Home / The Immigration Debate: Part 1

The Immigration Debate: Part 1

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The immigration issue is a lot like Social Security. It’s an issue that until recently most politicians of both parties paid very little attention to other than tinkering around policy edges and offering occasional election year lip service. Like Social Security however, each day the problem grows worse and the hope of a solution more dim.

Each of the two major political parties has problems with this issue. For the Democrats it is their support in the minority communities – and their attempt to pander to Hispanic voters, just as they pander to all other ethnic groups. Like a guy who tries to play the field with several women at once, it soon grows old to one (or all) of the women involved. This is to say nothing of their problem with the big labor unions, which tend to see illegal workers as cheap competition in the workplace and a force for depressing wages.

The Republican’s problem is their support from the business community and the fact the big business has a complete lack of appetite for any serious illegal immigration enforcement. This being for the exact opposite reasons that labor unions would favor it – cheap labor.

Even the terminology of the debate has evolved to soften the harsh realities of the issue. Most notably the term “illegal alien” morphed into “illegal immigrant” and most recently became “undocumented immigrant” or “undocumented worker”. The media and politicians of all stripes have played this game. Such sugar coating of the problem hasn’t made it any less of a crisis however.

It seems rather obvious to point out that a country that cannot control its borders will not be a country for very long. A nation’s culture must have time to assimilate its immigrants, rather than be eclipsed by them and risk upsetting the social order. Such a thing would lead to (and has in the past) an outright revolt by the current population to all immigration.

Given present realities, we may as well have no immigration policy at all. Currently over 10% of all births in the United States are to illegal aliens – a total of over 380,000 each year. Under current law these children then get citizenship via birthright, providing their mothers with an array of government benefits funded by the US taxpayer. A recent Mexican public opinion poll found that almost half the population of that country said that they would try to go the United States if they thought they could.

Currently, we have almost three times as many illegal aliens in this country as in the mid-1980’s. While it is true that these massive increases in the number of illegal aliens has not resulted in large increases in unemployment, that is not to say that they won’t should the US economy take a substantial downturn. When the next severe downturn comes, the cost of government unemployment benefits could be substantial, as only legal citizens would apply. Meanwhile many lower wage jobs that they could temporarily transition to would likely be taken by illegals.

On the frontlines, U.S. border-states are being hit particularly hard with criminal activity, drugs, kidnappings and murders attributable to illegal aliens. This is to say nothing of personal property damage and the costs to the criminal justice system. California alone has over 30,000 “undocumented” felons in its prison system. In Arizona, some estimates have it that 80% of “new” crime along the border area is committed by illegals.

The issue of border security is an instance where national security policy and our immigration policy should coincide. From a Republican Party standpoint this would be good politics as well as good policy, and serve to help make the nation safer and more stable. In the post 9/11 world, such security is a life or death issue. The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency has gone so far as to testify publicly in congressional hearings that he fully believes it is possible for a nuclear weapon to be driven across our border and exploded in one of our cities.

Illegal immigration is no longer just a border issue and it’s not just a national issue. It’s now a “local” issue all across the United States – which explains why politicians have finally begun to pay more attention to it. Local communities have to deal with the consequences, financially and in terms of crime, education, prisons, healthcare, etc.. Perhaps this is why, for the first time since the Gallup poll began taking American public opinion on the subject, a majority feel that immigration is a bad thing rather than something good. Clearly they’re being influenced by their experiences at the local level.

The problem is increasing at an alarming rate along with the increase in the mobility of populations and the ease of travel. The Pew Hispanic Center has estimated that in the 1980’s approximately 140,000 illegals crossed the border each year. Today that number is 700,000 – a figure which sounds more like an invasion than a policy problem.

In light of this reality, the very notion of US citizenship and its value is being diminished. In many ways, the only benefit not afforded illegals that is still retained by citizens is the right to vote. One doesn’t have to try too hard to imagine this country’s social do-gooders clamoring for that next.

