2007 November 06 Tuesday
Froma Harrop: Even Democrats Oppose Illegal Immigration

Froma Harrop argues that Democratic candidates for the presidency need to get tough on illegal immigration.

Hillary Clinton -- and the other Democrats running for president -- couldn't possibly have assumed that they would forever skate around the issue of illegal immigration. That notion came to an end in the most recent debate, when the New York senator badly slipped over a question about her state's controversial plan to issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens. Did she think no one would ask?

Democrats had better start dealing with this. Polls show a large majority of Americans, including Democrats, opposed to illegal immigration. They also find that most Americans favor some sort of amnesty for many illegals. Clinton apparently tried to finesse the two, while ignoring what's behind the numbers.

What many Democrats (and Republicans) don't "get" is that the support for amnesty is highly conditional. It rests on trust that any official pardon will be the last one.

People have been fooled too many times by past amnesties. I see no need for an amnesty. We can just deport all the illegals that are here.

I don't think the leading Democrats are capable of moving right on immigration to an appreciable extent. Hillary's recent obvious support for amnesty ("bring everybody out of the shadows") shows she's not going to come down hard on illegals.

I think itís important to bring everybody out of the shadows. To do the background checks. To deport those who have outstanding warrants or have committed crimes in the United States, and then to say to those who wish to stay here, you have to pay back taxes, you have to pay a fine, you have to learn English, and you have to wait in line. And I hate to see any state being pushed to try to take this into their own hands, because the federal government has failed.

So I know exactly what Governor Spitzerís trying to do and it makes a lot of sense, because heís trying to get people out of the shadows. Heís trying to say, ďO.K., come forward and we will give you this license.Ē

But without a federal policy in effect, people will come forward and they could get picked up by I.C.E. tomorrow. I mean, this canít work state-by-state. It has to be looked at comprehensively. I agreed with President Bush and his efforts to try to approach this. He just didnít have the political capital left by the time he actually got serious about it.

And itís unfortunate that too many people are using this to demagogue the issue, instead of trying to solve it: you know, people in politics, people in the press, and thereís a kind of unholy alliance.

Let me translate "demagogue this issue": That means "demand that illegal aliens be deported and oppose amnesty". Hillary isn't saying that we should build a wall along the entire US-Mexico border. She's not calling for tough enforcement against employers who hire illegals. She's not calling for deportation of the sort that Ike Eisenhower carried out in the 1950s (I like Ike).

What the Democrats have going for them: 7 years of George W. Bush and counting. Rising oil prices. A real estate meltdown. A potential recession starting next year. An unpopular war in Iraq.

What the Democrats have going against them: They are even less willing than the Republicans to obey rising popular demands an end to illegal immigration and reduce legal immigration. They want more tax money to spend.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 November 06 10:29 PM  Immigration Politics

John S Bolton said at November 7, 2007 12:41 AM:

...and more low-income, low-literate clients to spend it on. Nothing like having people in distress who will never send even one e-mail to a politician; power can grow from that.

HellKaiserRyo said at November 10, 2007 12:05 AM:

... deep down inside, I do not see a salutary effect on immigrants on the United States. I am a liberal, however, and I will never public support a pro-immigration policy. But I do believe we have an obligation to help the lest fortunate.

I think I count myself Bell Curve racist, but I promised myself never to engage in that pleonasm about that again. Yes, I do believe Watson's conduct was abominable as one should never talk about that subject.

HellKaiserRyo said at November 10, 2007 12:17 AM:

I meant to say I will never "publically support an anti-immigration policy." To reiterate, one should never discuss that ineffable truth.

But there will be an appropriate time to talk about it; we can talk about it when we can use gene therapy, nootropics, and stem cell research to permenantly extinguish this problem. Talking about it makes it seem so hopeless. Eugenics or advanced technology is the answer to this problem; the former answer only provides primitive (and morally louche) methods. I am not one who will tell poor people to stop having babies, but I am one who wants the government to for designer babies for everyone.

Randall Parker said at November 10, 2007 11:45 AM:


Why don't you think we should discuss racial differences in IQ? Do you see all the effects of such discussions as harmful?

I see the dishonestly of the current situation as very harmful on a number of counts.

First off, if we tell blacks they are as smart as whites and Asians then we are feeding their paranoia and anger. They see they do worse. They are told they are not to blame. So they blame us. How is silence about the truth helpful? It seems destructive.

Then there's immigration policy. We are dumbing down the country. We are lowering our quality of life. We are harmed by not talking about it.

There's also the corrupting effect of the dishonesty on the labor market. Companies have to hire incompetents and punish more competents. We have an effective tax and a drag on the economy due to affirmative action.

Education is also harmed by the lies. Dumber students are sent down paths where they fail. They end up accomplishing less and waste lots of time and money trying to do things they can't do. They spend years in law school and then fail to qualify for the bar. What is the cost of that?

What about policing? Restrictions on racial profiling cause blacks to be more victimized because blacks are so heavily victimized by black criminals. How is this humane? Seems cruel to me.

I really do not think the advocates of lying about race have thought thru the many harmful consequences of the system of lies and taboos which they support.

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