We conservatives are often derided as anti-immigrant, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Immigration is an important part of a nation’s growth and advancement. Our nation, in particular, is the greatest immigrant nation to ever exist; one of the most outstanding reasons for our greatness has been our open-armed policy toward immigrants.
That’s not to say that immigrants have always had a good time upon their arrival.
Throughout history we’ve experienced waves of discomfort with the “kinds” of people arriving on our shores. Irish Catholics in the mid to late 1800s were so disliked that an entire political party grew around the hope of stopping their arrival (the Know-Nothing Party). The Chinese were welcomed unwelcomingly in the late 1800s as well. The Chinese weren’t liked, but they were needed – how else would we get the cheap (and controllable) labor that would build the western railroads? Nobody was happy about the arrival of Europeans from Southern and Eastern Europe in the early 1900s either. And I’ve simply skipped over the arrival of thousands of Africans who were forced to migrate to our shores in the 1700 and 1800s.
My point is that immigration has always been a hot topic, and as in anything, there has always been disagreement about how to handle it.
As conservatives, our most basic problem with the current discussion on comprehensive immigration reform is two-fold.
First, we have been fighting the war on terror for over a decade, and we know that our intelligence community is extremely worried about how easy it is for illegal aliens to enter our country through our southern border. The thought process is, if poor Latin American migrant workers looking to make money can get into our country so easily – how much easier would it be for a terrorist hell-bent on our destruction to get in the same way? If we are to have immigration reform, we must make our borders more secure. If we are to have immigration reform, we must have a way to ensure that everyone who has arrived without our knowledge is not a danger to our society.
Secondly, we conservatives care a great deal about the rule of law. The most basic flaw in the liberal’s attacks on conservatives as anti-immigrant is that it’s the liberal policies that are actually anti-immigrant. Because of the liberal’s advocacy for illegal aliens, millions of legal applicants cannot gain access to our nation. If liberals really cared about immigration they would fight to stop illegal immigration so that those people who are doing their best to come to America legally could get here. Instead the liberals fight to allow those who have already broken our laws the opportunity to stay here, which means those who have respected our laws get left out in the cold.
Sadly, it seems that the liberals have won the argument on this second point. A recent CNN poll shows that the vast majority of the country believes that there should be a “path to citizenship” for the millions of illegals currently living in the United States. 63% of adults nationwide favor allowing undocumented immigrants to become citizens if they meet certain requirements… Another 14% prefer they become legal residents only…
Most of these folks must not remember that we’ve tried this way before. Back during the Reagan administration we granted relative amnesty to millions of illegals hoping that this would never again be a problem, but here we are some twenty-five years later, worrying about it all over again.
I’m not sure where we went wrong in the debate. It could be that the liberal messaging of conservatives as anti-immigrant was the key, or perhaps we had some bad ideas that we pushed as our best (like building a wall). It was probably some combination of liberal messaging, stupid ideas and the media taking sides that did us in. The question now is, how do we solve our two remaining problems?
Secure the border? Respect the law?
If we welcome 11 million illegal aliens and give them legal residency – doesn’t that embolden more illegal immigration? So more people coming through an unsecured border because they have no respect for our laws? It sounds like a very dangerous combination and a very dangerous precedent we may be about to set.
Amnesty is coming folks – I’m not sure that 23% of us can slow it down.
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