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About Drew McKissick

Drew McKissick is a political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience specializing in political strategy, planning and organization as well as the development of grassroots related political action programs. He has worked as a political activist at the local, state and national levels, and has served in elected and appointed positions at all levels of the Republican Party, including serving as a member of the Republican National Committee. He also writes a regular column providing analysis and commentary on current events.
  • As mad as I may be with Mexico where I live and as harsh as coming articles may be about the outbreak of anti-American violence here; I still cannot agree that

    “… it seems rather obvious to point out that a country that cannot control its borders will not be a country for very long. A nation’s culture must have time to assimilate its immigrants, rather than be eclipsed by them and risk upsetting the social order. Such a thing would lead to (and has in the past) an outright revolt by the current population to all immigration.”

    This particular country was supposed to have a tradition of welcoming immigrants and acting to assimilate them. That was a part of the “social order”.

    Mexicans have a lot of faults that follow them over the border. So do Germans and Poles and Taiwanese and even the British and Scots. I seriously doubt that the New York Dutch were happy when they saw the British faces in the crowd. The Italians had their times of xenophobic reactions. They assimilated.

    When I grew up in the South many places were “restricted” against “niggers, jews, and catholics”. What shall we call it today? A hispanic “Gentlemen’s Agreement”. My Mexican cardiologist is visiting the US again. He certainly wouldn’t want to stay but does not understand my warnings about discrimination and racism in my country.

    The worry about terrorism? It is a valid worry but the Ukraine and other former Soviet republics are far more threatening. The French and Germans are famous for doing business with terrorist supporting nations. Don’t forget it was “child-friendly” Bayer that brought the world zyklon B gas made by slave labor for the death camps. Is Mr. McKissick ready to limit Germans working in the US?

    What about the danger from American survivalist crazies? Witness Oklahoma City and the 284 dead. What will the Republicans do to protect us from the crazies lurking in their own constituency?

  • gonzo marx

    to me the central Point has NOT been about Immigration…

    it’s all about illegal immigration….and the criminals that transport and hire them

    that’s about it…really

    nuff said?


  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    The title of your article is “The Immigration Debate.” It wasn’t “The Illegal Immigration Debate.” You should have sub-titled it, “how a country cannot escape its history.” Because your country can’t.

    IN 1876, your nation received a gift from the French – a statue representing “Liberty” For quite a number of years only the head and torch stood in Madison Sq. Park in New York City until enough money could be raised to bring the rest of it to New York Harbor in the 1880’s.

    The words on the statue proclaimed the vision of America that still is in the minds and hearts of every starving or poor kid world wide who gets the chance to learn them. If you don’t know the lines Emma Lazarus wrote on them, learn them. It was the advertisement of your social contract to the world – and it still is.

    Open door immigration meant cheap labor. And my dad was lucky enough to get into the States a month before the policy changed to shut the door on the kikes, wops, wogs, chinks and japs.

    Between 1922 and 1965 the policy in your country was essentially “just us” nice white western European Christians who didn’t stink too bad and weren’t too foreign.

    In 1965, the grandchildren of the kikes, wops, wogs, chinks and japs who had gotten in before 1922 forced a change in the law and that’s when all your problems started.

    The economics of immigration is still cheap labor – and Lady Liberty was allowing in a differnt mix of the world’s hungry millions yearning to breathe free.

    So far as immigration policy goes, either you guys slam the door shut – and suffer the consequences; or you gotta open the door – and suffer the consequences. But the lines on Lady Liberty are your calling card. And you guys can’t get away from that fact – or the fact that immigration means cheap labor.

  • gonzo marx

    oh Ruvy…

    it’s not MY “article”

    my commentary was to iterate my personal take on the situation, which i think i elucidated succinctly enough

    again..my problem is not with immigration, but illegal entry into our Nation and the criminals that transport anbd hire them

    this causes many problems…any of which i would be glad to discuss

    as for america’s problem with Immigration…well, i respectfully disagree with what i perceive to be your own biased take on the subject

    as for me, i was born here, my mothers grandparents and my father’s parents all came here legally via Ellis Island

    which is the way it SHOULD happen…legally

    hope that clears things up


  • Nancy

    Ditto me: no problem with LEGAL immigrants whatsoever. They’re a blessing & a benefit, and very welcome. Illegals are another matter. They should have no rights whatsoever, and frankly I wouldn’t convict anyone who shot one. I’d give that guy a medal. And it doesn’t matter where they’re from; illegal eruopeans are just as noxious as illegal latinos, asians, martians, polynesians (do we have any illegal polynesians?), canadians, or whatever. The whole premise of “illegal” is a basic, profound contempt for US law from the get-go, not to mention a towering selfishness & unwillingness to wait their turn like everyone else. NOT a good start for anyone wanting to enter & live in the US.

