Richard Nadler is president of the Americas Majority Foundation, a public-policy think tank in Overland Park, Kan. He categorically opposes the mass deportation of illegal immigrants and dismisses the idea that his opposition represents pandering to Latino and business groups and an abandonment of core conservative principles.
I see it differently. The Pro-America conservative movement does not subscribe to the concept of "mass deportation." This is merely a term used by the anti-America movement to inflame the passions of illegals, Hispanics in general, and their fellow travelers. Rather than appealing to reason by discussing the real issues, Nadler and others indulge in egregious hyperbole and ad hominem arguments using the false premise of "mass deportation."
What exactly would "mass deportation" entail? Although there probably have been others, the best example is the forcible deportation or repatriation of 8 million ethnic Germans from the Eastern Territories in 1945-6. Given the war-ravaged state of transportation systems at that time, this was a clear demonstration of the logistic feasibility of mass deportation. Admittedly, this occurred at some cost to the aged and ill, some of whom died when they were enroute to the West in the dead of winter. They were allowed to take with them only what they could put in one suitcase so they suffered terribly from a lack of food and clothing. Modern transportation systems would make such a task much easier but "mass deportation" has no place in present discussions regarding illegal aliens. Moreover, "opposition to amnesty" is not the same as advocacy of "mass deportation" and does not require the sacrifice of the pro-family, right-to-life, free-market, and national-security principles of the conservative movement.
Opposition to any degree of repatriation of illegal aliens is at best pandering to special interest groups of shortsighted, cheap labor businessmen, immigration advocates, and ethnocentric organizations like La Raza. Realists know that there is no possibility of mass deportations. In the first place, it is not necessary to achieve Pro-America's fundamental objectives. If we merely adopt a program of gradual,systematic, and humane repatriation of those individuals who are superfluous to our labor needs, we will be serving our unemployed citizens as well as the national interest and national sovereignty.
During his campaign for the presidency, John McCain said disingenuously, “I’m not going to deport the grandmother of a soldier serving in Iraq.” No one had suggested that but there were plenty of others who should have been repatriated because they had displaced American workers by accepting substandard wages with no benefits. Similarly, referring to illegal aliens, he remarked, “They are all God’s children.” And certainly they are as are all the peoples of the world. Again no one disputed this disingenuous statement but it was totally beside the point. His perfidy on immigration issues lost him some critical votes.
To imply that one cannot be pro-family and in favor of secure borders at the same time is ridiculous on the face of it. To suggest otherwise implies that only illegal aliens without families in the U.S. should be considred for deportation. Any of the illegals who have children would thus be exempt from any further action. Family separation is a construct of the illegals and their supporters. When illegal aliens are deported, they must take their minor children with them regardless of their citizenship. If deportees abandon their children, they would and should be considered guilty of child abuse under the pro-family principle. What parent would do that?
Adult relatives of deportees, if they are citizens, can make their own choices just as others have done in the past when some family members emigrated while others decided to stay in their homeland. Thus, some families chose separation and others did not. It is the choice of adults to return to their homeland with their families or not. Many Americans have cousins in other countries, even today, many years after the great waves of immigration in the 19th and early 20th century. Earlier, many had siblings, aunts, uncles, parents, and cousins who chose not to emigrate or, later, to return or not to return to their homelands.
Many overlook the fact that that vigorous and continuous internal enforcement, based on e-verification, is the sine qua non of border security. Otherwise, illegal aliens will quite properly conclude that once they escape the immediate environs of the border, they will be home free. Or perhaps, following the 1986 amnesty, prospective new illegals must have said to themselves, “In a few years, there will be another amnesty so let’s head Norte.” And they were right, as evidenced by the fact that the one million aliens in 1986 has since grown to 12 million. Somehow amnesty doesn’t seem like a winning strategy if one is sincerely interested in secure borders.
Clearly, we have to create disincentives against future border violations. Amnesty will have just the opposite effect. An escalating schedule of penalties for employers and expeditious repatriation of illegals who are apprehended are the most important disincentives we can create. So let’s require all employers to use e-verification to identify those who do not have legal work status. Then in the next step, require them to re-advertise the jobs held by the illegals at a living wage with a hiring preference for citizen or permanent resident workers. If an employer can present irrefutable evidence that he has made a good faith effort to hire American workers to no avail, the governement should issue green cards to those foreign workers who survive this process, provided they have a clean police record, can pass a background check and a health exam. Finally, the employer must then provide these green card workers with the same prevailing wage and benefits that he provides to his citizen workers. We will soon see how attractive foreign workers are to the employer if the price is the same.
