our laws to be here is somehow excused by their irresponsibly having children that they could not support in their native lands. Extending this rationale, we could forgive bank robbers, burglars, and tax cheats who have families to support.
And, if the need to support a family earns one a free-pass to America, then we had better be prepared for tidal waves of immigrants. The world has millions of families just a missed meal away from starvation.
Perhaps the most asinine argument made to justify and forgive illegal immigration is that we are a nation of immigrants — as if that worn-out cliché is an unassailable peroration. Are we today a nation of immigrants? If so wouldn’t that mean that most Americans alive today were born in a country other than America, to parents who were not Americans? Go back far enough into history and you will find that most every nation on earth could claim to be a nation of immigrants.
What makes and unites a nation are definite geographic boundaries within which legitimate citizens adhere to a system of commonly accepted laws and share an overriding culture and a common language.
Yet, in many parts of America, bilingualism (English and Spanish) is now the norm, while law is officially neglected or contradictory as it involves illegal immigrants. A clear example of this is found in the election process. By law, voting rights are limited to U.S. citizens 18 years of age or older. By law, an immigrant seeking to become a U.S. citizen must first demonstrate adequate command of the English language. Yet, by law, ballots and voting pamphlets must be printed in both English and Spanish.
Why the virtually “official” acceptance of illegal immigration? Like so many problems in America, illegal immigration is a result of unethical greed. There is no shortage of that in the United States. Greed is good, until it isn’t. Certain American industries love immigrant labor, not because there is a shortage of Americans who will take the jobs these industries have, but because immigrants will work for much less pay — especially those who are escaping desperate poverty in their native countries.
Immigration law has not only gone unenforced, it is now being mis-enforced. Guards and fences along our Southern border are a tangible, if not a public placation, tactic, but are not a strategic solution. Even the Great Wall of China could not keep out the Mongols.
Effective immigration reform needs to be more than fences to keep aliens out and pathways to citizenship to allow them to stay; it needs to apply the full force of law to the employers of illegal immigrants who benefit from low-priced labor while the rest of the nation suffers the consequences of illegal immigration.
Finally, the problem of illegal immigration is more than the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States; it is exponentially compounded by their progeny. No one should be granted U.S. citizenship simply because they breached their mother’s womb within U.S. borders. At least one parent should be a U.S. citizen before citizenship is bestowed on the child. Expectant mothers wading across the Rio Grande or flying in from Beijing to give birth in America makes a mockery of U.S. citizenship and all the rights and privileges that citizenship bestows.
Real reform would recognize the singular, precious, value of U.S. citizenship by correcting the distorted interpretation of the 14th Amendment that so cheapens that citizenship. Neither President Barack Obama nor Congress has included this in their reform proposals. Why not?