Last week, I suggested that a legitimately conservative approach to immigration is to open our borders to most comers who really want to become Americans, sending the criminals back and making our new residents get jobs, an education, and become financially independent. Then, we’ll talk to them about citizenship.
Let me repeat in different words. We are not talking about taking on the Mariel boatlift, people. We are not talking about welfare. We’re talking about changing the law so that we remove its bias against people coming from the South.
Those comments were—as are most of my columns—picked up by the Western Center for Journalism.
And you would have thought, from the comments, that I had suggested using the Constitution as kindling to start the American Flag on fire.
I answered some of those comments individually, but I think it is more sensible to answer them in aggregate.
Here’s my favorite because it was short and to the point:
July 12, 2014 at 1:44 pm
Fred Weinberg, huh? I’ll remember that name and never ever click on another article written by him. His article shows his ignorance and his comments are sickening.
Many of those folks who wrote those comments are well meaning but hypocritical nutjobs. And I don’t necessarily mean that in the pejorative. We may actually agree on most issues.
Let’s look at the facts on immigration.
There is a perception that immigrants take “our” jobs.
That’s nonsense. Those jobs aren’t “yours”. This is America. We’re a meritocracy. If someone else gets a job you want, than you just got beat. Do you really think—as a conservative—that the government should step in and get your job back for you? Like a union?
If you do, then you’re not a conservative.
Then, there’s the perception than “illegals” disproportionately abuse our welfare state.
First of all, we shouldn’t have a welfare state. It should be a safety net designed to put people back on their feet. If you can live successfully for any length of time on “welfare,” then shame on us, not shame on you. But what are the actual facts?
The most interesting comments along those lines come from the Cato Institute, hardly a bastion of liberal thought:
“Since 1970, no pattern can be seen between the size of benefits a family of three gets under welfare programs like Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF) and the level of immigration or ethnic and racial diversity. We (Cato) compared individual states because they largely decide the benefit levels for many welfare programs, and states’ levels of ethnic diversity vary tremendously along racial, ethnic and immigrant lines. For instance, in 2010 only 1.2% of West Virginia’s population was foreign-born while 27% of California’s was.
“Furthermore, the amount of TANF benefits also varied by states with similar demographics. For instance, in 2010 a California family of three received $694 a month in TANF benefits. But in Texas, an identical family received only $260. The size of the Hispanic population in each state is the same: 39%.”
Those are the unbiased facts. They come from a think take that leans so far right that the Clintons and the Obamas cross the street to avoid walking in front of their building. They believe in limited government.
If you cling to the idea that immigrants drive up welfare spending, you’re not a conservative because you aren’t willing to deal with the facts.
And then there is the common argument that they “broke the law” and are “illegal”.
That may actually be true as far as it goes.
But here is where that logic falls apart:
The way our Federal bureaucracy sees it, the average American commits at least one felony a day. We have gone out of our way to criminalize normal behavior; and we incarcerate more people per 100,000 residents than nations like China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia…you get the picture.
Perhaps prisons are good for capitalism?
If we changed some stupid laws, would those people who we now call “illegal” have their productivity rise simply by virtue of a change in status? Would it be easier to weed out and deport the criminals among them? The smart money would probably back those propositions.
What we are doing certainly isn’t working.
For all I know, “Martha” is a very nice but misguided lady. Maybe she (and the rest of the commenters) genuinely believed in facts that were wrong. You know, like liberals think the Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court took away birth control from women.
But the facts are simple. Whatever we choose to do, we must do something. Our history tells us that we are at our best when we welcome people who genuinely wish to be here and help them establish themselves.
You can, for a short period of time, act like George Wallace (“segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”) and stand in the door to the University. How did that work out for him long term?
Photo credit: lungstruck (Flickr)
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom