According to the Manhattan Center for Policy Research, Heather Mac Donald is a John M. Olin fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor to City Journal. She also is a recipient of 2005 Bradley Prize for Outstanding Intellectual Achievement. Her credentials are quite impressive and can be checked out at the Manhattan Institute's webpage. She is also a prolific writer of books and articles on the issue of illegal immigration.
The lecture was sponsored by a conservative political group, the David Horowitz Freedom Center. The lecture hall could hold at least 100 but only 25-30 attended. I was shocked. Here's an intellect speaking in her area of expertise-illegal immigration, an area that concerns conservatives in a major way-yet the event is barely attended. Illegal immigration is of such utmost importance that this issue influenced my decision to decline to vote for McCain in this week's Super Tuesday California election.
McDonald's premise is that if you listen hard enough to the public voice of the American people, you'll hear their frustration over the illegal immigration issue. Politicians need to listen to the voice of their constituents or be knocked out of the loop.
Why is illegal immigration so important? Because the demographic of the United States is changing. In the past three years, the number of illegal immigrants in America has reached 12 million. From a 2005 article from the Washington Post we read:
Based on Census Bureau and other government data, the Pew Hispanic Center, a private research group in Washington, estimated the number of undocumented immigrants at 10.3 million as of last March, an increase of 23 percent from the 8.4 million estimate in 2000. More than 50 percent of that growth was attributable to Mexican nationals living illegally in the United States, the report said.
To figure out the number of illegals in this country today, the same article provides us the math:
Pew Hispanic Center Director Roberto Suro said that the number of illegal immigrants continues to grow at the same rate as in the 1990s -- approximately 485,000 a year -- "despite significant efforts by the government to try to restrain the flow . . . at the border."
if we use the figure of 485,000 a year growth rate of illegal migrants, that would bring us two years later at 12 million illegals here in this country.
Who are these illegals? Once more the Washington Post piece provides the answer:
Mexicans remain the largest group of illegal migrants, at 5.9 million or about 57 percent of the March 2004 estimate, the report said. An additional 24 percent or 2.5 million undocumented immigrants are from other Latin American countries. Assuming the flow into the country has not changed since a year ago, the population of undocumented immigrants could number nearly 11 million today, the report said.
Here's another way to look at this according to Heather MacDonald. One in eight U.S. residents is foreign born. That's not a problem. That's 38 million foreign born people in this country. Here's the kicker: one in three of foreign born individuals is here in this country illegally. One in three of the foreign born residents in our country is here illegally. That's serious. If these illegals do not pay taxes, then they are enjoying the benefits of this country without having to pay for it. Who pays for their use of our services such as free medical exams, subsidized prescription drugs or subsidized schools for their children? The taxpayers do.
One young Iraq veteran remarked illegals work hard and should enjoy benefits like everyone else. However, is it fair that this young soldier goes overseas with the intent to protect America and create a secure nation while 12 million residents of the U.S. do not contribute to the defense budget of the U.S. that pays his salary and pays for the weapons that may save his life by their not paying federal income tax. Something is wrong with that kind of thinking.
A major reason why the issue of immigration is so important is that it is a massive assault on the rule of law. By not compelling illegals to become citizens, we're transferring the sovereignty of our country to people, according to MacDonald, who are from outside our borders. The legislature is no longer sovereign. Look at the Hispanic rallies in Spring 2006. Should a politician listen to people who are here illegally when it comes to enforcing the rule of law of the U.S? I don't think so.
Illegals are to be confronted with the rule of this land rather than the rule of this land have to yield to the large number of protesters in the streets of our cities. The self rule of law for illegals is simple: because I am here in the U.S. I have a right to be here." In other words, "we make our own laws. We do not live by the rule of law of the United States of America." No wonder they don't become citizens of the U.S; they do not respect the laws of America. The public is infuriated by this disregard for the rule of law. No matter what laws Congress passes to control our borders, illegals feel they have the right to flaunt their disobedience and indifference to the law.
Heather McDonald refers to an 2004 Los Angeles Times piece demonstrating this flaunting of the law: "After Border Patrol agents arrested a few hundred illegal aliens in southern California cities in 20045, the LA Times ran . . . stories bemoaning the resultant fear among illegal aliens and quoting advocates and politicians blasting the Border Patrol's outrageous behavior." So the behavior of illegals coming into this country illegally is not an issue. The fact they were caught and deported is a bigger issue. Perhaps I should goi out and rob a bank and if I get caught, I can get the LA Times to garner sympathy for me. After all, I robbed the bank because I needed the money and that justifies my ignoring the law against bank robbery!
The rule of law is simple: if you come here illegally, you will face deportation. We should not be ashamed of this law nor should we be afraid to enforce it. The illegal needs to know that deportation is real. But if everytime an illegal is arrested and faces deportation, there are cries of protest from the media, then the illegal knows we are not serious about our laws. There is no need of mass deportations, according to MacDonald. We merely need consistent enforcement of deportation laws. If so, illegals would calculate how wise it is to come to the U.S. through illegal channels, knowing they might be forced to leave.
Many illegals would decide to return home on their own and many fewer would decide to cross our borders. So the answer is not merely more border patrol personnel. Rather, we need enforcement of the laws regarding illegal entrance into our country. The threat of enforcement of the law on this issue must be credible. Right now it isn't.
If Macdonald is right and some polls are correct stating that Americans want to far stricer stance towards illegals than the press does and the politicians, much of our illegal immigration policy would be on its way towards a concrete solution.
Illegal immigration is such a significant issue. A few more postings are necessary to discuss the crime rate connected with the presence of illegals in this country and the false claim of the illegal alien's positive influence on our country's family values.