Monday, 09 May 2011

Anti-Illegal Immigration Group Awards an "F" to Ron Paul

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With news coming from the major media outlets that Ron Paul of Texas has the best chance of defeating President Barack Obama in 2012, it is not surprising that his back is now a canvas for painting a multitude of targets.

One of the groups taking aim at Congressman Paul is the immigration policy lobby, NumbersUSA. NumbersUSA is an organization devoted to legislatively reducing the allowed level of annual immigration to pre-1965 levels, without country of origin quotas that were created by the Immigration Act of 1924. 

The NumbersUSA article describes Dr. Paul’s record on immigration as “mixed,” obviously intending that designation as an indictment of the Texas congressman.

In the group’s 2012 Presidential Hopefuls Immigration Stances Report Card, Ron Paul was awarded a failing grade: an F. He was previously given a more respectable (though below average) C- and likely would have seen his marks improve were it not for Representative Paul’s “latest comments on immigration” and that they display “not just some ad hoc thoughts tossed off carelessly at some speaking event. These are engraved in a brand new book.”

The book wherein Dr. Paul lays out the details of his “mixed” immigration philosophy is entitled Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues that Affect Our Freedom.” In the chapter on immigration, Paul begins by describing the “ideal libertarian world,” wherein “borders would be blurred and open.”

In his inimitable fashion, Dr. Paul then goes on to provide a nuanced realpolitik analysis of the issue that apparently went unread by the NumbersUSA crew.

For example, in the explanation of his position on immigration, legal and illegal, Dr. Paul admits that the creation of a perfect libertarian world is impossible in a country such as the United States where the government has created a welfare state that is forced by government-initiated cycles of recession and recovery to abide by rules and regulations that otherwise would be unnecessary and unqualifiedly unconstitutional. 

The nation’s resentment of illegal immigrants and their presence in our country stems from two reasons according to Paul: First, there is the “government-mandated free services” that citizens decry when they are afforded to illegals; second, there is the “government-created unemployment crisis” that leads out-of-work Americans to rightly regard employed illegals as a threat to the economic well-being of citizens and those who came to this country through the proper channels.

For Congressman Paul, then, the solution is simple and it is similar to the answer to most of the ills plaguing our once mighty Republic: Abolish all extra-constitutional programs, entitlements, and benefits and permit the federal government to exercise only those very limited and specifically enumerated powers that are laid out in the Constitution. In other words, Dr. Paul would recommend treating the disease, not the symptoms.

Regardless of the logic and constitutional soundness of Ron Paul’s positions, NumbersUSA counts the red flags and sticks by the failing grade. According to the report:

The ratings add up to an overall stance that just barely misses warranting an F-minus and squeaks through just better than Pres. Obama. It is significantly worse than the grade of former Speaker Gingrich who had previously been the worst of all Republican Hopefuls on immigration.

And:

But you will find that only one Republican in Congress has a worse grade on border issues than Ron Paul. Furthermore, he has failed to act in every category of immigration during this new Congress.

His grade on presidential stances is different because it is based not just on what he has done but on what he publicly says he would do as president. As a Member of Congress, he has been able to avoid acting on many immigration issues, thus protecting his grade a little.

Later in the explanation of why it gave such abysmal marks to Congressman Paul, NumbersUSA says:

In his book, Dr. Paul sounds very much like supporters of Comprehensive Amnesty measures by talking about the impossibility of sending back home 11 million illegal aliens.

Like most amnesty supporters who say they oppose "amnesty," Dr. Paul seems to buy the false choice between "legalization" or mass deportation. Since he says mass deportation isn't possible, he feels he has to choose some kind of legalization.

In fact, that is not at all the position espoused by Paul in his book. Dr. Paul doesn’t feel forced to choose some middle ground. He describes amnesty as “rewarding lawbreakers” and were such a program adopted it would be correctly viewed as “insulting and unfairly penalizing those who have patiently waited and obeyed our immigration laws.”

In fairness, with regard to the rounding up and deporting of the millions of illegals currently present in the United States, Paul does describe such a plan as “hardly ... a Good Samaritan approach” and “incompatible with human rights.”

While reasonable people may argue that point, Dr. Paul certainly isn’t cornered into any concession on the matter. Rather, he addresses the issue not from an economic perspective, but from a moral one. This is not the sort of courage one should disdain in presidential hopefuls.

What then, if neither amnesty nor mass deportation is the answer, should the United States do to address the problem of illegal immigration? Among the various suggestions Dr. Paul proposes are:

  • First, “restore our economy to a healthy free market with sound money and eliminate deficit-financed government.”
  • Next, “abolish the welfare state.”
  • Third, enact a “generous visitor work program,” thus providing a legal immigrant labor force.
  • Fourth, enforce current immigration statutes by deploying more border guards; “permit states to enforce the law”; and “provide private property security assistance.”
  • Fifth, cease awarding automatic citizenship to children born in the United States to illegal immigrant parents, so called “anchor babies.”
  • Also, end the “war on drugs.” This unconstitutional exercise of police power only encourages “violence of the drug lords and corrupt officials on both sides.”
  • Finally, any immigrant, regardless of status, who commits a crime of violence “should be prosecuted under the law and lose their right to stay in this country.”

With all due respect to NumbersUSA and their noble and worthwhile goal of reducing the number of immigrants to this country, the foregoing does not sound like the beliefs of a man who is soft on illegal immigration and who merits a failing grade for his approach to the problem of illegal immigration.

Perhaps the reason NumbersUSA reacted so harshly to the opinions published by Dr. Paul in his new book is that the position he occupies is so unusual for a modern politician -— one clean of the stain of partisan influence and unbound by the strictures imposed by the mandates of party fealty. A position that is devoid of any paean to government and looks not to the source of the malady for the cure thereof. 

Liberty, unrestrained by government interference and restriction, is the tonic for all of the ills afflicting our body politic. As Dr. Paul so elegantly explained at the conclusion of the chapter on immigration:

"With the total failure of the welfare state and our foreign policy, it will become more evident that the door is wide open for the solutions that a free society provides."

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