Q&A #72: Why Has Illegal Immigration Gone So Wrong?

by John Hawkins | August 24, 2007 12:55 pm

Question: “I am wondering just how our Government found itself in such a mess with immigration enforcement. They must have believed in these laws once upon a time or why bother to pass them in the first place. They must have thought enforcement necessary at some point or, again, why have the laws they do? Where and how and especially WHY has it gone so wrong?” — jeanie1

Answer: There are 4 key things to keep in mind about the immigration brouhaha.

Worries about the impact of immigrants on the United States aren’t new, nor are they irrational. For example, the Immigration Act of 1924 dramatically limited the number of new immigrants coming to the United States and the laws weren’t significantly changed until the mid-sixties.

Also, our society has changed a lot since the last enormous wave of immigration at the turn of the century.

First off, consider this quote by Milton Friedman,

“It’s just obvious you can’t have free immigration and a welfare state.”


We have a system in place today that allows illegal immigrants to come here, pop out a kid, and live a better lifestyle on the dole than they did in their home countries. Most people resent paying for things like welfare and food stamps for other Americans and so it’s no surprise that very few of us want to fork over our hard earned cash to hand out welfare, food stamps, pay for schooling, medical care, etc., etc., for illegal aliens.

Furthermore, you have to consider that the pressure to assimilate has dropped significantly because of liberalism’s assault on America and multi-culturalism. Instead of people being urged to come here, forget about the old country, and become Americans, they’re being urged to remember their roots and retain their loyalty to the country they left.

Combine all this with the enormous wave of illegal immigrants who speak the same language and you start to see genuine concerns that the “old system” no longer works. There’s a worry that people are taking advantage of the safety net, refusing to assimilate, and that they don’t respect our laws or our country.

Then, just to give a little extra urgency to the whole issue, we had 9/11 and the American people realized how dangerous it could potentially be to have unpatrolled borders.

After all this, we’ve gotten to a point where Americans want control of our borders and we don’t want to be victimized financially, criminally, or otherwise by illegals.

PS: Despite what some people try to imply, there is a world of difference between immigrants and illegal immigrants. It doesn’t make a dime’s worth of difference whether someone’s family came here 200 years ago or yesterday. An American is an American is an American. But, illegals? We would be better off without them.

PS #2: Did that answer your question, jeanie1? Long story short, the changes in modern American living, the welfare state, multiculturalism, & 9/11 in particular have made immigration such a hot issue.

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