ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, AMNESTY, ECONOMICS,
& AMERICAN CULTURE
By Dr. Ron Paul
The Bush administration’s proposal to grant legal status to millions of illegal aliens surely meets the foregoing definition. Millions of people who broke the law by entering, staying, and working in our country will not be punished, but rather rewarded with visas. This is amnesty, plain and simple. Lawbreakers are given legal status, while those seeking to immigrate legally face years of paperwork and long waits for visas.
The President claims that America lacks the political will to deport the eight to twelve million illegal aliens already here in the U.S.A., so we have no choice but to grant them visas. But what message does this send to the rest of the world? If we reward millions who came here illegally, surely millions more will follow suit. Ten years from now, we will be in the same position, with a whole new generation of lawbreakers seeking amnesty. The Bush administration amnesty proposal does not provide a coherent immigration policy, nor does it address the urgent need for stricter control of our borders. The overwhelming majority of Americans – including legal immigrants – want immigration reduced, not expanded.
The immigration problem fundamentally is a welfare state problem. Some illegal immigrants – certainly not all – receive housing subsidies, food stamps, free medical care, and other forms of welfare, or public assistance. This alienates taxpayers and breeds suspicion of immigrants, even though the majority of them work very hard. Without a welfare state, we would know that everyone coming to America wanted to work hard and support himself. Since we have accepted a permanent welfare state, however, we cannot be surprised when some freeloaders and criminals are attracted to our shores. Welfare muddies the question of why immigrants want to come here.
Illegal immigrants threaten to place a tremendous strain on federal social entitlement programs. Under the Bush amnesty proposal, millions of illegal immigrants will qualify for Social Security and other entitlement programs. Adding millions of foreign citizens to the Social Security, Medicare, and disability rolls will ensure financial ruin for America in the coming decades. Sending Social Security benefits abroad to millions of illegal aliens who once worked here will cost hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars and will very likely bankrupt the Social Security Old Age and Survivors Trust Fund. Every American who hopes to collect Social Security someday should stridently oppose the President’s proposed amnesty for illegal aliens.
Financial considerations aside, we cannot continue to ignore the cultural aspects of the mass immigration problem. The vast majority of Americans welcome immigrants who want to come here, work hard, and build a better life. This is a basic human desire that Americans understand, especially when so many immigrants are born into hopeless poverty in their own nations. But we rightfully expect immigrants to show a sincere desire to become American citizens, learn to speak English, and assimilate themselves culturally into the American nation. More importantly, we expect immigrants to respect our political and legal traditions, which are rooted in liberty and constitutionally limited government. After all, a lack of respect for the rule of law causes much of the poverty around the world that immigrants seek to escape.
Problems arise when immigrants refuse to assimilate and show little interest in becoming loyal American citizens. One hundred years ago, immigrants arrived in America after dangerous journeys, arrived fully prepared to embrace their new country. In most cases, returning home was not an option. Most led very hard lives, took pride in American citizenship, and asked for nothing but the opportunity to work and make their livings honestly. Today, however, some immigrants travel between countries frequently, enjoying the benefits of America, but showing no desire to become Americans. Some even display hostility toward America and our ideals, joining the chorus of voices demanding that the United States of America become a multicultural and multinational state, voices demanding that America reject its own history. It is this cultural conflict that soon must be addressed, and the President’s amnesty proposal simply turns a blind eye to the problem.
Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives, elected from and representing the Fourteenth
Congressional District of Texas. Congressman Paul is considered to be one of America's leading spokesmen for constitutional
government, the rule of law, liberty under law, the private enterprise system,, free market economics, sound monetary policy, and
fiscal restraint on the part of the U.S. national government.
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