Consider Mark Levin, who recently announced that if President Barack Obama issues an executive order granting amnesty to millions of illegal U.S. immigrants, it would be “the greatest act of despotism” since President Franklin Roosevelt detained over a hundred-thousand Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II.
Got that? Giving a reprieve to people who voluntarily emigrated here to make a better life for themselves, who have imposed no obligation on anyone who chooses not to hire them or rent them housing, and who are willing to take their chances economically and risk having to trudge home empty-handed, is the moral equivalent of imprisoning 90% of an entire U.S. racial group, retarding their chances for economic and social advancement, and scarring their children for life.
I’m trying to crystallize in a succinct phrase what these two executive orders have in common, and I’ve settled on: Nothing.
One act (FDR’s mass internment) was an egregious violation of human rights about a step up from herding European Jews into concentration camps. The other act (Obama’s amnesty declaration) would involve telling immigrants who fled debilitating economic or political conditions that our overburdened immigration processing centers will no longer be hounding them out of the country while we address a million other more pressing domestic and defense concerns.
Why, when it comes to immigration, are conservatives incapable of distinguishing between forcing people to do something and not forcing them to do something? Forcing as in forcing them to leave their homes and gather their possessions and live behind barbed wire fences? Violating their individual rights, their due process rights, basically every right in the Constitution simply because they happen to be of a particular ancestry? Ignoring the qualities or intentions or actions of individual Japanese Americans, a majority of whom were U.S. citizens—just snatching them, sticking them in massive holding yards, and treating them like interchangeable pawns?
Contrast these forcible actions with the hands-off approach of granting amnesty to non-felons, which would simply involve not hunting people down, not shackling them in federal detention centers, and not driving them hundreds of miles to places the immigration officials hauling them and the politicians ordering them there would never choose to live and thank God every day they were fortunate enough not to be born in. Amnesty could easily be designed so as not to promise illegal immigrants any right other than the right not to be deported, to not make any guarantees of citizenship or voting privileges or welfare eligibility, to not supply them with fancy tri-color materials printed in their native languages or counselors from their countries of origin to help them adjust emotionally.
Why can’t conservatives who rightly bemoan the behemoth welfare state—an enormous problem even without immigrants—focus on the real issue instead of the non-threat of Mexican day laborers? Why can’t conservatives be smart and learn to trade welfare- and entitlement-related concessions for immigration terms that won’t hurt the country if they’re balanced by federal spending cuts?
Conservatives should make a list of every point liberals are demanding—increased quotas, taking in more refugees, not deporting people who haven’t committed other crimes, letting illegal immigrants work, putting immigrants on a path to citizenship, giving immigrants access to benefits, spending money to help them adjust—and decide which are acceptable and will bring in the type of immigrant we want, and which are unacceptable and will result in waves of parasitical future Democratic voters.
For example, increasing quotas, taking in more refugees, not deporting non-felonious aliens, and letting illegal immigrants work are benign. Fast-tracking immigrants to citizenship without their having to learn the language and assimilate, giving them federal benefits, and spending money to help them adjust are not.
Why can’t conservatives agree not to deport millions of illegal immigrants in exchange for scaling back the welfare state? When liberals claim that they care only about admitting foreigners who want to come here and work, and that such immigrants will improve our economy, why not say, “OK, we’ll let them stay, but they aren’t eligible for federal benefits—and, since their presence will improve our economy, we’re not going to need as much federal welfare. Where would you like to cut the first trillion dollars?”
There’s a way for conservatives to be smart about the immigration conundrum without wrecking our economy or coming off like meanies who hate minorities.
- Obama To Take New Executive Action On Immigration? (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Immigration Reform 2014: President Obama, White House Mulling Over Work Permits for Undocumented Immigrants (latinopost.com)
- Steven Palazzo (R-MS) Wants to Deport US-Born Children of Immigrants (hispanicallyspeakingnews.com)
- The problem of undocumented immigrants is not new (jhupressblog.com)
- Senate Dems Should Insist that Immigration Reform Be Part of Any Conference Committee with House (americasvoice.org)