Why the Leadership of Both Parties Is Lax on Immigration

When then-candidate Donald Trump announced his presidential bid in 2016, he did so with a bang. Right out of the gate, he took on one of the deepest and long-simmering dysfunctions in our republic—illegal immigration.

Never one for subtlety when an opportunity for the dramatic presents itself, Trump used what some found to be incendiary rhetoric referencing Mexicans, drugs, rape, and criminality. Ever since, this important discussion is punctuated by the claim from the Left that “people can’t be illegal,” despite the fact that the term “illegal” refers only to immigration status which can, of course, be illegal. The point of that discussion-ending appeal to emotion is to insinuate that any human arguing against illegal immigration lacks compassion and that the Right rejects our shared and immigration-rich history, is therefore unpatriotic, and that any desire for secure borders is fundamentally based on racism.

This kind of idiocy serves only to anger all parties so that there is rarely any real scrutiny of the illegal immigration reality in this country. The issue is growing worse daily and we need to accept certain facts. First and foremost we must accept that illegal immigration is, in fact, illegal and that this is a problem. People who are not coming here through legal channels are breaking our laws. This is an exercise in the obvious. Our nation, like all nations, has a set of immigration laws that were designed to protect its citizenry from those who would not be additive to our society, might harm our citizens, or don’t demonstrate sufficient potential to be happy here among us.

America is a welcoming land, full of promise. One does not need to be the kind of entrepreneurial soul capable of founding an electric car company, or to serve in our military, or to become an expert in our history to come to America. But if one does come to this country, it is important that he loves it, understands what it represents, and does his best to make it better in whatever way God has made him able.

When an individual, regardless of the circumstances, breaks the immigration laws of this country, his immigrant status is illegal and he is an illegal alien. Calling it something other than illegal denigrates the value and importance of law in our society and, after all, one of the defining aspects of America that made it such a desirable destination for so many immigrants is our respect for the rule of law against the rule of men.

Now we’ve arrived at this point as a country with illegal immigration because of an unholy and bipartisan alliance among certain members within the Republican and Democratic parties that allow and encourage it for their own selfish interests—and to the direct detriment of their fellow party members and countrymen.

We saw this play out with the Tammany Hall machine in the 1800s. That machine harnessed the political power of immigrant votes to build a machine of enormous corruption. It was aided by business interests that viewed the relatively straightforward ease of simple bribery as a welcome and efficient alternative to the messy, slow and red tape-laden effort associated with any legal political effort.

Now, as then, there exists an unholy alliance between the Democratic Party that covets as many Latinos as it can get, as it does in California, to lock down the state politically. Meanwhile, business interests see illegal immigrants as a source of very cheap labor. Why wouldn’t a business owner in Southern California employ dozens of illegal aliens, and do so at far cheaper salaries than he would otherwise be forced to pay a U.S. citizen? Further, if that employee comes with cheaper medical benefits or a lower likelihood of work-related legal suits, then the preference for this labor becomes all the more enticing. Now his natural inclination towards “conservative” ideology; hard work, capitalism, free markets, personal responsibility, may now be softened enough by his love of profit to quietly support Democratic politicians that will help keep this supply of labor abundant and thus cheap all in the name of being a “Moderate Republican.”

Neither side of this equation really cares about what this alliance costs others in their own party. The Democratic politician does not care that this illegal labor degrades the power of one of its strongest supporters—union labor. They don’t care that the burden of millions of illegal aliens on a state safety net system has left even fewer resources for the poorer elements of the Democratic party’s voter base. It’s all about as many new votes as he can get today; to heck with tomorrow.

 And what of the moderate Republican business owner? He doesn’t care that his cheaper labor has undermined his party’s effectiveness statewide. He doesn’t care that the state now has one of the highest tax rates in the country. He doesn’t care that portions of his state are no longer physically recognizable as America. He doesn’t care that the educational system is teetering on destruction. He doesn’t care that the land that allowed him to prosper is being degraded. Why? Because it’s more important that he calls himself a Republican than actually do anything for the long-term success of the ideas that party represents.

He doesn’t care about taxes because he has gamed the tax code such that he now lives in California five months and 28 days, living the rest of his days in Jackson Hole or Austin. He doesn’t care that Santa Ana resembles Tijuana because he has no need to go there. He doesn’t care about the quality of the schools as he sends his kids to a private school and lives in a gated community. He doesn’t care about the degradation of his nation, because he loves to brag about his private jet at the country club that currently employs illegal aliens.

This same old song has continued on for decades, but we are being deeply naïve if we don’t think the music will stop. Mass automation will come. Software will replace the legions of unskilled workers we allowed to flood our nation for crass short-term political and monetary gain. At that time, California will have millions of out of work unskilled laborers. Many will be illegal immigrants. These people cannot be left to starve or you will have open warfare in the streets. Reliance on our safety nets will skyrocket as will the need for the corresponding life-choking taxes to fund the massive welfare state.

Yet our Democratic politician won’t care: he’ll now have a financial services-related job, where he will trade his Rolodex for more graft. The moderate Republican business owner will have sold his company to a private equity firm, which will be in the process of replacing the workers with automation. But the American taxpayer backstopping the now completely overwhelmed social welfare programs? Well, he gets played for the sucker and taxed even more to solve a problem created by the parties laughing all the way to the bank. Welcome to the future.

Photo credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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About Ned Ryun

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter @nedryun.