In flagrant defiance of growing election-year anger at illegal immigration, Obama Administration officials met on Friday with Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, as well as leaders of Los Angeles area nonprofits and local business leaders, to discuss ways to more effectively encourage immigrants (including illegal immigrants) to become U.S. citizens. The meeting, which convened in LA’s city hall for more than four hours, was the first of several to be held in major American cities to promote President Obama’s “Task Force on New Americans,” an effort to coordinate efforts between the federal and municipal governments in working with immigrants, both legal and illegal, and bring them into the citizenship fold.
Three other California cities — including notorious “sanctuary city” San Francisco, which has defied the federal government’s immigration laws for years by harboring illegal aliens — have also signed onto the program, along with around 20 other cities across the country.
Rolling out the program in California’s largest city is no accident. As the Los Angeles Times observed, “in recent years, California has moved repeatedly to provide rights, benefits, and protections to immigrants in the country illegally, including in-state tuition, driver's licenses, rules to limit deportations and state-funded healthcare for children. Julie Chavez Rodriguez, senior deputy director in the White House Office of Public Engagement, was more coy. “Starting in California is a perfect kickoff, from our perspective,” she told the Times.
Of course, the initiative isn’t just about illegal residents. There are an estimated 700,000 legal non-citizen residents in the Los Angeles area alone, some of whom speak little or no English or have other handicaps that would make passing the citizenship exam difficult, but are residents who might easily qualify for citizenship, but have so far taken a pass. These are of great interest to the Democrats in particular, who in California and elsewhere have dangled all sorts of enticing government services — like healthcare and other taxpayer-funded benefits — as inducements to sign up for citizenship.
In generations past, such a thing would have been unthinkable, but today, many otherwise qualified immigrants are choosing permanent resident (green card) status over full citizenship, and it is not hard to understand why. For one thing, American citizens live in a prison of taxation which is practically impossible to escape; increasingly draconian rules designed to discourage renunciation of citizenship contemplate stripping many would-be emigrants of most or all of their estate as the price for leaving the loving embrace of Uncle Sam and the IRS.
Meanwhile, Americans remain the only citizens of any advanced country (or any country at all, aside from backward, autocratic Eritrea) that taxes its citizens no matter where in the world they live and work. The procedure for doing tax returns for expats is becoming more and more complex, with the slightest error punishable by heavy fines. Small wonder that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of foreigners – foreign workers, students, and spouses, for example – opt to live and work in the U.S.A., but have said “no, thank you” to offers of citizenship.
Nor should there be any doubt as to what programs like the “Task Force on New Americans” are really about. They are about increasing the taxpayers base (imagine how much more revenue several million productive new citizens would produce) and about growing the constituency of the Democratic Party. Since the world is now overwhelmingly socialist in one degree or another, most new citizens can be depended upon to support Big Government and to vote into power representatives who do the same.