Facts versus feelings

The issue of illegal immigration is an emotionally charged one.  I believe far too many of our leaders enable its continuation due to cynical political calculations: if the American people won’t vote them greater powers, they’ll import a people who will.  But for the average citizenry, those who support the continued entry of hundreds of thousands of migrants each year are largely driven by genuine compassion.  Indeed, it’s hard not to compare the conditions many of these people are leaving to those in the U.S. and not feel a sense of obligation to help.

That is why dispassionate examination of the facts of the matter is absolutely essential.  Simply put, this ongoing, unprecedented wave of migration is demonstrably harmful to the citizenry already living within the United States:

A majority of “non-citizens,” including those with legal green card rights, are tapping into welfare programs set up to help poor and ailing Americans, a Census Bureau finding that bolsters President Trump’s concern about immigrants costing the nation.

In a new analysis of the latest numbers, from 2014, 63 percent of non-citizens are using a welfare program, and it grows to 70 percent for those here 10 years or more, confirming another concern that once immigrants tap into welfare, they don’t get off it…

“Concern over immigrant welfare use is justified, as households headed by non-citizens use means-tested welfare at high rates. Non-citizens in the data include illegal immigrants, long-term temporary visitors like guest workers, and permanent residents who have not naturalized. While barriers to welfare use exist for these groups, it has not prevented them from making extensive use of the welfare system, often receiving benefits on behalf of U.S.-born children,” added the Washington-based [Center for Immigration Studies].

The numbers are huge. The report said that there are 4,684,784 million non-citizen households receiving welfare… Compared to native households, non-citizen households have much higher use of food programs (45 percent vs. 21 percent for natives) and Medicaid (50 percent vs. 23 percent for natives).

The American people have historically been a generous one, no doubt in large part to the legacy of Christian charity.  The current level of charity, however, is both unsustainable and unfair to the Americans who have paid into various systems like Social Security and are now unlikely to realize their promised benefits because those funds went to others.  The injustice of transferring wealth from citizens to those who have entered the country (legal or illegal) only to become a burden on it should be obvious.  Given the fact the United States is already flirting heavily with insolvency, carrying trillions of dollars in debt and routinely hearing warnings about Social Security and other programs running out of funds for promised benefits, it’s clear the current situation cannot be tolerated.

The soothsayers who want to allow the status quo to continue try to shame concerned Americans by pointing to our history as a ‘nation of immigrants.’  In doing so, they omit certain critical data points:

  • Past waves of immigration, such as the early 1900s, were conducted according to strict legal protocols, requiring processing at such places as Ellis Island.  It was not a free-for-all “rush for the border” as we have today.
  • Previous immigrants had to prove, among other things, that they had the means to be self-supporting.
  • Previous sources of immigration were mainly from Western European nations with at least a tenuous connection with the English social and political context that framed the United States.  Today, not so much.  (Note the dramatic change on this animated map, both in terms of volume and sources of immigration, starting about 1970.)

This is not to say that individual people from other parts of the world are any less human. It acknowledges, however, that culture is an essential facet of any country, and is not easily discarded in favor of a new worldview. In short, we have allowed alien ways of thought to establish themselves among us, with major implications for the future of our Constitutional heritage.

Much, if not most of our current inflow of people is from Latin America.  Is it not prudent, then, to examine the fact Latin America is “the murder capital of the world?”

With just 8% of the world’s population, Latin America accounts for roughly a third of global murders. It is also the only region where lethal violence has grown steadily since 2000, according to United Nations figures. Nearly one in every four murders around the world takes place in just four countries: Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia. 

