The push is on for providing amnesty to the estimated 12 to 20 million illegal aliens in this country. The supporters of this effort include President Barack Obama, former president George W. Bush, Senator John McCain, Majority Leader Harry Reid and New York Senator Chuck Schumer. Senator Schumer is now chairman of the immigration subcommittee previously chaired by the late Senator Ted Kennedy, a major amnesty proponent.
Amnesty supporters see themselves as taking the high road and claim that amnesty opponents are opposed to immigration, when nothing could be further from the truth. Many amnesty opponents actually support expanding legal immigration. Currently, the U.S. has the highest legal immigration in the world. Every year, we allow 750,000 immigrants to enter the country legally and make them eligible for citizenship within five years. Two hundred and fifty thousand asylees are also permitted to enter annually. Those legal immigrants have the right to work and earn a living; the asylees are eligible to work six months after applying to work. If we need more immigrants, as many think we do to expand the workforce of our graying population, then we can easily increase the number of legal immigrants.
If we give the current illegals amnesty, you can be sure that 20 or so years from now, there will be a clamor for another amnesty bill as the illegals will continue to pour in. For example, the Simpson-Mazzoli bill, adopted by Congress in 1986, was hailed as the last amnesty bill we would need because the borders of the U.S., then a sieve, would be better protected. However, our borders continued to be porous, and the number of illegals burgeoned, and here we are again with the illegals and their supporters seeking amnesty once more for ever larger numbers.
No country in the world has open borders that foreigners can enter at will, certainly not Mexico. Arizona has an estimated 500,000 illegal aliens living in the state and in 2009, the border patrol agents arrested 241,000 illegal aliens, which is why that state enacted controversial legislation out of frustration. Arizona's citizens are outraged by the presence of many criminals among the people crossing their border - remember there is an ongoing drug war in Mexico with thousands of Mexicans being killed and wounded south of the border by other Mexicans. Arizona does not want that war to spill over into Arizona. Arizona citizens are also distressed with the demands made by illegals upon medical and educational services.
Regrettably, the Arizona legislation went too far, allowing local police to ask individuals "reasonably suspected" to be illegal immigrants for identifying papers. This conjures up images of Nazis engaging in Jew catching in Germany. On the other hand, it would be sound and defensible policy to have the local police examine at the workplace the identity papers of all employees to ascertain whether they are legally allowed to work and, most important, ascertain if employers had intentionally violated current U.S. laws requiring employers to check the immigration status of hired workers. Those employers who intentionally violate the law should be pursued criminally and, if convicted, go to prison. Regrettably, this is not what is happening. If that policy were strictly enforced, illegal aliens would go home, since they are here primarily to get a job and send money home to their families. Recently, I saw an estimate that a million illegals had returned home because of our recession and unemployment in the U.S. which is now at 9.7 percent.
Amnesty supporters refuse to use the term illegal aliens, preferring instead undocumented aliens. They should call them what they are: illegal. Amnesty proponents also should acknowledge that an open border policy is indefensible and irrational and has not been adopted by any other country.
If open borders were such a good idea, why don't we try on a limited scale simply expanding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) among Mexico, Canada and the U.S. and allow anyone living in those three countries access to jobs in any of them? Would Canada consent to that? Would Mexico? I doubt it.
A week ago, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Great Britain had to apologize to a woman voter for referring to her as "bigoted" when she voiced her objections to millions of Europeans in the European Union lawfully flooding into Great Britain and taking jobs. I don't know whether she is bigoted in her attitude toward other Europeans, but she doesn't have to be a bigot to object to the English having to compete for jobs and services such as health care and education with immigrants from other countries.
Mark McKinnon, who was a senior adviser to John McCain and President George W. Bush, was quoted in The New York Times of April 28th, as stating, "Immigration is the most explosive issue I've seen in my political career." According to The Times, Mr. McKinnon "...also supported giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship." But, in his view, "an election year is the worst time to move good public policy on this issue."
During the Bush presidency, amnesty proponents were twice defeated when they tried to shove their self-defined "good policy" down the throats of the voters. Amnesty advocates believed, as they do now, that they know what is best for us, but the American public stood up and said "no." In an election year, the voters can throw the bums out, and that is why Congress fears to bring the issue up before the November elections.
I predict the Schumer legislation supported by President Obama and a whole host of prominent public officials and the media will fail. I also believe it is outrageous to threaten understandably frustrated, but misguided, Arizona with boycotts because we disagree with the protective procedures it has adopted. Let's leave the legality of those procedures to the courts. We are one country and should not be boycotting one another. Persuasion should be our tool of choice, not punishment.