America seems unable to have an intelligent conversation about immigration. In 1986 after over a decade of work, we finally passed immigration law reform. Senator Al Simpson of Wyoming, the Senate leader that got the legislation passed, told me he hoped we understood the enforcement part of the law is more important than the forgiving (amnesty) part of the law.
No such luck. We still remain stuck in a nation with virtual open borders pushing diversity and multiculturalism in an age of terrorist jihad absolutely oblivious to what is now happening to Europe. And our media brethren remain congenitally unable to be honest about the issues we face.
Ironically, forty years ago we almost got it right. The New York Times wrote about the then forthcoming immigration commission report and the hope for reform: "How can one seriously argue whether to increase legal immigration by 80,000 or 250,000 when maybe 6 million illegal aliens are already here and thousands more are coming daily? There can be no sensible policy without the means to enforce it." They continued: our overall immigration policy amounted to a great "big wink"-or the big pretend-a combination of minimally protecting the borders but largely doing nothing once people got into the country.
Let us examine some basics.
Half a million people overstayed their visas last year. We have no law enforcement method to determine where these people are or who they are. So says the immigration policy directors in the US government. Wink number one.
According to Congressional hearings, the US immigration authorities have deliberately let out of custody thousands of convicted felons, many of them guilty of violent crimes such as rape and murder, and not deported them, as required by law. Wink number two.
Yes it is wonderful some policy makers want to deport convicted violent felons who are also criminal aliens. But what the commentariat has missed is that these people first have to come here to America illegally, then commit a violent felony, then be apprehended and arrested, then convicted and only then deported. Why not stop them from coming into the country in the first place at the border? Wink number three.
We have more than 300 sanctuary cities, counties and states. Violent felons, criminal aliens, finish their prison sentences but the Federales are not notified so these dangerous people can be deported. They get out of jail free and often end up murdering and raping American citizens again. Wink number four.
The arrogant ruling class says they need little people to mow their laws and wash their restaurant dishes. And people from outside the country that can work off the books, avoid taxes, and allow Americans that should be doing those jobs sit home, join gangs, drop out of school, smoke dope, eat bon bons, watch television and yes, have babies out of wedlock. Anyone ever hear of welfare reform and work requirements? Wink number five.
Those here illegally can not only work off the books (that's illegal) but send their children to our public schools (which is legal) where we will (to be compassionate and multicultural) teach them in any number of languages (see California) at a cost to the Federal, state and local governments of $12,000-$14,000 a year just for school. (Camden New Jersey exceeds $25,000 and California averages $18,000). We pay and they don't. As Victor Davis Hanson explains we are the only successful multiracial society-E Pluribus Unum-- because we have been bound by a common language, culture and values. Wink number six.
We won't enforce the immigration laws we have. While I watched incredulously after testifying on immigration at the Maryland State House, one local Maryland state legislator told Mexican television just outside the hearing room: "There are no illegal aliens in America there are just people adjusting their status". Wink number seven.
We not only won't enforce our immigration laws we will demand that the border patrol take "dreamers" or "unaccompanied minors" and transfer them to social service agencies to settle in America. But the border patrol are highly trained law enforcement professionals who both Presidents John Kennedy and Dwight Eisenhower used to escort young black students when integrating our schools. Use them for what we should be doing-protect the border. Wink number eight. When asked whether we should have an intelligent discussion of what immigration policy in America should be, do not under any circumstances reference the 1965 immigration law debate where the chief sponsors insisted the new law would not change "our primary European background".
Don't admit the new emphasis on family connections in the 1965 law deprived the American people of the ability to decide which people with which skills would be allowed to come to America or what has been described as a "transfer of policy control from the elected representatives of the American people to individuals wishing to bring relatives to this country." And as National Review correctly explained, don't bring up that prior decades long limits on the practice of importing labor to break strikes and compress wages helped create the American middle class.
Declare such discussions racist and demand that we move on, and ignore that open border enthusiasts such as La Raza and Univision insist that only certain ethic groups be favored in immigration flows because after all we all want "America to become Mexico". Wink number nine.
When confronted with the overwhelming evidence that a major strain within Islam is violent and seeks with terrorist tactics to impose shariah law on the countries where they live, claim Islam has "nothing to do" with terrorism, that Islam is a "religion of peace" and say it's just bigotry that seeks to prevent potential Islamic jihads from terrorizing America. "Radical extremists" are never Muslims. Wink number ten.