The linked article goes on to note most of these murders are never solved, a result of the very weak legal systems and lack of accountability that exist in most of the countries south of the Rio Grande.  Gangs like MS-13 represent the effective local authority, and it should be no surprise that as we continue to receive large numbers of people from this area, that the established gangs export their influence north with it.  It’s understandable to want to help people fleeing such lawlessness.  But such an impulse has to be tempered by at least two questions:

  • Given the pervasiveness of violence and lawlessness, are we willing to import the entire populations of countries like El Salvador or Honduras to allow their people to escape it?  For how many nations are we willing to do this?
  • Does it do any good to permit large-scale immigration from this region that results in importing to the U.S. the very social problems so many profess to be fleeing?

The first duty of any legitimate government is the protection of its own citizens, not provision to outsiders.  Yet many of our leaders seem to turn that on its head, viciously attacking and slandering any who then question their priorities.  In turning the U.S. into the world’s charity, we have forgotten a warning given to us in the famous parable by C.S. Lewis:

Do what you will, there is going to be some benevolence, as well as some malice, in your patient’s soul. The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary.

Indeed, the benevolence we think we bestow when we allow people to move to America only to become trapped in ethnic enclaves as wards of the state, is indeed largely imaginary.  Worse, it breeds understandable resentment among citizens who see their job prospects (see: H1B) and sources of public support diverted to newcomers, many of whom already broke our laws just coming here.

Our commendable compassion is being used to subvert us, and it’s well past time that stopped.  It isn’t compassionate to destroy one’s own nation trying to provide dubious help to others.  Universal birthright citizenship and the resulting “anchor babies” need to go, as does the vast majority of immigration of any kind for the foreseeable future.  When the lifeboat is already leaking and listing as the U.S. is, it’s suicidal to keep adding to the passenger list.

The forgotten Amendment

I’ve written before about the 10th Amendment — an essential but now mostly overlooked part of the Bill of Rights that makes clear where the bulk of authority lies within the federation known as the United States:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

A number of years ago there was a vocal national debate about “unfunded mandates” — Congressional legislation that requires States to fund the activity.  Several States (rightly) considered this encroachment on their State’s sovereign right to spend its tax revenue as it wishes.  The 1990s-era “Contract with America” produced legislation to curb the practice, but in reality it has continued unabated.

But passing laws may not be the costliest burden the Feds impose on the States:

Can states just say “no” to foreign refugees? Tennessee is testing that proposition in federal court.

Tennessee vs. U.S. Department of State is a case every state and taxpayer should watch closely in light of new FAIR research showing per-capita refugee costs running nearly $80,000 over five years.

During the Obama regime, the Federal government dumped tens of thousands of ‘refugees’ across America.  The term ‘refugee’ itself is misleading in this context.  True refugees are expected to return home at some point when the immediate crisis has passed.  But we find that hasn’t really been the case here.  Bringing refugees to the U.S. isn’t even the most cost-effective way to “do something,” as the emotional cry goes.  The Center for Immigration Studies suggests 12 refugees could be supported in countries adjacent to a crisis for what it costs to bring over and sustain ONE in the U.S.

Then there is the issue of what the American people want.  Since World War II, the U.S. has been incredibly generous and compassionate toward others by historical standards.  But even that big heart has limits when the public starts to perceive their leaders putting foreigners ahead of U.S. citizens.  A contributing factor in the election of Donald Trump was increasing resentment of the number of immigrants (legal AND illegal) and ‘refugees’ pouring into America.

It’s good to see the 10th Amendment being cited in a challenge.  But here’s another angle that might not be as obvious: at a time when the ballooning national debt already threatens the contractual obligations the government has to various citizens through programs like Social Security, etc, how much tolerance should there be for the government to spend scarce resources on non-citizens?  As it now stands, the country’s fiscal resources are a zero-sum game (excessive printing of currency notwithstanding); every dollar spent on foreign and refugee aid is a dollar taken from Americans — and largely against their will, as current polls show.

The States are the final bulwark against the Federal Government.  Only acting in concert can they tell Uncle Sam “you’ve exceeded your mandate — get back in your box.”  Here’s hoping the current lawsuit, along with the progress toward a Convention of States, brings that reckoning a little closer.