Don’t legitimize illegal aliens

Former illegal aliens were granted legal status in one ill-conceived act of compassionate conservatism, “amnesty,” under President Ronald Reagan’s administration in 1986. Predictably, illegal immigration has increased since that fateful event to an estimated total of 9 million to 11 million.

Let’s make sure our definitions agree: If individuals are present in the United States of America, in contravention of its immigration laws, they are here illegally. They aren’t “undocumented workers,” they aren’t “uninvited guests,” and they aren’t “victims of circumstances.” Attempts by liberal politicians to characterize illegal aliens as something else are self-serving attempts to pander to liberal voters. Fortunately for the left, the message plays extremely well in the media. Detractors are branded as racist, xenophobic, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals who are devoid of compassion.

In the Washington Times, Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Illinois, was quoted as saying, “It would be unfair and unworkable to deport immigrants who have worked in the United States for many years.” In true liberal form, money can be found for any government program, but it’s “unworkable” to round up 10 million foreigners walking around the United States, many of whom can’t even speak English.

In a press release, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said, “Lack of citizenship impedes these immigrants from benefiting from the opportunities our country affords, including access to basic health care and education.” It doesn’t help that a number of government departments in Nevada have a “don’t ask, don’t tell policy.” For example, the Las Vegas Police Department specifically forbids officers from stopping suspected illegal immigrants if that is their only crime.

Proponents for yet another round of amnesty disingenuously argue that “Americans” won’t do the work that most illegal aliens will. Of course, before illegals began coming en masse, our grass was getting cut, our meat was being packed, our houses were being cleaned, and the crops were getting picked. This pervasive idea that we can’t run the United States without an unlimited supply of illegal foreigners is absurd.

To further legitimize illegal immigration, it has been suggested that most illegal aliens are hard-working people who don’t take a great deal of entitlements. I have yet to hear of the hordes of doctors, lawyers, engineers and accountants pouring over the border. Even if the hardworking theory is true, illegals do undercut the job base by working for less than their American counterparts. If there are 10 million employed illegals working for sub-par wages, that’s 10 million jobs not available to American workers at living wages.

After President Bush proposed an ill-advised plan to allow illegal aliens “temporary worker status,” the Democrats immediately launched their own love-in to legitimize their future constituency. Democrats went beyond President Bush’s plan and called for a system of “earned legalization,” which would begin with temporary legal status and lead to citizenship.

The rationale for even having an immigration policy is obviously lost on Democrats, who now apparently feel the need to augment their roles through importation.

Amnesty was an abject failure. Legitimization of any illegal alien—whether here for 10 years or 10 minutes—is bad public policy. It is patently unfair to those who enter this country legally, it is unfair to taxpayers, and it is unfair to the American worker.

Furthermore, it sends the message to all future and potential illegals to take a chance at the citizenship lottery. It may not be a crime to want to live the American Dream, but it is not the American Way to reward those who cut in line to get it.