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Chasing illegal immigrants

My fourth open letter to Mr. Mitt Romney on immigration

Dear Mr. Romney,

We can effectively seal the borders. The Soviet Union did it, so it is doable, likely with the same outcome. We can easily identify most of the illegal immigrants here simply by compiling records already available to the government: social security, tax numbers issued to illegal immigrants by the IRS, bank records, and school registries. Then, get them deported on short notice. Stalin was able to arrange forced relocations of millions of people, so we know that it can be done.  We do not do it because: first, it would turn the country into a Soviet-style totalitarian police state. Second, it would hurt the economy. Therefore, the federal Government is almost literally bipolar in its acts on immigration enforcement. On one end it tries to follow the law; on the other, it knows that doing this truly is inhuman, is un-American, and that it hurts the economy.

Most Americans do not see this internal contradiction of our immigration laws. They see illegal immigrants still having jobs when so many are already unemployed. Illegal immigrants became scapegoats for all the frustrations of people with middle class aspirations and minimum wage skills. Many high-pitched demagogues spread the illusion that as soon as illegal immigrants are kicked out, wealth and happiness will spread over the land. These grassroots pressures on local governments resulted in many state or community laws pointed against illegal immigrants. There is a lot of lofty talk around all these local anti-immigration laws.  The bottom line is that illegal immigrants did not vote in our immigration laws, which contradict our best economic interest, which are against our fundamental values, and which cannot be enforced without scarifying both of the above.

When stripped from all of the demagoguery, local laws against illegal immigrants boil down to having police chasing people for willing to work harder and for less than others. In my book, if more people are willing to work for less, more wealth is created. What is wrong with this? Mr. Romney, as a capitalist, please correct me if I am wrong.

The attitude toward the children of illegal immigrants reveals the real motives of most vocal illegal immigration critics. These children, by virtue of being born in the U.S., are automatically U.S. citizens.  These children are the most precious gift America is getting. We can raise them anyway we want so they will be exactly like us. The more of them we have today, the fewer immigrants we will need somewhere down the road. We have to be aware that most vocal supporters of reversing the 14th Amendment do so because, in their view, most children of illegal immigrants do not look like an American should look.

Many illegal immigrants arrived here with young children. These kids spent their formative years in the U.S., and for all practical purposes, they became Americans like the rest of us. Many of them took advantage of the opportunities America offers, but as young adults they struggle with being rejected by the only country they really know and identify with. The Dream Act was intended to help these young people assimilate in America. Vicious opponents of any immigration derailed the Dream Act many times. Mr. Romney, you have voiced strong opposition to the Dream Act as well. Your argument is that some of these young Americans, after legalizing their status, could qualify for government help in getting better education. What is wrong with chipping off some tax dollars to have more Americans better educated?

For your reference, please watch a video presenting an exchange about immigration between the elder George Bush and Ronald Reagan in 1980. It is sad to see how low we have fallen since then. Hence, on the Dream Act issue, I have an old question for you Mr. Romney: “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”

Huffington Post refused to publish this text. Henryk A. Kowalczyk is a long-term blogger at Huffington Post, and letters to Mr. Romey are the only texts that editors of HP ever rejected.

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