Answering 13 Frequently Asked Questions About Illegal Immigration

1) How many illegal aliens are there in the United States? Since they’re not here legally, there’s no way to do a precise count. Most estimates are in the 10-12 million range, but some people believe as few as 8 million illegal immigrants are here and others think the count may go as high as 20 million plus.

2) How do the American people feel about illegal immigration? Time and time again, across numerous polls, the American people have expressed displeasure with our lax border security and illegal immigration. Here’s some info on some of the more recent polling data from a column written yesterday by Tony Blankley:

(A) Gallup Poll (March 27) finds 80 percent of the public wants the federal government to get tougher on illegal immigration. A Quinnipiac University Poll (March 3) finds 62 percent oppose making it easier for illegals to become citizens (72 percent in that poll don’t even want illegals to be permitted to have driver’s licenses). Time Magazine’s recent poll (Jan. 24-26) found 75 percent favor “major penalties” on employers of illegals, 70 percent believe illegals increase the likelihood of terrorism and 57 percent would use military force at the Mexican-American border.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (March 10-13) found 59 percent opposing a guest-worker proposal, and 71 percent would more likely vote for a congressional candidate who would tighten immigration controls.

An IQ Research poll (March 10) found 92 percent saying that securing the U.S. border should be a top priority of the White House and Congress.

Unquestionably, the American people see illegal immigration as a problem and want the borders to be secured.

3) So, if the American people oppose illegal immigration, why does Congress seem so reluctant to do anything about it? The Democrats look at illegal aliens as an easy way to pad their vote totals. Because Hispanics tend to vote for Democrats in disproportionate numbers, 10 million illegal immigrants could translate into a net gain of 2-3 million potential voters for the Democrats once they become US citizens.

Republicans tend to be hesitant to crack down on illegal immigration because they fear alienating Hispanic immigrants and because the members of the business community who make money by hiring illegal aliens, funnel part of their ill gotten gains into Republican (and to a lesser extent, Democratic) coffers.

This leads to a situation where many Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill talk tough about illegal immigration and border security in order to placate the voters, but in actuality, they work hard to keep the flow of illegal aliens from being cut off.

Here’s Mark Krikorian giving some examples of how our lawmakers often work behind-the-scenes to thwart our immigration laws:

In ninety eight, the border patrol noticed that the work force picking onions in the vidalia onion fields of Georgia appeared increasingly to be illegals, so they did some raids, arrested a few dozen illegal aliens, and all the rest of them ran off. So the farmers were there stuck with onions in the ground and no one to pull them out. It was all their own fault, they knew what they were doing, but nonetheless, they were outraged. They called their Congressmen, and by the end of the week, three of Georgia’s Congressmen and both Senators, Republicans and Democrats, wrote a joint letter to the Attorney General demanding that the Immigration Service stop enforcing the law. Because they said the INS does not understand the needs of American farmers. Which in ordinary English means, “let them pick the onions, then arrest them. Preferably before we have to pay them”. Well, the INS got slapped down and stopped.

So what they tried as an alternative to raids, was something called Operation Vanguard in Nebraska. It was sort of the first effort at something like this to see if it worked. They didn’t do raids anywhere, all they did was subpoena personnel records. And they didn’t just pick one or two employers, they did all the meatpacking plants in all of Nebraska, so that no one of them would be inconvenienced while the others benefitted. They took the personnel records back to the office, checked the Social Security numbers, and came back with a list of people who seemed to be illegal, who did not have authorization to work. They said “we know some of these people are legit and the records are wrong. We want to fix those people’s records and the ones that are illegal, have to leave of course”. They came back with four thousand names. One thousand people showed up and got their records fixed and three thousand were never heard from again. They were illegal aliens. It worked really well and it was intended to be repeated every two to three months so as to wean the whole industry off of the use of illegal aliens.

After one effort like this, the political and business elite in Nebraska went insane. The ranchers and the meat packers teamed up with the governor. The governor’s predecessor, now Senator Nelson, was hired as a lobbyist to put an end to this initiative. Senator Chuck Hagel made it essentially his mission in life to see that this was never repeated and it wasn’t. And the Senior INS official who thought it up in the first place was invited to retire early — and he did. If you’re a bureaucrat and you have kids in college, you’re going to take the hint: Congress doesn’t want you to enforce the law. So the Immigration Service essentially gave up enforcing the immigration laws inside the country. They focused on the important, but narrow, issues of criminal aliens and smugglers. I’m all for that, criminal aliens and alien smugglers are the scum of the earth, but there’s a lot more to the issue than just that. But, going after those parts of the issue doesn’t get you in trouble politically. So that’s what they did, they gave up because Congress told them to stop doing their jobs. They really haven’t changed that much (since) 9/11.

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