OCALA, Fla., May 26, 2014 — Illegal immigration is one of the top political issues facing candidates in the November elections. With an enraged pro-amnesty base firmly out of the shadows, unlawful immigration dominates both Democratic and Republican Party politics. House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have both pointed to the importance of the topic, to both support and loathing within their own ranks.
The political discussion rarely hits the heart of the matter, focusing instead on the politics of race. Opposition to amnesty for illegal aliens often perceived as anti-Hispanic bigotry.
“This ‘perception’ is false and pernicious,” says Dr. Stephen Steinlight of the Center for Immigration Studies. “No solid data or body of empirical evidence suggest let alone prove bigotry motivates the great majority that opposes amnesty. It is a smear disseminated by amnesty advocates to advance their cause.
“‘Immigrant advocates’ lack compelling arguments to support their position. By labeling opponents ‘bigots,’ they rationalize refusal to debate them and camouflage fear of responding to opponents’ ideas with a fraudulent moral justification. ‘One Nation, After All,’ an exhaustive study of American attitudes towards Third-Rail issues by Alan Wolfe, finds no evidence that bigotry plays a role in opposition to Hispanic immigration. Americans oppose illegal immigration, not immigrant ethnicity.”
Indeed, standing against amnesty for illegal aliens is a stand for a bright national future.
“For NPG, immigration is strictly about the numbers,” Craig Lewis, the executive director of Negative Population Growth, explained to me last year. “It is not a leading contributor — it is THE leading contributor to our nation’s population growth. Studies have shown that immigration — legal, illegal, and the children born to immigrants — is responsible for 80 percent of U.S. population growth.
“America has an estimated population of over 11 million undocumented immigrants, with some estimates ranging to nearly 20 million. Each year, we permit over one million legal immigrants to arrive. The average immigrant family (regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, religion, or nation of origin) has more children than the average American-born citizen, and the children of those immigrants also tend to have larger families.
“The fact is simple: The United States must slow, halt, and eventually reverse our population growth to preserve an enjoyable quality of life for future generations. To do so, we must reduce our immigration levels.”
There is more to illegal immigration than this, however.
“First, everyone thinks they understand the immigration system because they’re descended from immigrants or know immigrants, or are immigrants themselves, just as everyone thinks they understand the tax system because they’ve been paying and reporting their taxes for years,” says Jan C. Ting, a Temple University professor who served in the George H.W. Bush Administration. “But they don’t. Both systems are immensely more complicated than ordinary citizens believe or understand.
“We have to choose between either enforcing a numerical limit on the number of immigrants we allow every year or, alternatively, having no limit on immigration as was the case in the first century of the republic. It’s a binary choice. There is no third way, such as pretending we have limits, but then not enforcing those limits and instead amnestying violators of the limits whenever they attain a large number.
“I respect proponents of unlimited immigration, which is an intellectually coherent position to take. I do not respect proponents of a ‘third way,’ because keeping limits on the books, but not enforcing them, is intellectually incoherent and expensive beyond our means.
“I personally believe that a democratic society is morally entitled to set and enforce a limit on the number of new immigrants admitted each year. I believe we are threatened with overpopulation that endangers the economic and environmental future of the Americans already here. We already have many millions of Americans looking for work who can’t find any. We face a future of advancing technology and robotics that will reduce the number of needed workers.”