Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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More Spin on Immigration

The lead editorial in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, "Immigration (Spin) Control," uses all the rhetorical tricks normally associated with the far left in its continuing assault on those who seek enforcement of our immigration laws: Straw man argument, definitional legerdemain, playing fast and loose with statistics, mischaracterizations, false accusations, and outright lies. So who’s doing the "spin" here?



Only from its myopic perch in Manhattan could the WSJ editorial board subscribe to the view that Senator John Campbell won the California special congressional election to replace Chris Cox "in a walk." The district is one of the most solidly republican in the state, and State Senator John Campbell, a popular elected official (and a good man, too) was the party’s only candidate on Tuesday, yet he managed only 45% of the vote in a district with a 65%/35% major party registration advantage (and better than 50% Republican registration overall, even including the nearly 20% "Declined to State" number). And he received a smaller percentage of the vote in the run-off than he had received in the primary election, in which he faced 11 other republicans. Jim Gilchrist, on the other hand, running as a minor-party candidate (and not an enviable minor party at that) went from 14.8% in the primary to 25% in the run-off election, despite his party’s 1.8% registration in the district. In other words, Gilchrist drew almost all of the votes that had gone to other republicans in the primary.



Worse, calling Jim Gilchrist a "restrictionist", and falsely accusing those who supported him as being anti-immigration (rather than anti-illegal immigration, a big difference) is beneath the editorial pages of the WSJ. Using the double speak of the left is likewise. "Law-abiding businesses that happen to hire illegals"--that would make the businesses not law-abiding in most folks’ definition--is as bad as the left’s use of "undocumented" as a euphemism for illegal. And it is simply false to assert, as the WSJ does, that these businesses can’t tell the difference "between real and fake immigration documents." As surely even the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal knows, that ignorance (if it ever existed at all) lasts only as long as employers’ first quarterly filings of withholding taxes, because they receive a letter from the government notifying them that the Social Security number does not match the employee’s name. "As if anyone could tell the difference" indeed.



"But we need the labor," pleads the WSJ, and the only way to get it is via immigration. If true, then lets raise the quotas for legal immigration and streamline the process. Why is it that the WSJ is not pushing for such an easy legislative fix? My guess: legal immigration labor would not be much different than citizen labor; same wages, same workplace rules, same withholding taxes, even the same resort to the tort system. The only way to get the financial bang from immigrant labor that the WSJ seems to want is to have a slavish pool of illegal migrant workers. This is starting to bear an uncanny resemblance to John C. Calhoun’s positive good arguments for slavery, and it is making me sick to my stomach. It should make us all sick.



The Los Angeles Times, at least, is accurately reporting the growing movement in Congress to address the problem of illegal immigration. Note, though: Tamar Jacoby, of the Manhattan Institute, continues her utter ignorance of the problem, apparently afflicted by the same Manhattan myopia suffered by the WSJ editorial board. "I have never met a poor person who has his wife walk across the desert at eight months pregnant so they can wait 21 years to be sponsored by their child," she is quoted as saying. Ms. Jacoby: Let’s debate the subject, and let’s hold the debate in San Diego or El Paso. We can begin with a nighttime visit to the border, and you can "meet" some of the poor people you think do not exist. Coming across at a clip of more than 1 million a year, we should not have to wait long before we find 1 (or 100) "with child."

Discussions - 2 Comments

"But we need the labor," pleads the WSJ, and the only way to get it is via immigration. If true, then lets raise the quotas for legal immigration and streamline the process. Why is it that the WSJ is not pushing for such an easy legislative fix? My guess: legal immigration labor would not be much different than citizen labor; same wages, same workplace rules, same withholding taxes, even the same resort to the tort system. The only way to get the financial bang from immigrant labor that the WSJ seems to want is to have a slavish pool of illegal migrant workers. This is starting to bear an uncanny resemblance to John C. Calhoun’s positive good arguments for slavery, and it is making me sick to my stomach. It should make us all sick.

This is an excellent point. For too long we have been faced with the false choice of either failing to enforce the immigration laws, or embracing Fortress America. By all means, let us continue to welcome immigrants, but they should come into the country as most of our ancestors did, through legal channels. I should think that sensible immigration reform--liberalization, combined with strict enforcement of the laws--could be something that people of good faith on both sides of this issue could get behind.

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