Immigration, much more than a single 30 second sound bite

“I support legal and orderly immigration. Enforced borders and orderly entry are prime factors that define a nation; that is my position,” declared the candidate.

His opposition, however opined at length to the contributions of immigrants, carefully omitting the word “illegal” and whined about the impossibility of stemming the hemorrhage from south of the border.

This is the short form of today’s critical national immigration debate.

It’s all about growth. Today, three-fourths of the U.S. population growth is directly due to immigration  – both legal and illegal (including their birth rate). At this rate of increase, our present population of about 288 million will nearly double to over 500 million in less than 45 years.  With them they bring their labor, but they also bring their cultural attitudes.  One only has to study the last great wave of immigration from 1890 to 1920 to see the changes they wrought in our society, culture and future.

But where is that growth? Notice it is among new immigrants — both legal and otherwise. The net population of Western European Americans is aging and declining. By the year 2050 the United States will be a very different place.  Here’s an example of what I mean, this new demographic is generally Christian, Pro-Life, and not too interested in Gay Marriage.  Of course, if an devout immigrant Muslim father learns that his two twin 9 year old daughters are being exposed to the LBGT agenda in school, who knows what he’s apt to do about it.

Two historical events directly impacted this current immigration explosion: the Immigration Act of 1965, which radically altered traditional U.S. immigration policy, and the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. The 1986 Act, under then Vice President George Bush, granted amnesty to an estimated three million illegal aliens in exchange for strict sanctions against employers hiring workers without documentation.  The 1986 Act has been enforced very sparingly if at all in the years since.

In 1925, during the last wave of major immigration, it was noted that,  “… they who control a country’s immigration policy controls the future of that country.” What does that mean for our present future as a people?  [and as something fun to do, find out where the quote came from, I know where, but its much better if you look it up for yourselves.]

Just how many sides are there to the immigration issue? You might as well try to figure out how many sides to a sphere, just try to find something that current illegal immigration doesn’t impact.

Immigration impacts (in no particular order):

· Urban sprawl

· Education quality

· Infrastructure development (roads, transportation and energy needs)

· Wages, jobs, and the legal system

· Crime, police, the courts, and the prison system

· The environment and open spaces

· Housing costs

· Political power as individuals with little or no background in our Constitutional Republic begin to organize politically and demand a voice in the process

· The religious institutions of our society

· Our welfare and social services

· Our taxes

· Our social security

· Our health care systems (and our health)

· Our language

· National Park System, which just announced spending federal funds to explore ways to increase park attractiveness to new migrants!

All of these facets to immigration require resources; they cost money.   Where are those resources going to come from?  A single undocumented worker’s family often has a single wage earner at the semi-skilled end of the wage scale and, from that income a wife and children (and grandparents) must be supported.  The tax revenues simply aren’t there to support all the social costs of the larger extended families and special needs based on the taxes derrived from the wage earner.

In simple terms contrast the immigrant just here from Sinaloa having his mother-in-law, his wife, and six children … with the mid-50 year old childless university couple looking forward to retirement.  Now tell me this is a single point issue.

The bottom line is, an equitable system must be established to deal with labor migration in North America.  I for one would love to enjoy the political, social, and economic benefits that migrants in the US enjoy – in Mexico.  Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to work two ways (yet).


  1. Grumpy Gus says

    As long as we have the Welfare State, immigration will be an issue. If you take away these money issues, most people will stop being concerned about immigration. That would be a shame, because it will still matter.

    On the other hand, frankly, there is apparently very little in American “culture” that is superior to that of other nations. Food, music, film, architecture, fashion…and maybe now even politics. I say that after reading more and more about Obama and the media.

  2. I completely agree with the title of this post.

    Unfortunately, often repeated criticisms of our immigration system and dramatic illustrations of its brokenness are able to be captured in sound bites, but solutions cannot. Solutions open complex discussions. Committed activists from all perspectives have a hard time staying with a discussion on solutions because their deeply held emotional responses flare up and then the discussion devolves or they walk away in frustration. If this is what those committed to the issue experience, how much more frustrating is it for the average voter?

    Stakeholders in all aspects of the immigration debate need to look over the track record of actual progress since 1986 and decide if they’ve had enough to warrant checking their emotions and moving past the shut-down points? This is the only path to solutions.

    I’ve followed and worked directly on this issue since 1983, before IRCA of ’86. Some people (including politicians) have been working on solutions for years and there are good ideas out there. They just aren’t able to be reduced to sound bites.

