The driving forces behind three decades of de facto non-enforcement of federal immigration law were largely the interests of elites across the political spectrum.
Employers in agriculture, construction, the hospitality industry, landscaping, and food processing wanted access to cheap, industrious foreign national laborers. So do the well-off households of the American Southwest, whose current aristocratic reliance on immigrant nannies, housekeepers, gardeners, and handymen rivals something out of Downton Abbey. Such facts were why Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers were known once to have patrolled the border to keep out illegal aliens and thus not depress wages of American workers and thereby ruin their own efforts at unionization. Large employers like open borders; entry-level and poor American workers obviously do not.
Identity politics elites are the other advocates of open borders.
...There are other mythologies about illegal immigration. Many who favor open borders are either helped economically by the influxes or avoid in the concrete the ramifications of their own ideology. A community like Silicon Valley is emblematic of the hypocrisy: the louder wealthy elites call for border relaxation and amnesties, the more likely they are to yank their children out of public schools that border the Redwood City or San Jose areas, which are struggling with second-language students, gangs, and the usual problems of adjustment arising from hundreds of thousands migrating from an impoverished central Mexico to barrios bordering an affluent Menlo Park or Palo Alto. California’s expenditures on infrastructure as a percentage of its yearly budget have dived, as medical, law enforcement, legal, educational, and social welfare expenses have soared—a phenomenon that falls largely on the middle classes through higher state taxes and reduced services.
...Illegal immigration, embraced by liberals and many affluent conservatives, is illiberal to the core. Take away the ethnic, economical, and political self-interests of our elites, and illegal immigration is mostly about ethnic chauvinism (La Raza is a fossilized racial rubric first given currency by Francisco Franco in fascist Spain), the exploitation of cheap labor, higher taxation on the middle class to pay for the social costs of labor for the well off, and a callous indifference shown the unemployed and low-wage American worker. The solution is to close the border, enforce existing laws, remove immigration policy from the political arena, and adopt a generous, legal immigration protocol that in ethnically blind fashion evaluates all potential immigrants on meritocratic criteria such as education and work skills.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Elites, amnesty, illegal immigration, and hypocrisy
Why do we have lax enforcement of federal immigration law? Victor Davis Hanson knows: