When a Santa Barbara newspaper used the word “illegals” in a front-page headline about California’s new law allowing illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses, outraged illegal immigrants and their supporters, offended by that word, took to the streets and demanded that a retraction be published. They held a cacophonous protest rally in front of the newspaper’s downtown building and later that night extensively defaced the elegant, historical building with paint bombs and graffiti. All that was missing were the torches and pitchforks.
Although entering the United States unlawfully is a crime, the illegal immigrant lobby objects to the word “illegals” as “racist and hateful language.” They prefer to use the term “undocumented” as a perfume to cover up the stench of the crime. While the term “illegals” may not be grammatically correct, it is less harsh than the more precise term “criminals.”
The term “undocumented” is part of the effort to lend some sort of squatters’ rights legitimacy to illegal immigrants who increasingly feel entitled to remain in the United States simply because they got here and have managed to avoid deportation.
That entitlement mentality was on glaring display in the graffiti that protesters spray-painted on the front of the newspaper’s building. It read: “Fight back. The border is illegal not the people who cross it.”
Illegal immigrants have become stridently contemptuous of law enforcement. And why not? The initial laws they broke by entering the United States illegally are obviously not well enforced. So much so that foreign nationals can openly identify themselves as being in the country illegally not only at protest rallies, but also at schools, hospitals and various government offices, including the DMV, and generally law enforcement ignores them.
About the only time an illegal alien gets apprehended and deported is if he or she is caught committing a violent crime — often involving gang activity, a particularly negative consequence of decades of rampant illegal immigration. Nevertheless, last year in Santa Maria, illegal immigrant sympathizers vehemently protested the proposed construction in that city of a federal processing center for convicted criminals who are in the country illegally. Apparently, not even robbers, murderers and drug dealers should be deported.
Illegal immigrants know that their American employers are not serious about immigration law. Ironically, these employers include newspapers that are aware that many if not most of the people who deliver their publications are here illegally. Same with farmers, meat packers, general contractors and homeowners who hire people they know are in the country illegally.
Americans may not like their nation being invaded by millions of foreign nationals and the consequential negative impacts on their schools, law enforcement, public health and welfare systems, but they sure like paying low wages for labor and low prices for the products of that labor.
The dodgy rhetoric about the need to “fix our broken immigration system” is indicative of America’s ambivalence on the issue. The system is broken only to the extent that it is irresolutely enforced. “Fixing” it is doublespeak for accommodation.
Illegal immigrants and their sympathizers like to gum up the issue with emotional goo about hard-working immigrants desperate to support their families, or the tragedy of foreign children raised in America being deported to a homeland that is entirely foreign to them. Then there are the economic myths about work Americans will not do. And, when all else fails to convince, there is the racism bogeyman.
The racism sophistry is so specious and irrelevant that one must lobotomize the intellect to swallow it. It is a calumnious distraction used by illegal immigration supporters to defend an invalid argument.
If millions of desperately poor Scandinavians speaking little or no English had steadily snuck into the United States, took the low wage jobs, lowered the wage scale, diluted public education by flooding schools with their non-English-speaking children, established violent, criminal gangs, and strained the country’s health care, law enforcement and welfare systems, would Americans tolerate it all because of the blond hair and blue eyes?
And, even if Americans were pervasively racist, how would that mitigate the very real negative affects of illegal immigration or make it any less illegal? Racism is not the issue, illegal immigration is.
Illegal immigration is a shared crime between trespassing foreign nationals and the U.S. citizens who accommodate them with jobs, welfare and support. Are Americans going to ask their gardeners for proof of legal residency and risk having to mow the lawn themselves or pay more for it? Probably not. So, enforcement must be fortified to effectively override the temptation.
Employers must verify residency status of job applicants by accessing a national data bank and be severely punished for noncompliance. The education and welfare systems must be restricted to legal residents only. Any legitimate needs for seasonal foreign labor must be arranged legally. These measures would be more effective than building border fences.
Unless a majority of Americans agree to open borders — i.e. NAFTA on steroids—and grant all comers full rights of citizenship, immigration law must be fully enforced and all trespassers deported.
It can be done. If 11 million people can sneak in, they can stroll out.
— Randy Alcorn is a Santa Barbara political observer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.