  3. Veritas Vincit says

    Gus, your last paragraph I hope reflects what the Obama’s and their ilk seem to think of America.

    Obama fired the field commander in Afghanistan. Wonder how long it’ll be before its officially a quagmire?

  4. I appreciate your attempt to provide some balance to the discussion. A few more impacts (some will consider positive, some will consider negative):

    — More small business vitality
    — A willing work force at lower wages
    — Strong work ethic
    — Younger work force to compensate for graying of America

    That’s not an argument for open borders. It is an argument for “legal and orderly immigration” within an enforceable framework, which unfortunately was completely abandoned from roughly 1996-2004 (a bipartisanship failure!).

  5. V V- Bill is saying something so important and he’s a prime example of what debate can be. Put for valid arguments and look at it from all sides. There might be a right and wrong, but validity of social discourse exists at either end of the spectrum. Props Bill for points that are real. Do I agree? I am not saying. You know, when trained in debate, any good player knows you can argue either side. If you are only willing to argue you’re own, you’ll be killed once the debate is on. Most debate captains wouldn’t even let you on the team with a one-sided understanding.

  6. Grumpy Gus says

    I was unclear, sorry. Many parts of American culture have been inferior for some time, but never our politics. Obama is changing that.

  7. James McCartney says

    I am utterly fascinated with one sentence in this post:

    “The 1986 Act, under then Vice President George Bush, granted amnesty to an estimated three million illegal aliens in exchange for strict sanctions against employers hiring workers without documentation.”

    Under then Vice President George Bush?

    The bill was passed through the United States Senate under then Senate Majority leader Robert Dole. It was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.

    Why is then Vice President Bush singled out for attention and/or blame here? Not Dole? Not Reagan?

    Just curious.

  8. James McCartney,
    You do not expect an answer, no not from this group.
    Or, really?
    Didn’t you?

  9. Oberserve says

    “Legal and orderly immigration” is already occurring now. What Bill and Gayle are referring to is AMNESTY.

    Look at what happened in UT-3 to a 10 term congresman who pushed amnesty and called it by every other term except what it is. He got defeated by a no name.

    It’s time for the “Johns” and their staff who push amnesty to go. That’s the “new way” for the Republican party. Get rid of the Johns and their ilk and let the new, conservative and much more appealing to the general public, generation take over now.

    The Johns and their staff are a public embarassment.

  10. Whether or not it’s valid, there is a need to talk about it–all I am saying…

  11. Veritas Vincit says

    Well hello Bill… I thought those points sounded familiar.

    “More small business vitality” We see the unregistered roach coaches along Bell Road west of I-17 and the simple roadside restaurants without a health certificate popping up here and there.

    “A willing work force at lower wages” This is your biggest error Bill. They only work for lower wages for about six to 18 months. After that they expect wages similar to everyone else. On the other hand, they displace entry level citizens like American males 16 to 22 who traditionally filled those jobs.

    “Strong work ethic” I could counter that with a strong corruption penchant equal to the work ethic. Especially when the Padron and patronage system entrenches itself within the work environment.

    You are well aware that we have an existing system of immigration laws that are just fine; just not evenly enforced. Lets begin there shall we?

    Read the report on Brown Collar jobs put out by the Center for Chicano Studies at UCLA, you’ll find it an excellent read.

    Actually Bill, I quite agree with you – we need a labor program minus the welfare and benefit aspects presently available. Work here two years and go home. Re-enlist for another “tour” after you’ve allowed others their two your “tour” working north of the border.

    There is a way. Just no rewards for those who took cuts in line to get here first. They go to the back of the line.

    James, Bush 41’s influence in the White House following the assassination attempt is well documented. Something like Dick Cheney’s being “available” for junior’s term. You think these things are just by accident?

  12. Veritas Vincit says

    Sorry Horst, James deserves an answer. Now go back to your nudist camp and bake yourself some more.

    Also James, As VP Bush 41 was President of the Senate.

    Mexico needs a social vent valve and our border serves that purpose. Only problem is, things are well out of control these days. One ranking Border Patrol individual in the Phoenix office once told me they could “…slam shut” the border within 24 hours anytime they wished to. When asked why they didn’t he replied, “… there isn’t the political will in DC to ever take that sort of action.”

  13. “James, Bush 41’s influence in the White House following the assassination attempt is well documented. Something like Dick Cheney’s being “available” for junior’s term. You think these things are just by accident?”

