Illegal immigrants: Let’s get real
ZACATECAS, Mexico —
Supposedly intelligent people are currently telling us that illegal immigrants
– mostly Mexicans -- should be given driver’s licenses, their children given
subsidized college educations and their parents given welfare -- and so on. And
further, that we should bow to the inevitable and give legal status to illegal
immigrants -- now euphemistically referred to as ‘undocumented aliens.’
The arguments of
the ‘inevitable’ appear to be a) that we need the eight million illegal
Mexicans to supposedly do our dirty work, b) that our border with Mexico is
porous and nothing can be done about it, and c) we must be realistic and accept
Now, before I am accused of being an
anti-immigrant racist, let me state my experiences and sympathies with this
First, I am an immigrant myself[i] --
a British/American one -- and like virtually all other legal immigrants of the
time, I was sponsored. That is to say, a U.S. citizen, a cousin, had agreed
to be liable for any behavior of mine that might cause me to be a financial
charge to the taxpayers. In short, I was a privileged guest of the country --
and I was grateful for it.
Second, my mother-in-law migrated
legally from Mexico
and her subsequent progeny include my wife and my two grown children. In my
house you are far more likely to be served tortillas than bread, the
decorations of the house are more reminiscent of Mexico
than anywhere else and this is fine by me because I love Mexico and
travel there frequently, particularly to the Colonial Cities where I am now as
I write this column.
Having said all that, to propose to
give criminals amnesty (an ‘undocumented alien’ is by definition a criminal) is
absurd on many counts. First, it is a slap in the face of aspiring law-abiding
immigrants worldwide (Mexicans included), who have waited patiently for a legal
opportunity to enter the U.S.
Bear in mind that those who are
willing to flout the law to get into the country are going to be more than
willing to sign up for welfare illegally, forge papers illegally to get a
Social Security card, and commit other illegal acts such as voting. It is
hardly a propitious start for law-abiding citizenry and not surprising that
illegal immigrants comprise a disproportionate amount of our prison inmates.
Since politicians of both major
parties are avoiding any taint of negativity in dealing with this issue, it is
obvious that a considerable number of ‘undocumented aliens’ must be voting.
We have to step back and ask
ourselves: If the whole world wants legal entry into the U.S., is
granting potential citizenship to criminals the best of all possible options?
Instead, we should adopt policies
that do not violate our legal system (what a concept!), however hard that road
might be. And if we need eight million immigrants, we should ask ourselves, who
are the most desirable? And then over time replace the illegal ones with those
more desirable. For example, replacing illegal Mexican immigrants with law-biding
The idea that the border is
impossible to control is absolute nonsense. If the federal government were to
privatize the policing of our border with Mexico with harsh financial
penalties for companies found to have allowed an illegal border crossing, we
could put an end to the current incompetence at the border in short order.
The rule of law is the cornerstone
of our republic. It is in all our citizens’ interests that it remain so.
is a regular columnist whose footnoted columns are
[i] When I
came to the United States in
1959 the cheapest way to travel from Italy
to the U.S.
was by ocean liner; airplane travel at the time being prohibitively expensive.
Accordingly, I had the experience of most European immigrants of that time, and
prior to it, of sailing up New York’s East River past the Statue of Liberty – an emotional