A "Conservative" Statement of Principles on Immigration
The WSJ is subscription-only, but a copy is available here:
[America is a nation of immigrants, heart-warming platitudes, etc. etc...]
Conservatives believe in legal immigration.[related folderol deleted]
Conservatives oppose illegal immigration. We believe there is a right way and a wrong way to immigrate to the United States. However, as conservatives we believe that our laws must reflect reality and common sense, and be both fiscally responsible and avoid the loss of innocent life. Our current immigration laws do not pass this test.
Bzzzt! It's not the laws at fault, it's our current level of enforcement of them. See this for examples. For a quick example: "In San Diego County, only one owner, whose company hired workers for major hotels, has been prosecuted since 2000, and he was given probation. No business has been fined.".
Between 1990 and 2000, the United States increased the number of U.S. Border Patrol Agents from 3,600 to 10,000. During that same period illegal immigration rose by 5.5. million.
What statistic did they forget to include that would give a clear picture of the problem? Oh yeah, the bit about workplace enforcement being sharply down from past years. And, the several amnesties in the past two decades haven't done much good either, as illegal aliens have come here in droves expecting to be rewarded with yet another amnesty.
Moreover, over the past 8 years, more than 2,000 men, women, and children have died attempting to cross into America and seek the opportunity to work and achieve a better life. The status quo is unacceptable and clinging to the status quo - or tougher versions of it - is neither conservative, nor principled. It has become clear that the only viable approach to reform is combining enforcement with additional legal avenues for those who wish to work in our economy, while also addressing the situation of those already here in the United States.
It's unfortunate that those people have died. Perhaps if employers weren't able to employ people regardless of their immigration status, and perhaps if there weren't so many incentives to come here, many fewer would attempt to cross the desert. Most nations - especially those that have been invaded - would be quite grateful for such a natural barrier to invasion.
[Speaking for all conservatives, we support the Bush/Fox Amnesty, etc. etc...]
[We believe strongly in assimilation, etc. etc...]
signed by: Stuart Anderson, Jeff Bell, Linda Chavez, Larry Cirignano, Cesar V. Conda, Francis Fukuyama, Richard Gilder, Hon. Newt Gingrich, Ed Goeas, Tamar Jacoby, Hon. Jack Kemp, Steve Moore, Grover Norquist, Richard W. Rahn, Hon. Malcolm Wallop
UPDATE: The fact that the Other Side always predicates its arguments on omitting key facts makes their conclusions trivially easy to refute.
Perhaps just once someone on the Other Side could say something like, "We realize the laws work. It's just that we can't enforce them. Racist organizations will use the liberal media against us, and the large manufacturers, agbusinesses, and retailers whose teats we suck might dry up the milk. Plus, we like the idea of a serf class."
Fat chance of that happening, but at least it would be intellectually honest.