Are There Two Different Classes Of Illegal Immigrants?

Some food for thought on this Monday morning from the Wall Street Journal

There is a widespread perception of a strong link between immigrants and crime. It is common to hear those who oppose immigration argue that the first act illegal immigrants commit on U.S. soil is to break the law–that is, our immigration laws–and that they are ipso facto criminals who will continue to disregard U.S. laws once in the country. Those making this argument are generally steadfastly opposed to any immigration reform that will provide the 10 million to 12 million illegals already in the country any path to citizenship, on the grounds that such an “amnesty” would reward law-breaking.

The association of immigrants with crime is strengthened by the weekly barrage of news about drug and gang violence in Mexico as the government of Mexican President Felipe Calderón seeks to crack down on that country’s powerful drug mafias. And long before the Mexican drug war, Americans were threatened by Colombian cartels, Salvadoran street gangs, and other criminal groups from Latin America. Moreover, it is perfectly true that the simple fact of being an illegal immigrant induces one to break further laws: One is reluctant to buy mandated auto insurance, pay taxes, or register businesses for fear of deportation.

There is indeed a huge problem of crime originating in Latin America and spilling into the United States. This is almost wholly driven by the enormous demand for drugs from the U.S. There are many things we can and should do to mitigate this problem, but it will persist as long as that demand remains high.

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But the problem of gangs and drug violence should not be confounded with the behavior of the vast majority of illegal immigrants to the U.S., who by and large are seeking the same thing that every immigrant to America has wanted since the time of the Mayflower: to better their condition and that of their families. They are not criminals in the sense of people who make a living by breaking the law. They would be happy to live legally, but they come from societies in which legal rules were never quite extended to them. They are therefore better described as “informal” rather than “illegal.”

The opinion piece by Francis Fukuyama goes on to educate on the difference between the gang members, rapists, robbers, murderers and other really bad people crossing into our country illegally, and describes the conditions most of the “good” illegals suffer under, then goes on to say

A comprehensive immigration reform that provides hardworking illegal immigrants with an ultimate path to citizenship should not be regarded as rewarding criminal behavior. It should be seen as an effort to move people from a dangerous informal system to one characterized by a modern rule of law.

There are several problems with this. First, the amnesty provided in the 80’s (a big mistake by Reagan) simply told others “sure, come on in, we’ll hook you up in the future.” This would do the same.

Second, we all know that when push comes to shove, any tough penalties and requirements for this “pathway to citizenship” will be roundly criticized by the typical pro-illegal folks and others on the left. Waiting periods, fines, a requirement to learn English? Never happen.

Third, the issues with legal immigration, both temporary and for citizenship, were barely touched on during the last round of “comprehensive immigration reform”. Securing the border was an afterthought. Cracking down heavily on people/companies that hire illegals? Missing.

Fourth, the Hispanics created the dislike themselves, bringing the focus on illegals. They come to our country, legally or illegally, and make little attempt to learn our language. They mostly insulate themselves in their own enclaves, create Spanish only stores (try going in one and asking if they speak English, like they come in to our stores), demand that we put everything in Spanish, demonstrate for rights they are not entitled too, demand access to our social services without paying in, and are seemingly unrepentant about it. Imagine had Hispanic illegals come to the country like other immigrants have: worked hard to learn the language and become a part of our country. Contribute. So many waves of others, coming mostly legally, did just that. They were mostly accepted (except by Democrats, who tried to stop them and/or limit them in the early part of the 20th Century). Today’s illegals, and some legals, don’t.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach

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