Among the litany of fictions peddled by the proponents of “comprehensive immigration reform,” two are fundamental. They want for us to believe, first, that the only alternative to their proposal is to do nothing and, second, that we can’t “afford” to do nothing. From the juxtaposition of these two propositions the conclusion is gotten that we have no option but to choose “comprehensive immigration reform.”
Anyone with just a superficial acquaintance with some rudimentary logic could spot the fallaciousness of this argument from a mile away. It is what logicians have identified as a false dichotomy, for it frames the issue as if it admitted of only two extreme alternatives — de factor amnesty or something called “nothing”; it is also commits what is called “the straw man” fallacy, for it grossly distorts the position advocated by opponents of amnesty.
There isn’t a single person who thinks that nothing ought to be done about the scourge on our national life that is illegal immigration. To speak as if this is the position of the critics of policies designed to make citizens of those who undermined our sovereignty by entering our land illegally is to argue in bad faith. Rather, what the enemies of all versions of amnesty desire is for the government to simply enforce the laws for dealing with illegal immigration that have long been established.
Such a course of action is a far cry from “doing nothing.”
When the champions of amnesty make outrageous claims like, “Our immigration system is broken,” it is important for the rest of us to recognize that this is code for: “We don’t like America’s immigration system.” If “the system” can be said to be “broken” at all, it is broken only inasmuch as the agents of the federal government’s executive branch refuse to discharge their Constitutional obligation to enforce the laws enacted by the legislative branch.
The question we must ask ourselves, though, is why?
As far as I can determine, at least two answers are forthcoming, the one practical, the other more philosophical.
Practically speaking, the move to legalize illegal immigrants is motivated by the rawest of political interests — the desire to elicit votes. Considering that the overwhelming majority of those who would benefit from amnesty are Hispanic, and considering that the number of Hispanics who vote Democrat consistently eclipses the number that votes Republican, it is perfectly rational for Democrats to favor amnesty.
The same, however, cannot be said of Republicans. Still, in spite of the brute fact that Hispanics decisively gravitate toward their rivals, Republicans remain ever hopeful. If only they continue to renew their efforts at “outreach” toward minorities, so runs the conventional wisdom, they will ultimately prevail upon Hispanics (and, eventually, even blacks!) to overcome the temptation to accept the staggering plethora of racially-oriented benefits that Democrats ceaselessly throw at them. Then and only then will Hispanics (or is it “Latinos?”) embrace the party of race-neutrality, limited government, and personal responsibility that is the Republican Party.
Again, this is the orthodox line among the party establishment.
But this thinking is wishful to the point of being utopian. The policies of Republicans diverge sharply from their rhetoric. Blacks and Hispanics won’t even vote for Republicans when the latter offer goodies that are virtually indistinguishable from those guaranteed by Democrats. What in the world possesses Republicans to believe that these minorities would find GOP rhetoric appealing? Perhaps the first step toward beefing up “outreach” is for Republicans to drop all talk of such conservative values as “personal responsibility,” “smaller government,” and “equal — i.e. color-blind — rights.”
Although the critics of amnesty usually accuse their opponents of being driven by nothing other than crass political or materialistic interests, I don’t think that this is quite correct. The zeitgeist of our times is decidedly “anti-Racist.” The notion that opposition to illegal immigration, being an expression of “racism,” is morally objectionable is a product of leftist orthodoxy, plain and simple. Democrats, then, genuinely believe this. The sad truth, though, is that so have many Republicans imbibed this fiction. And that Republicans have worked tirelessly to promote another fiction, the myth that America originated, not in the culturally-specific traditions of a particular people at a particular time in their history, but an abstract, timeless proposition that all human beings can and should want to embrace, has only strengthened the politically correct spirit of our generation.
Until we sort through the illogic, myths, and cynicism of our immigration mess, it promises to remain a mess.