When asked what these people are being radical or extreme about, move on to the next question. Can't possibly be radical or extreme about Islam now can they? Is it vegetarianism? Even though the Islamic conquests began when Mohammed was well, conquering. But it has nothing to do with Islam. [And if you criticize the prophet we will cut your head off.] As former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich asked "How can you have an open borders policy in the age of international terrorism"? Indeed. Wink number eleven.
Make anti-bigotry and anti-racism as the watch word for and open borders immigration policy but avoid any questions whether current immigration policy that shows a preference to certain ethnic groups is itself racist. Wink number twelve.
Amnesty is of course the only desirable course for all 11 million aliens here, and well, even if it's 20 million. Avoid certain questions such as "How will you vet these people?" Or "Where are they going to get the income to pay all those back taxes we were assured they were not avoiding because they couldn't possibly be working off the books because they are all law-abiding?" Wink number thirteen.
Demand that all immigration policy come down to only the single question of whether all people now here illegally get to stay in America-amnesty-or whether you are going to support Nazi like "mass deportations". Wink number fourteen.
Avoid all questions about actually enforcing immigration and employment law-E-Verify, employer sanctions, a work requirement for welfare reform, tax avoidance scams. All if actually enforced reasonably would result in a very significant number of those here illegally going home but don't examine that question. Years ago when claiming the outflow of illegal aliens in America going home equaled the number of illegal aliens crossing our borders, the administration said the phenomenon of "self-deportation" was responsible. Avoid that topic as well, go back to the default "mass deportation" verbal racket. Wink number fifteen.
Pretend that amnesty has to be everyone or no one, compassion or evil. Don't examine whether AFTER a new immigration enforcement system, including E-Verify and employer sanctions, after a work requirement in re-instated and welfare reform is on the books, after a moratorium is in place on immigration and refugee flows from states that sponsor terrorist groups, we can then take a look at people wishing to stay in America on a case by case basis under criteria carefully vetted and examined by Congress and the American public. Instead insist amnesty has to be up front and the first and only thing you do. Wink number sixteen.
You have to replace your roof. But it can be fixed. And a huge thunderstorm is coming that day. The contractor says let's take the roof off and in a week we can have a beautiful new roof in place. And you ask whether in the meantime the rest of the house will be flooded and ruined if the storm takes place. And the contractor again shows you pictures of a beautiful roof. Ignore that the number of illegal aliens arrested at the border from terror sponsoring states increased to 462 in 2015 alone, from 255 in 2011. Wink number seventeen.
When you dramatically increase the production of marijuana in America, pretend the Mexican cartels cannot read the papers and thus understand basic supply and demand economics. Pretend they didn't quadruple heroin production and drive the price of smack to below that of on the street prescription drugs. And pretend that the heroin isn't coming across our border brought here by criminal drug gangs-these people are just adjusting their status, remember? And pretend we do not have a heroin epidemic and it's not related at all to open borders. Wink number eighteen.
Be aghast at anyone who will suggest we build a wall. Deny the Israelis successfully built a wall of over 700 kilometers and that it cut suicide bombings and terrorist attacks by some 85%. Don't admit the cost is $2 million a mile and for $4 billion the US could do the same over the 2000 mile long southern border. And deny that adding border patrol agents and other surveillance equipment to the border would dramatically improve our ability to stop the flow of gangs, criminal aliens, drug traffickers, and coyote smugglers-don't talk about it. Remember its racists to insist that our national sovereignty allows us to say to potential immigrants both "Yes" and "No". Walls around the compounds of the liberal rich and famous are for protection. Walls on your border are racist. Wink number nineteen.
And finally, act shocked that anyone would be so callous to suggest a wall be built and actually paid for by those benefitting from hundreds of billions in remittances and free education received over the past 45 years. For only one million children costing $10 billion a year for school is a net $400 billion cost to US taxpayers since the Supreme Court decision requiring America to provide schooling for children here illegally. Take the 600,000 barrels of refined petroleum products we send to Mexico every day and add a small $7.50 surcharge. That comes to $1.6 billion a year. The wall is paid for in two and one-half years. But don't discuss this. Call everyone a racist. Wink number twenty.
Peter Huessy is President of GeoStrategic Analysis of Potomac, Maryland, a defense and national security consulting firm.