Confronting Illegal Immigration

April 2, 2006

Supporters of illegal Mexican immigration have grabbed the headlines but abused the facts and Americans’ respect for the law. They will pay a high price for that.

Here’s a quick round up of the facts.

The Political Problem Is Legal Mexican Immigrants, Not Illegals

Legal Mexican immigrants, reasonably, tend to support their fellow Mexicans – illegals included, and have a lot of political clout in 5 important states.

Mexican Americans, numbering approximately 21.5 million, are the largest subgroup of Hispanic Americans. Mexican Americans live primarily in the Southwestern United States, especially in Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado.

The number of illegal immigrants – most but not all from Mexico – is about half this (my ellipsis):

The Census Bureau…estimate(d) at the time of the 2000 Census that the illegal immigration population was about 8 million. Using this number, it can be concluded that the illegal-alien population grew by almost half a million a year in the 1990s.

The 11 million illegals commonly estimated just adds 0.5 million a year over 6 years to the 8 million in 2000.

A voting block of 21.5 million is huge, and the president, a previous governor of Texas, is inclined to appease it. His problem is that he must do this without alienating the other 275 million Americans, and that’s probably impossible.

Illegal Immigrants Fuel The US Economy Only Because They Are Illegal

Illegals work for less than the minimum wage. If they’re amnestied, that advantage goes away, hat tip Heritage Economy Watch:

How often have we heard that illegal immigrants “take jobs that Americans will not do”? What is missing in this argument is what is crucial in any economic argument: price.

Americans will not take many jobs at their current pay levels — and those pay levels will not rise so long as poverty-stricken immigrants are willing to take those jobs.

If Mexican journalists were flooding into the United States and taking jobs as reporters and editors at half the pay being earned by American reporters and editors, maybe people in the media would understand why the argument about “taking jobs that Americans don’t want” is such nonsense.

Another variation on the same theme is that we “need” the millions of illegal aliens already in the United States. “Need” is another word that blithely ignores prices.

If jet planes were on sale for a thousand dollars each, I would probably “need” a couple of them — an extra one to fly when the first one needed repair or maintenance. But since these planes cost millions of dollars, I don’t even “need” one.

There is no fixed amount of “need,” independently of prices, whether with planes or workers.

The US Is Perfectly Capable Of Policing Immigration

The DHS successfully controls Brit visitors (my ellipsis and emphasis):

..the Hallé Orchestra has regretfully had to cancel its planned American mini-tour next year because it can’t afford the visas.

It was going to play two concerts in 2007, one of them in New York at the Lincoln Centre, but the fees aren’t worth the visa expenses. The 80 members of the orchestra plus 20 support staff, all based in Manchester, have been told they each need to apply for a visa in person at the American embassy in Grosvenor Square.

The Hallé’s chief executive…reckons it would cost £45,000 to pay for 100 visas ($100 each – about £65), (travel costs) and…hotel bills. He wondered why it couldn’t be done in Manchester, but the US embassy’s consul-general said no way – his computers need high-speed lines to send the “biometric data” back to Washington.

If the DHS can police Brit visitors, they can police Mexican immigrants. (Incidentally, this story gives a foretaste of the disruption Blair’s ID cards will cause).

US Companies Can Easily Be Prevented From Employing Illegals

That just needs a nationwide Social Security database – Oracle, EDS or Accenture could run one up in 12 months. Backed by a guest worker program, there’s no reason why the 11 million illegals shouldn’t be identified and allowed to work. Economics will solve the rest – with wages set at legal levels, many of the jobs will evaporate causing many individuals to return home.

Repatriating IIlegals Will Be Good For Mexico

As previously noted, Mexico is a socialist mess. One reason it stays that way is that the people most capable of fixing it have an unlimited escape valve to the US. Once that’s gone, they’re more likely to fix their own problems.

The US Border Can Easily Be Secured

The Isreali fence has been very successful in preventing infiltration by highly motivated murderers – stopping economic migrants is a lot easier.

The US Was A Nation Of Law Before It Became A Nation Of Immigrants

The Glorious Revolution in 1689 led to the adoption of the Bill of Rights across the Anglosphere, including the American colonies:

…a predecessor of the United States Constitution... For example, like the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution requires jury trials, contains a right to bear arms, and prohibits excessive bail and “cruel and unusual punishments”.

These positive rights created a unique respect for the law across the Anglosphere – evident today in those seatbelt commercials “It’s the Law!”.

The protesting Mexicans come from the Low Trust Spanish culture, which never had such rights and so does not respect the law.

Americans Know How To Solve The Problem

This rather weasely piece has one gem (my ellipsis):

Polling done last year…showed that 75% of voters strongly support (1) a comprehensive approach on immigration that increases border security, (2) toughens enforcement of current laws, (3) registers current illegal immigrants, and (4) allows illegal immigrants to earn legal status by working, learning English, paying taxes and living crime-free.

Politicians that focus on the 4th measure while ignoring the first 3 won’t be re-elected.