THE IMMIGRATION MESS: A CONTINUING MENACE
By Alan Caruba
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) remains the same dysfunctional agency it long has been. Blithely ignoring the threats to this nation, it has been issuing visas to thousands of people from the very nations that stand opposed to our taking any action against Iraq or dismembering Al-Qa'ida. Under pressure from various elements of our economy more interested in money than national security, more than a million visas, in the past year, have been issued to anyone describing themselves as tourists, students, businessmen, agricultural workers, and other categories that pop open the door to the U.S.A.
Insanely, both leading Democrats and the White House keep pushing for yet another amnesty that would cover millions more illegal immigrants residing here. Every one of those previously granted amnesty have since been replaced by new illegal immigrants.
At this point, our borders are literally indefensible. We have too few personnel to adequately guard the Canadian and Mexican borders. In her excellent book, Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores ($27.95, Regnery), syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin points out that "There are currently fewer than four hundred Border Patrol agents along the four-thousand-mile border between Canada and the United States--less than one agent for every ten miles. Although there are an estimated nine to eleven million illegal aliens living in the United States, the INS has only twenty thousand detention beds for illegal aliens awaiting deportation, and fewer than two thousand agents assigned to interior enforcement."
The INS routinely releases those scheduled for deportation "on their own recognizance," rather than hold them in detention. And they disappear back into the population. This nation still does not have a secure way, nor mandate, to check the nationality of those who apply for a driver's license. Indeed, in many States you do not have to prove you're an American to secure a driver's license or even to vote! The Mexican government now issues ID cards to its citizens that are routinely accepted as valid proof of identity by U.S. banks and state government agencies.
The economy is tanking, unemployment is rising, and hundreds of thousands of U.S. high tech workers continue to be replaced by Third World programmers, many of whom are paid in their home country and thus completely circumvent paying U.S. taxes.
We are paying a price for too many myths about immigration. There was a reason why Emma Lazarus's poem spoke of "the wretched refuse of your teeming shore." Indeed, that's what showed up. Generally unknown is the fact that, between the American Revolution and 1965, one third of all those who did arrive ultimately returned to their home countries. In a brilliant analysis of the history of American immigration, Robert Locke noted that, after the American Revolution, fully two generations passed before the next major wave of immigrants arrived, and they were mostly the Irish fleeing the great famine in their homeland.
After the Irish, the 1800s recorded waves of immigrants, but, as Locke points out, immigration was never a constant flow. Instead, it was in response to unrest throughout Europe and leading up to the Russian Revolution in 1917. In 1924, accurately noting that too many new arrivals were often deeply committed to Communism and that the nation could no longer absorb great waves of new immigrants, Congress closed the doors by setting quotas that allowed the new immigrants time to be integrated into American society.
The 1921-1924 cuts in immigration led to a reduction of the poverty rate because it cut off the supply of cheap labor, leading to a rise in average wages. American cities, relieved of the problems involved in absorbing millions of immigrants, were free to create a middle class residential society and, in time, the immigrants began to transform themselves into Americans, absorbing the values of the nation and shuffling off those of the Old World.
America needs to put the brakes on our out-of-control immigration policies that threaten our national security, our economy, our educational and health systems, and the safety of our streets. It is time to slam the door shut. It is time to find and deport illegal aliens. The nation needs time to assimilate our most recent legal immigrants. It is time to stop putting out the welcome mat for people who want to do this nation harm.
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