    VV, are you suggesting that Reagan was not REAGAN, but rather an “Aunt Jemima”-like figurehead, and that it was *Bush* who was the power behind two terms of Reagan?

    Holy crow.

    “Also James, As VP Bush 41 was President of the Senate.”

    As as President Reagan could have vetoed it. Damn that RINO.

  14. James McCartney says

    I find it very interesting that the right wing of the Republican party continues spouting off about the issue of illegal immigration, and that nothing incites more outrage in them than the term “amnesty.”

    To begin with, the outside of a handful of isolated districts, the issue was a total loser in both the 2006 and 2008 elections. From Don Goldwater to JD Hayworth to Tom Tancredo, Rudy Giuliani, and Mitt Romney, it followed the same pattern. The louder and harder they wailed on the immigration issue, the faster they lost. Obama and the Democratic party won two thirds of the Hispanic vote in 2008. I’m not sure what right wing Republicans think they’re going to gain by continuing to flog the issue. My hunch is that they’ll make themselves appear even more racist, mean spirited, and extremist, and proceed to alienate even more young and minority voters from ever supporting the Republican party. If that’s their choice, so be it. Choices have consequences.

    The other thing that continually amazes me is the intellectual and historical gymnastics that take place when one points out that the last immigration reform bill, including an amnesty, was passed by a Republican controlled Senate and signed by Ronald Reagan. Teddy Kennedy and a bunch of liberal Democrats opposed it.

    This is quite a new one on me, though. Then Vice President George HW Bush takes the blame. Not the president who signed the bill, not the majority leader of the Republican Senate that passed it. Very gymnastic indeed. After the assassination attempt Reagan wasn’t really the president anymore? Um, sorry, VV, Ronny had only been in office for 69 days when he was shot. The immigration bill was passed five years later. You’re telling us that George H.W. Bush ran the country for all but the first 69 days of the Reagan presidency? He’s to blame for anything Ronny did that looks bad now? Take a deep breath in. Streeeetch. Streeetch even harder. Streeetch some more. Breath out. Reagan signed off on amnesty. Stretching doesn’t change that. Stretch a little harder and maybe you could find a way to blame it on Jimmy Carter.

  15. Veritas Vincit says

    James, “… Obama and the Democratic party won two thirds of the Hispanic vote in 2008”

    And, if you’re paying attention to the Amnesty groups, you’ve by now noticed that their hollering that Obama hasn’t delivered what they expected. Go read my posting on the La Raza phone-a-thon this month. Those groups are very disappointed Obama hasn’t brought home the bacon.

    James, its called *influence* and Bush 41 was all over it. Need proof? RR said he’d never run for office with a Globalist and, two weeks later Bush was at his side – the consummate Globalist. You’re not familiar with insider politics in the Beltway are you? You think its all just as your teacher taught you back in 6th grade.

    btw, every family event or occasion in our household involves an “undocumented” immigrant family. So cut the racist crap ok? Talk issues, and do so from a place of experience or knowledge.

    Bush 41; NAFTA and the SPP involves the free movement of capital, goods, and labor. The whole guest worker thing is the “free movement of labor” over international borders. Don’t you think its mighty peculiar that the “free movement of labor” over the southern US border was a hallmark of Bush 43?

  16. Annie Hoyle says

    How interesting! In an effort to teach my children that we all have a moral obligation to obey the law (yes, ALL of us), I am making myself appear racist, mean spirited, and extremist. I have 4 beautiful, honest, kind, generous, loving children who, to the benefit of you and our society, absolutely know that “choices have consequences”.
    I am so incredibly grateful to be one of those right wing Republicans who totally understand what we have to gain!!

  17. Oberserve says

    James sez: “I find it very interesting that the right wing of the Republican party continues spouting off about the issue of illegal immigration, and that nothing incites more outrage in them than the term “amnesty.””

    Jimmy, your English doesn’t even make sense. No one is upset over a word. Any state of being upset is flagrant and open calls for breaking the law by you and those you support. It is your ACTIONS that cause upset. It is the continued LIES from the same people when they say “We are not for amnesty.” when they *are* for the act of amnesty.

    Again, Republicans REMOVED the 10 term Republican congreeman in UT-3 last election who played the game you are playing.

    It’s time to remove those in AZ now who are doing the same.

  18. maybe its time to remove the three johns?

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