No Leniency for Illegal Aliens

The protests in some cities by thousands of illegal aliens are a stunning reminder of how shameless the lawless have become. It is bad enough that they came illegally and have no right to be here, but imagine their audacity to demand rights! What is even more troubling is that there are politicians who will kowtow to such brazen displays of impudence.

The protests are against the strict immigration bill that the House of Representatives passed last December. The bill, “Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005,” has a myriad of measures against illegal immigration. It would, among other things, build a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, authorize local police to arrest illegal aliens, and make illegal presence a felony.

Needless to say, such a bill is sorely needed to address America’s immigration crisis. Nevertheless, as the Senate debates immigration, it is clear that if some senators have their way, anarchy will not be too far away.

As a legal immigrant and naturalized American, I have earned the right to condemn illegal immigration. I got my green card by following the rules and waiting in line for years, and I view illegal aliens as line-jumpers who respect neither the law nor other immigrants. By coming illegally, their very first act in this country was to break the law. To legalize such people is to reward lawless behavior.

But liberal Democrats and a few so-called moderate Republicans are ready to surrender to illegal aliens by enacting an amnesty. They may call it a guest-worker plan, but any plan that legalizes those who came here illegally is an amnesty. It makes no sense to say we should legalize illegal aliens because they are here already. That is defeatism at its worst. By that standard, a burglar who breaks into your house, because he is already in your house, should now be treated as a guest!

Amnesties for illegal aliens have never worked. Consider what happened the last time, when the Congress amnestied illegal aliens in 1986. For that amnesty, politicians and pro-immigration groups bamboozled the public into believing that there were perhaps no more than 300,000 illegal aliens. Eventually, 10 times that number — 3 million illegal aliens — got green cards under that amnesty.

The 1986 amnesty, designed mainly for Third World illegal aliens (mostly from Mexico and Central America), was a huge slap in the face to legal immigrants, including Third World legal immigrants. A Third World immigrant, I was here at that time on a temporary visa and badly needed a green card, since a green card allowed you to live here permanently and work for any employer. But, because I had come here legally, I was not eligible, and had to wait at the back of the line. Illegal aliens who could not speak a word of English were in the front of the line.

Back then, Americans were told it was a one-time leniency and that strict enforcement would follow. Twenty years later, today we have more than 10 million illegal aliens. And we are still waiting for strict enforcement.

Among today’s most ardent supporters of another amnesty are those who got green cards under the 1986 amnesty and are now citizens with full political rights. If you think today’s pro-amnesty groups are formidable, just imagine the enormous political and cultural consequences of legalizing ten million or more law-breakers.

Once they are legalized, they will indubitably use their political rights to further degrade immigration laws. Before long, immigration laws will cease to exist. And we will end up in a society where the lawless will dominate the lawful.

Anyone who doubts such a scenario is one who has turned a blind eye to the audacity of protests by illegal aliens.

In any case, a frequent refrain of amnesty supporters is that illegal aliens do the dirty jobs that nobody wants to do. Balderdash. Who did these jobs before the illegal aliens came? It was legal immigrants and Americans. What has happened is that illegal aliens have undercut wages so much that nobody else can afford to work at those wages. And if the illegal aliens leave, those jobs will once again pay a reasonable wage because employers will be forced to hire legal immigrants and Americans.

Some shameless critics make the ludicrous claim that whites who oppose illegal aliens do so out of racism. As a brown-skinned immigrant, I contend there is nothing wrong in requiring legal conduct from anyone. Rather, if there is racism on this issue, the guilty parties are amnesty-supporting whites, for it is they who seem to think that nonwhite immigrants are incapable of obeying the law and should not be held to high standards of conduct. How can such a low expectation be construed as anything but a bigoted condescension? After all, if nonwhite immigrants are held to high standards, then why not expect them to come legally?

Illegal immigration is not an irreversible problem. With strict, no-nonsense enforcement, we can send the illegal aliens back without having to deport every one of them. By relentless prosecution of employers of illegal aliens, and by requiring proof of legal presence before granting public services, illegal aliens will find themselves in trouble at every turn. Eventually, they will leave on their own. After all, it is a universal fact that law-breakers avoid places where the law is enforced.

Remember, the 10 million illegal aliens now here did not come overnight. They came over ten or twenty years. With strict enforcement, they will leave over ten or so years. It is like draining a bathtub — it sometimes takes about as long to drain it as it took to fill up.

As the Senate debates immigration, we the voters should decry proposals that offer leniency to illegal aliens. It was leniency that produced the 1986 amnesty and brought us the illegal immigration crisis of today.

We should not let them fool us again.