Illegal Immigration and the Federal Government
Last evening, I watched the first twenty minutes or so of “The O’Reilly Factor” while in the gym. The host, Bill O’Reilly, opened by talking about the Arizona immigration law, and then talked to Karl Rove and Laura Ingraham about how the federal government has failed to do its job in securing our borders.
I wrote last week that the Arizona law needs to be modified so that civil rights abuses don’t happen, particularly with the “lawful contact” portion of the law. However, as O’Reilly pointed out, and Ingraham clarified, since the 1980s our presidents have failed to protect the borders, despite national security being one of the few areas the federal government is required to be involved in. Rove defended former President George W. Bush as having acted effectively to protect the border, something that is quite laughable.
Immigration, like a number of other issues in America, is extraordinarily complicated. Below are some of the key points I think need to be addressed, particularly in light of the Arizona law:
1. As O’Reilly said, liberals need to stop pitting Americans against Americans over the Arizona law. O’Reilly cited an Investor’s Business Daily poll showing 60% approval for the law and 30% opposition across the nation, and a Rasmussen poll shows 60% of Arizona residents support the law, and I keep hearing that up to 70% of the state supports it. President Obama, Al Sharpton and Daily Kos should probably go back and look at these polls before jumping to conclusions about where Americans stand, and making broad generalizations about who supporters of the law are, morally.
2. 30% of Arizona residents are Hispanic which, as one person wrote last week (I forget who and where- sorry), means that police officers are not going to be stopping every Hispanic on the street to ask for identification. Unlike the East Coast liberals in D.C., Boston and NYC, Hispanics are not a rare sight, and thus theoretical civil rights screeching from the East are not based upon firsthand knowledge of the state. Given the majority support for the law in the state, one has to assume a large portion of Latinos support the law (despite what La Raza found).
3. Ingraham noted that Republicans like the “wink-and-nod” from businesses looking for cheap labor, and Democrats like the probable votes they will get- even Bush only got about 40% of the Hispanic vote in 2004. This is a failure from both parties at the federal level.
4. On “This Week,” George Will cited the federal law regarding legal immigrants and carrying identification. Turns out they are required to, much as the Arizona law requires them. Looks like Arizona’s law merely clarifies the letter of the federal law (though, as noted above, I think there are legitimate concerns regarding the application of the law, and civil rights of citizens).
5. O’Reilly and Rove talked about a wall being effective in stopping illegal immigration, but that is just not true. Economics drives immigration to this country, whether it be to work (the majority of illegal immigrants); to get on our welfare system; or to smuggle drugs, weapons and other items into the country. We need to punish sanctuary cities and businesses; stop welfare policies that encourage illegal immigration; put more troops on the border; and stop wasting money on a wall. We also need a policy that encourages work for those legal immigrants who want it, through a streamlined (but also effective, security-wise) immigration process.
6. This law was mostly about waking up the federal government. I know jobs are the main concern of Congress, as they should be, but our- as O’Reilly put it- porous border needs to be controlled. Now. (Of course, if Congress’ was really concerned about the economy, and not just for political reasons, it would stop impeding businesses through regulations and taxes.) The Arizona law is not the way to go, but it’s darn close.