Conservatives & Immigration
There was a post by Val Prieto over at Babalu Blog that caught my eye and I wanted to respond to it in a little more depth….
“Message for Michele Malkin
The election is over. Our guy won. What does it matter that Hispanics voted 44% or 40% or 35% for Bush?
Is it just Hispanics you dislike so much or all immigrants in general?
Get over it already. It’s getting old.”
Of course, I can’t speak for Michelle — although my guess is that she would say something similar — but here’s what I wrote in the comments section of that post,
“It matters because if republicans think they can add a 9% greater share of the Hispanic vote by pandering to illegal aliens, they may continue to do so. If they got nothing for their pandering, they will cease doing so which would make a lot of Republicans very happy…”
However, that in and of itself doesn’t completely answer the question.
The reality is that most of us conservatives who rail against illegal immigration are not “anti-immigrant”. In fact, off the top of my head, I don’t even know of any conservatives who are truly hostile to legal immigrants who’ve come to our country seeking a better way of life for themselves and their families. Moreover, it personally makes absolutely no difference to me whether someone’s ancestors came over on the Mayflower or whether they became a citizen yesterday. An American is an American is an American.
However, that whole “American is an American is an American” thing cuts both ways. Someone who’s “not an American is not an American is not an American”. So there is all the difference in the world between someone who is already an American citizen and someone who isn’t.
That’s why for example, my sympathy level for illegal immigrants is practically nil. They’re criminals by definition, they use our hospitals, our schools, they fill up our prisons, & they shirk their taxes. I don’t want people like that here and I support just about any legal measure that comes down the pike that will get rid of them. Any foreigners who hold our laws in contempt are not welcome in this country as far as I am concerned.
Then there’s legal immigration. Put simply, I see no moral or ethical issues with setting a limit on the number of people we allow to become American citizens based solely on our country’s needs and wants. After all, every country’s first duty is to the people who are already its citizens, not to foreigners who want to become citizens. So if we reduce the number of foreigners we allow to become citizens from a million plus to say 300,000 or so, I see absolutely no problem with that.
So given that we can’t control our own borders, we can’t keep track of illegals who are working for American companies, we have Mexican officials openly saying they want to use Mexican immigrants to influence our political system, we have enormous blocks of Spanish speaking immigrants who don’t seem to be assimilating, various European countries are having enormous difficulties assimilating their Muslim populations and we have reason to be concerned about that same issue here, we’re in a war on terrorism and we’re taking in large numbers of immigrants — legal and illegal — from terrorist supporting countries, etc, etc, etc…..
…It’s just time to put the brakes on, drastically cut back on the number of people we’re allowing to become American citizens, go after illegals, and then fix our broken system. Then in five to ten years, when we have a system that works, we can come back and decide if we want to up the numbers of people we’re going to allow to become American citizens again.
It’s not about “dislike of Hispanics” or hatred, it’s about acknowledging that the way we handle immigration isn’t working and trying to use common sense to fix the problem instead of pretending it doesn’t exist.