Every sane person in the country aka most people outside of the DC beltway, is asking the million dollar question of the immigration debate: why don’t we just implement the enforcement measures that actually work before risking another wave of illegal immigration by granting amnesty now? The issue would largely dissipate if they would merely begin enforcing the laws on the books.
But when you listen carefully to the fatuous arguments propagated inside the beltway, you will discover the answer. These people believe that building a fence and monitoring visas will not help end illegal immigration. In their estimation, the only thing that will end illegal immigration, to the extent that they desire to do so, is unlimited legal immigration. In other words, in their view, there is no way to establish sovereignty over our own land unless we invite every individual in the world who would like to move here. Hence, our immigration policy should not be dictated by what benefits the country at large, but by the level of worldwide demand to immigrate to America. #DCbackwardlogic
If I didn’t know anything about our current and historical immigration policies (which aptly describes 90% of the elected officials), I would think we are living in the ‘30s – a period when we only issued 30,000-100,000 green cards per year. Yet, we have issued over 1 million green cards almost every year over the past 2 decades. That’s hardly a closed door policy.
Most notably, the countries from which most people have migrated illegally have been the recipients of the most generous immigration policies of all time. We have issued roughly 5.5 million green cards to immigrants from Mexico (and millions more from other Latin American countries) since 1986 – overlapping with the entire period of illegal migration. From 2000-2009, 17% of all our immigrants were from Mexico, while 41% were from Latin America and Mexico combined. Hence, the time period with the largest expansion of illegal immigration coincided with the most generous period of legal immigration for any particular country or region in the history of American immigration. The idea that the lack of legal immigration options from Mexico and some other Lain American countries is the culprit for illegal immigration is beyond preposterous.
The reality is that we could never have a large enough legal immigration system to accommodate everyone in the world who wants to come here, thereby preventing people from entering illegally or overstaying their visas. Just last year, a whopping 8 million people applied for the diversity visa lottery! So even an annual level of 2 million green cards, as prescribed in the Senate bill, would not be sufficient to cover all those who yearn to come here. According to a recent Pew survey, 35% of Mexicans would like to come here. That’s 39 million people from one country. Gallup finds that 138 million people worldwide would like to immigrate to the U.S.
Undoubtedly, there are many good people among those who yearn to come here to the shining city on a hill. However, nobody would ever suggest that we could feasibly absorb everyone who seeks that dream. Perforce, if we desire to preserve our sovereignty and prioritize those immigrants that best enrich our culture and economy, we must implement comprehensive enforcement. We will never be able to open our doors wide enough to prevent illegal immigration without enforcement…that is unless we give up the desire to live in the United States of America.
Cross-posted from The Madison Project