Here’s a juxtaposition for ya: two columns about immigration one by Juan Williams and one by Mark Steyn.
Juan Williams actually claims that the pro-illegal immigration rallies we are seeing are comparable to the black civil rights movement. A couple of facts perhaps Mr. Williams failed to consider: the black Americans who fought the civil rights movement were here because their ancestors were forced here against their will and forced into perpetual servitude. Illegal immigrants are here because they CHOSE to break our laws in order to make money and gain access to our way of life. Black Americans who fought the civil rights movement were full American citizens fighting for the rights guaranteed to them by our constitution. Illegal immigrants are not U.S. citizens and have no rights guaranteed to them under our constitution, but think they should be given such rights simply because they are willing to break our laws and demand them. Black Americans were routinely murdered, disfigured and terrorized if they did something which met with white disapproval. Illegal immigrants are routinely given jobs, medical care, and education for breaking our laws. Black Americans faced (and sometimes still face) actual hatred and racism. Illegal immigrants face legitimate law enforcement. It is a grievous insult to those who fought and died for the rights of black Americans to compare their fight to the demands of people who break laws and face not death, but jobs and social services for it.
In contrast Mark Steyn points out the incredible ineptitude and inefficiency of our legal routes towards immigration and compares that with rewarding someone for coming into the country illegally and acquiring false documents.
Here’s the bottom line: there is not a right for non-native people to be in our country. We have an immigration system which should be overhauled and fixed post-haste, but this does not mean that we have a moral obligation to accept that anyone dishonest enough to break our laws in order to get into the country should automatically be granted a spot at the table. Over at the Corner on the National Review Online, John Derbyshire talks about a friend from Egypt who over stayed his visa in England for a year. The man nearly starved. Here, we give you a job and after awhile say, “oh, why don’t you just stay?”
Here’s my fix for immigration:
1. Fix our legal immigration system. Make it easier, more respectful of families and common sense. Reduce the time, paperwork and hoop-jumping. Make it easier to move in and out of the country with a legal visa in order to accommodate those who really do only want to be here seasonally. Heck, increase the number of visas available. Stop punishing those who are willing to come into the country legally.
2. Require all companies to run the social security numbers of new-hires through an easy to use database of legal social security numbers. We have these things called computers – it’s about time our government figured out how to use them. Divert the money we’d spend on building a wall or whatever towards putting this together and towards drastically increasing enforcement and penalties for companies who hire illegal workers. Once people who come here illegally see that they must either go home or starve here for lack of work, both the existing population of illegals and any considering coming here illegally will lose their incentive for breaking our laws.
We keep hearing that this is a complicated problem and therefore, we must contort ourselves and the law in order to fix it. However, whatever complication there are belong to the individuals who have chosen to break our laws and their families and to the companies who have allowed themselves to become dependant on breaking the law. It is not the government’s job to fix or accommodate the problems created by those who have broken our laws. It is the government’s job to create common sense rules governing the right to reside and work in our country. If this makes things difficult for a company, well it’s a free market system where laws of supply and demand rule even in the sphere of jobs. If your company can’t navigate a free market system, you probably need to take another look at your business model and adjust. If a family has illegal, legal and citizen members, as hard as it may be should our lawmakers ever grow up and fix our laws, they are going to face hard choices. That’s not punitive, unfair or immoral. That’s life. Life is hard. Ask the black Americans who fought a real civil rights movement 50 years ago.