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The Civic Cost Of Illegal Immigration

Article author: 
Victor Davis Hanson
Article publisher: 
Hoover Institution
Article date: 
April 8, 2017
Article category: 
Immigration Impact
Medium
Article Body: 

... In the abstract, open-borders advocates argue that in a globalized culture, borders are becoming reactionary and artificial constructs. They should not interrupt more natural ebbs and flows of migrant populations.

More concretely, an array of vested interests sees advantage in dismantling the border: employers in hospitality, construction, food processing, and agriculture prefer hard-working low-wage immigrants, whose social needs are often subsidized by the government and who are reluctant to organize for higher wages.

The Democratic Party welcomes in impoverished immigrants from Latin America and Mexico. It hopes to provide generous social welfare assistance and thereby shepherd new arrivals and their offspring into the salad bowl of victimization and identity politics—and thereby change the electoral map of key states from red to blue.

La Raza [The Race] activists see unchecked illegal immigration as useful in maintaining a large pool of unassimilated and poor foreign nationals who look to group leaders, thereby ensuring the continuance of what has become an industry of ethnic activism and careerism.

Mexico—which is now offering advice to illegal immigrants on how best to avoid U.S. federal immigration authorities—has the most to gain by porous borders. It envisions the United States as a relief valve destination to export its own poor and desperate rather than to have them agitate and demand costly social services from Mexico City.

Mexico enjoys some $25 billion in annual remittances, predicated on the unspoken assumption that its poor and hard-working expatriates can only afford to send such vast sums out of the United States through the magnanimity of the American social welfare system that helps subsidize families to free up hard-earned cash...

Yet lost in this conundrum are the pernicious effects of illegal immigration on the idea of citizenship in a consensual society...

The first pillar of citizenship is the idea that the nation-state has the sole right to create and control its own borders. The duty of all Western constitutions, dating back to those of the Greek city-states, was to protect their own citizens within clearly defined and defensible borders...

A second pillar of citizenship is the sanctity of the law...

The sanctity of the entire legal system in a republic rests on two important corollaries: citizens cannot pick and choose which laws they obey—either on the grounds that some are deemed bothersome and not in their own self-interest, or on the pretext that they are minor and their violation does not impair society at large...

Second, the immigrant himself adopts a mindset that obeying the law is unimportant. Currently among illegal aliens, there is an epidemic of identity theft, forged government affidavits, and the use of fake social security numbers...

In truth, illegal aliens lose respect for their hosts, concluding that if Americans do not care to enforce their own laws, foreign nationals need not abide by them either...

Illegal immigration insidiously erodes such equality under the law. When millions of foreign nationals reside illegally in the United States, a myriad of laws must be enforced unequally to perpetuate the initial transgression...