Nadler suggests erroneously that all the Republican losses in the last two Congressional elections were solely the result of the party's stand against illegal aliens and the nonsensical idea that voters have no interest in preserving the America we know and love. Ask them how many are in favor of Mexico Norte as the new name for our country. Ask them if they think an ever expanding population due to liberal immigration policies, amnesties, and tax policies are in the national interest. Ask them if they understand that the “limit” of finite natural resources per capita as population increases without bounds is zero. Ask them how far down that road they want to go. Ask the immigrants and illegals if they understand how unfettered population growth will kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Ask them if they think 300 million people will make the job of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution easier. Ask them if they don’t think the America of today is the same as the America of the 18th, 19th and early 20th century – when the last major immigration wave took place. Ask them if they think population-driven economic growth is sustainable over the long term? Ask them if they think all of the myopic political parties are peddling snake oil.
If some degree of removal of illegal aliens is a wedge issue, it is not so different from other wedge issues that result in pandering, the kind all politicians specialize in -- telling the people what they want to hear. You’d think that Nadler was asleep during the run up to the election when it became clear that the economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were the major factors in the contest. In spite of those extremely adverse conditions and some adept handling of the campaign by Obama and his advisors, McCain, a not altogether popular candidate picked up 60 million votes. The question is if the incumbent had been a Democrat instead of a Republican, ceteris paribus, would the result have been the same, i.e. would the party in power have been turned out of office?
Nadler conveniently overlooks the main factors in the Republican defeat – the economy and two wars. In spite of those major negatives and a totally inept Republican administration that wasted its opportunities when it had control of the White House and the Congress, the election was closer than anyone had reason to expect. The most important lesson to be learned from those years is control of the White House and the Congress is transient and the opportunity should not be wasted. Now that the Democrats are in control, they seem to be making the same mistake with the new $410 billion Omnibus Pork Appropriations bill. This at a time when the public is fed up with the kind of profligate spending in evidence in the previous round of pork in the stimulus bill and the bailouts of the miscreants in Freddie Mac, Fanny Mae, the housing market, Detroit, and Wall Street. Without a check and balance in the White House, those who control the Congress are unable to restrain themselves when it comes to earmarks and pork. Obama, however, lacked the courage to veto the pork bill in spite of his campaign rhetoric to the contrary. Are there no fiscal conservatives left in the Congress?
Nadler is unable to comprehend that "attrition through enforcement" is categorically different from the misnomer “mass deportation.” Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies, makes this distinction: Instead of “roundups,” he would reduce the illegal population through “consistent, comprehensive application of the law — something we have never really attempted.”
Applicable laws would have to be changed radically to achieve Nadler's premise of "mass deportation." However, Krikorian's vision could be achieved with some minor changes in the rules of engagement and the full implementation of the laws already on the books. This would result in the removal of a significant number of illegals and the creation of an incentive for many others to leave voluntarily. The key is to deprive the illegals of any work opportunities.
Nadler again begins with a false premise when he uses the term “enforcement only” enthusiasts. Having a method for meeting employers' legitimate labor needs is central to the Pro-America view. Determining these needs begins with mandatory e-verification of the work status of all employees. Nothing in this picture is more obvious than the need for e-verification. Followed by the other steps noted above we can have our cake and eat it too. We can asssure that there is an adequate foreign labor supply where the need cannot be met with domestic labor. Using the same process we can identify those who are superfluous to our economy and send them home. An escalating schedule of penalties for recalcitrant employers; a reduction in federal detention facilities as detention contractors are rewarded on the basis of throughput rather than detainee-days; a reward system for supportive state, local and municipal governments; a refocusing of ICE resources on those employers with the largest number of e-verification discrepancies; expedited removal of illegal workers; the criminalization of most categories of illegal residence; the criminalization of aiding and abetting illegals; and a fast track immigration procedure for foreign PhD students in math,science, and engineering and applicants with entrepreneurial skills or demonstrated inventiveness.
Removal through “attrition” is a much more benign approach than raids and roundups. Nevertheless, forceful actions by government against illegals, their employers, and/or their sympathizers are necessary to jump start the attrition process. The objective is not to induce fear among the illegals and their employers but to make sure they understand that there will be costs associated with continued violation of the law.
There is no reason whatsoever why the attrition strategy should trigger severe economic and social upheaval. A gradual and systematic approach that solves the labor needs and the illegal alien problem simultaneously would send the same message as the mass roundups Nadler tends to focus on. Krikorian, on the other hand, wrote, “If conservatives were in fact supporting the mass roundup and deportation of 11–12 million people, losing the Hispanic vote would be the least of our problems.” That is a very big "if" which Nadler tends to ignore. It appears that Krikorian knows that "the mass roundup and deportation of 11-12 million people" is not in the cards and is not in the national interest. A much more studied and systematic approach is needed, not an overnight impossible "mass deportation".
It is vital that conservatives articulate the many legitimate reasons why its principles are important to all who value our quality of life and standard of living. Do immigrants really want to re-create here the very conditions they left their homelands to escape -- disease, poverty, crime, and joblessness?