The Realpolitik of Immigration
By: Vincent Fiore
One has only to reference the showing by some 500,000-plus legal and illegal Mexican aliens in Los Angeles last weekend to realize that the discussion regarding Immigration and its legality and security concerns is now “The” topic of discussion across America.
But perhaps “showing” is too kind a word to describe what took place this past week, as hundreds of thousands protested–it seems to the casual observer even–the “right” to be in the United States illegally.
It was, instead, an onslaught of ungrateful, mostly Mexican nationals that held up banners that read slogans like “This is stolen land” and “Chicano Power.” Of course, what protest is complete without the pre-requisite burning of the American flag, and the reference of President Bush as a “Nazi.”
Even high school students across Texas and California, adorned in such rebel-conscious fashion as Che Guevara T-shirts, took to the streets, flashing gang signs, and protesting for an alien’s right to be here illegally.
The sad part is, most of these young idiots (and if you’re wearing a Che shirt, you ARE an idiot) will never take the time to find out just who and what Che Guevara was.
Yes, America. Here is that discussion over immigration that we have been putting off ever since Ronald Reagan threw the country a high, hard one by granting amnesty to some four million illegal aliens via the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. It was said back then that it was the “practical” thing to do in light of the circumstances.
And dÃ©jÃ vu-like, the American people were told then–as they are being told now–that security at the border would be so improved as to never let immigration get out of hand again. So let’s grant amnesty to the illegal masses, and then let’s get tough!
Indeed. Apparently, getting tough up on Capitol Hill in regard to immigration reform meant about as much as Bill Clinton’s nationally televised admonition to the nation: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” It was sensationally false, and nervy to boot.
Well, the practicality of 1986 has turned in to something of a political maxim in 2006. I think it is just another way of stating the Realpolitik of the issue of immigration. Everyone has a piece of the issue that they clutch onto, but few have any complete answers.
This is because–whether anyone you know will admit this to you or not–the issue of immigration is multifaceted in its complexity and solution. I know some of my observations will generate more than a few heartfelt e-mails towards me, but so what? That’s why it called an op-ed, folks.
First off, there is a real need for these people to be here. If you doubt this, you doubt the evidence of your own eyes. There really are jobs that Americans do not want to do, especially those just starting out in the work force: the young. I am not just talking about picking tomatoes here. In New York, as in most major liberal cities, car wash salons, landscapers, fast-food emporiums, and many trade-related jobs are unfilled by young Americans.
If you doubt this, walk into a Wendy’s, or look who’s up on the roof doing the thankless job of a rip-out. I am in the trades, and I know this as fact. Even the lure of decent starting pay, medical benefits, and profit-sharing opportunities cannot seem to sway the American young people of the country.
Does this mean that I want and believe in cheap, illegal labor? No. I want competitive prices, yes, but the price we pay as a country is way too high. Additionally, I have always believed that whatever savings were realized by paying Pedro five dollars an hour instead of paying Peter eight dollars was eaten up by the taxes one pays to subsidize Pedro’s life here among his American “landlords.”
The solution? Get our kids motivated again; and parents, stop spoiling them with everything from iPods to cars by their sixteenth birthday. Americans are the hardest working people in the world. This should include the future of the country that seems too busy with the instant gratification that life in the United States offers.
As a side note to this, a real discussion needs to be had regarding the minimum wage. It was never meant to support families on, but to ingratiate a youngster into the world of earned pay. Raising the minimum wage will lead to less jobs in the long run, and even less opportunities for Americans to find employment, gainful or otherwise. When one makes five dollars a day, as they do in Mexico, America’s minimum wage looks like lotto to them.
Next, security is a major issue here. What good is anything Congress or the president does if ten years later, we find ourselves in the same boat? Remember, the Reagan administration and that Congress dealt with the same problem as we are today, only the numbers have changed significantly. The United States is a republic, which means it is a land governed according to law. We have the laws on the books already, so it hardly seems necessary to make more. Just enforce what’s there, for
The idea of 700-mile fences, thousands of additional border agents, and robotic surveillance of the border is all well and good, but how does one legislate the will to actually want to stop illegals from entering the country?
Economics is probably the biggest single concern regarding illegal immigration, but it is a two-sided argument. If it’s true–and it is in some respects–that hiring illegals makes it easier for business to lower its price to the public, does the public stand ready to sacrifice price over principle? Americans are clearly against illegal immigration, and are nearly of one voice when it comes to security of the border.
Great, you say. If things were to drastically change regarding illegal immigration, will paying $4.99 for a head of lettuce make Americans pine away for those good old days of cheap goods, brought to you courtesy of cheap and illegal labor? In my opinion, this is the question that drives Congress.
We will all wait to see what type of bill comes out of the Senate next week. The House has already passed a bill that deals with security only, something that most Americans agree with. The two bills will then go to conference, where a final bill comes out to be voted on, and signed into law. It is a bill that will not only affect the 11 million illegals in the country, but the 290 million citizens that have the right to be here.
Aside from the obvious concerns that are being discussed all across the country, there are those who seek to turn this debate into something else.
For those of you who delve into the media-driven and supported cries of “racism,” enough already. Since when is it racist to enforce one’s laws? For anyone to engage in calling an American citizen “racist” because he or she has genuine concerns over the social and economic impact of mass immigration into the country displays a racism all their own, and that racism is one of anti-Americanism.
If all those disparate groups and organizations of “non-whites” have not figured out what ails the American people most in all this, let me explain it to you: assimilation.
And for all my friends over at La Raza, and the “Spanish Council” for this, and the “Mexican Caucus” for that, an old saying comes to mind here: “AmÃ©rica, lo ama o sale de Ã©l.”
Vincent Fiore is a freelance political writer who lives in New York City. His work can be seen on a host of sites, including the American Conservative Union, GOPUSA, ChronWatch, and Opinioneditorials. Vincent is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance and a contributing writer for NewsBusters.org. He receives e-mail at: Anwar004@aol.com