  • gonzo marx

    news this morning…they busted a middle eastern man who ran a smuggling operation, bringing in Arabs via central america/mexico

    can you say Homeland Security?

    i knew ya could…

    now, if only the Administration, and politicians from BOTH sides, woudl stop taking the money from the special interests and start doing their fucking jobs…enforcing our Laws…and closing these fucking borders…



  • G. Oren

    With all due to respect to Ruvy, the U.S. cannot be a “proposition nation” and countenance these rates of illegal immigration, even legal immigration to some extent. Documented or undocumented workers who arrive here in Texas and bear children on our soil gain the right to stay because the children are considered U.S. citizens. The porous border with Mexico is a national disgrace. One of the first duties of any sovereign state is to defend its borders. If we spent one tenth of what we’re spending in Iraq every year to increase border security we might begin to make some real progress on homeland security, as it is we just get more rhetoric and no performance.

  • RedTard

    A real fence along the border is not as expensive as you might think, not compared to the cost of Iraq.

    Build a big fence, impose steep fines on those who hire illegals, and strip all government rights and services from those who are here illegally. Everyone knows what it will take to put a dead stop to illegal immigration we just don’t have the political will to do it.

  • gonzo marx

    awww, geeez….here i am about to agree with RedTard….again!

    if you want to stop illegal immigrant workers from entering the country…and thus make it a bit easier to stop , oh let’s say terrorists, from coming in hidden by the masses…then a priority has to be removing the Incentive for them to come here…

    i propose utilizing the exact same fine structure for businesses hiring illegqal aliens thast the FCC has imposed for obscenity…a little of a half million dollar an instance(in this case per worker)

    that should cut down the profitability as well as the desirability of employers to hire these people at slave wages

    the second bit is the whole “catch and release” policy…if you cross the Mexican border, and are a mexican…you get sent back…EVERYONE else gets a summons to appear before an INS hearnig in a few weeks and is let go

    that’s kinda important…so go up and read it again!!

    yep, that’s right…25 frothing at the mouth can waltz across the southern border , get caught, and be in downtown L.A. or Dallas that evening

    i don’t know about you, ladles and jellyspoons, but that freaks me right the fuck out…

    a fence?..hell yeah…a double fence …our side electrified and in the no mans land between…..10,000 rabid pit bulls with AIDS on constant patrol….

    too many apologists keep saying we can’t secure the border…and i say bullshit, we are asking the wrong people to set this up…

    hell, you can’t do math in your head in a c-a-s-i-n-o without taking a long , final ride into the desert…maybe we should ask those folks about security

    just a Thought


  • Anthony Grande

    I say build the highest and deepest wall we can afford to build across the border and then make it easier for people to immigrate here legally.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    All I’m saying guys, is that your country can’t escape certan basic facts, whether you like it or not. One fact is that immigrants tend to wrk for cheap, and are viewed that way. So cheap labor draws in immigrants because employers want to cut costs.

    Many employers don’t give a tinker’s dam about the law. Bribing government officials is just considered a cost of business, to be factored in with the rent and electricity.

    Bribes, Debit

    The second point is that no matter what you say, your calling card is on the Statue of Liberty. Word gets around.

    Tear down the Statue of Liberty. That might get attention, and force you all to face the fact that you are no longer willing to be “the land of opportunity.”

    But be ready to jail employers who break what laws you have. Send them to jail for years.

    If you can’t do these things, all you can do is complain. You can’t excape your history or the greed of your employers.