Why all the animosity, all the unremitting opposition to immigration in Congress and the Administration? Don’t they realize that we are a nation of immigrants. Almost everyone here today is an immigrant or a descendant of immigrants. So where is all this vehement opposition, this fear of foreigners coming from?
Yes, “the law is the law,” as Donald Trump and many of his anti-immigration supporters proclaim. But enforcement of immigration laws present nuanced value judgments, a balancing of competing interests, that are always involved in the enforcement of all of our laws. For one thing, if someone breaks the law what is the appropriate punishment or remedy? So, if you are guilty of speeding should the remedy be to confiscate your car? Why does imprisonment and deportation have to be the sole remedy for unlawful entry into the country?
Moreover, the immigration law provides many exceptions, especially for those deemed to be refugees from oppression and for family reunification. These laws are subject to varying interpretations and legal remedies.
Besides, shouldn’t there be room for enforcement discretion — to fit the punishment to the crime under the particular circumstances? Law enforcement always has room for prosecutorial and judicial discretion, often to a degree of tolerance or forgiveness that usually in other circumstances arouses no public attention, opposition or outcry.
So what’s the matter? Don’t we have enough room for them? According to syndicated columnist Bret Stephens,
America is vast, largely empty and often lonely. Roughly 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas, covering just 3 percent of the overall landmass. We have a population density of 35 people per square kilometer — as opposed to 212 for Switzerland and 271 for the U.K.
(See his entire editorial, “We don’t have enough immigrants” the Seattle Times, opinion, June 24th 2018)
There are some 11 million illegal immigrants in this country and the vast majority of them nare law-abiding, hard-working citizens. Immigrants are not only workers and employers and taxpayers, they are consumers too. They are not taking jobs, the6y are creating jobs. They add to the wealth of the nation. The fact they weren’t born here is economically irrelevant. Immigrants have zero negative impact on the economy. Every inhabitant of this country who works and supports himself/herself (and most often a family too), whether born here or not, contributes his or her share to the production of goods and services. Every wage earner, foreign-born or not, also becomes a taxpayer and consumer. Through spending on clothing, groceries, haircuts, TVs, appliances, cars entertainment — whatever — creates demand for goods and services and contributes to the economy. All workers, no matter where they came from, create jobs and thereby add to the wealth of the nation — to our gross national product (GNP). It is our productive population, native and foreign-born, who make America great.
Immigrants make us stronger not weaker, helping to make a more talented and vigorous work force. See the editorial by John Talton in the Seattle Times July 1 2018; BORDER POLICIES WALL OFF DIALOGUE ON IMMIGRATION
Are immigrants more likely to be law breakers than naturally born Americans? The statics show they are not.
Now let’s assume, hypothetically, that the 11 million illegal immigrants that are said to be living in the US did not exist (assume they were all deported or that they were never here in the first place) — so suppose they were all gone but instead the country’s population consisted of 11 million more natural born citizens. So, we have the same total population, just no immigrants. Would anyone be complaining that these additional 11 million people (who were born here) are taking our jobs and burdening the economy? No. Also, assume we had 11 million fewer people in our population, the country would be that much smaller and less productive and economically weaker. If that is so it disproves the opposition claim that immigrants are taking our jobs and shows that immigrants have nothing to do with hurting our economy. If that reason is baseless then what other reason could there be to maintain that immigrants are not wanted and should be deported? Since we have room for them and they are productive and contribute to our economy, the opposition can only be explained as racism. So, essentially, what the immigration opponents are really saying is that we were here first, you are not like us and we don’t like you here. The opposition does boil down to pure racism. These are people they don’t want to see here, just as they once did to Italians, Irish, Chinese and now Arabs or Muslims and South Americans, no matter how law-abiding or productive they are.