by Pedro Gonzales
Anywhere from 11 million to 22 million illegal aliens reside in the United States today. The most recent research suggests that the higher number is closest to the correct figure. In and of itself, that is a crisis.
New arrivals – legal and illegal – come to America all the time. Two-thirds of these, Steven W. Mosher writes, use food stamps and other forms of state-administered assistance, such as public housing, not long after they arrive in the country, leaving Americans with a $116 billion annual tab. Moreover, much of the savings these new arrivals manage to accumulate are sent out of the country as remittances, about $25 billion of which ends up in Mexico.
More people today speak a single non-English language – Spanish – than ever before in American history. For the first time, too, the middle class has registered as a minority in our country – an issue no doubt exacerbated by the importation of droves impoverished foreigners.
That word, “crisis,” however, has become such an overused bit of sophistry among the mindless chattering classes, that it is hard to take it either literally or seriously. When I say mindless, I mean that the chatterers are incapable of seeing the word in a context beyond the blinders of their one-world ideology.
CNN’s Jim Acosta, for example, observed that where there is a border wall, there is no crisis. No kidding – barriers work! But on the same day Acosta should have learned an important lesson about border security, a teen was stabbed in an attack by three MS-13 gang members from his high school in Long Island. All three gang-bangers entered our country illegally – presumably at places where Acosta could not tap his little hand against a steel barrier.
Anjali Singhvi at the New York Times contends that the crisis is overblown because illegal immigration has fallen overall since the 1990s and, in any event, heroin, cocaine, and Chinese fentanyl is often intercepted at official ports of entry. We’re supposed to breathe a collective sigh of relief.
Similarly, NPR’s Richard Gonzales writes that visa overstays account for the presence of more illegal aliens than illegal border crossings. Yet as Karl Notturno noted here the other day, people are still entering the country illegally. More than 300,000 were apprehended crossing the southern border in 2017, for example, and those are only the ones that we caught. How many more made it through to disappear into some sanctuary city or state? And if we were to separate those who overstay visas from those who enter the country illegally through our southern border, might we find a disparity in crime rates between the two?
The fact that fewer foreigners are entering our country illegally is not much basis for claiming no immigration crisis exists – not when thousands of foreigners are still entering the country illegally and millions more live among us.
Moreover, Gonzales’ argument provides justification for more, not less, immigration control. In particular, the federal government should have more effective means of identifying and deporting those who overstay their visas. Is Gonzales therefore advocating more aggressive ICE operations? Of course not. But NPR doesn’t hire for intellectual consistency if that means a departure from the correct ideology.
Perhaps the worst among the immigration sophists is Alex Nowrasteh, whom Singhvi cites, for “comparing first-time criminal conviction rates among undocumented immigrants in Texas and native-born Americans in Texas.” Nowrasteh claims to have “found that undocumented immigrants still committed crimes at a rate “32 percent below that of native-born Americans.”
Nowrasteh came to this conclusion by ignoring data and details that would have challenged his findings. Nowrasteh, moreover, engages in some sleight of hand. If we consider that, in California, for example, the number of U.S.-born children of illegal aliens is twice the entire population of Wyoming, the question becomes, who are those “native-born” criminals?
Of course, Nowrasteh implicitly means white Americans, with whom he seems to have a bone to pick. In truth, he is half-right, native-born Latinos are institutionalized at a higher rate (higher than whites, lower than blacks) than their “undocumented” counterparts. It is, after all, easier to incarcerate people who don’t have the luxury of slipping back across the border to evade capture.
The inanity of all this raises the question: should we postpone discussion of a wall and more muscular immigration controls to some fictional time in the future when levels of immigration reach the entirely subjective “crisis” threshold set by the libertarians and open-borders liberals among us? By then, I’m sure, we could expect them to change the substance of the crisis. It will no longer be that illegal immigration has spiraled out of control – which it has – but that Americans are not more willing to give up their land, their wages, and their way of life to foreigners.
Still, even as Acosta, Gonzales, Singhvi, and Nowrasteh subject us to their incessant and unoriginal appeals to “reason,” we find that illegal aliens – specifically those “Dreamers” that Democrats and Republicans are so determined to protect – harvested thousands of ballots in one of the last Republican strongholds in California; now uniformly blue post-midterms. While much has been said about Russian meddling in our democracy, the same claque is noticeably much less opposed to trusting the integrity of our democratic processes, quite literally, in the hands of foreign nationals.
The Crisis and the Question
Does America belong to Americans? Consult much of the media, academia, clergy, and, yes, our government, and the answer you will likely hear is that America is the common property of all “peoplekind.” Indeed, although illegal aliens are behind the theft of more than 39 million Social Security numbers, the Internal Revenue Service has effectively admitted that it encourages this crime against citizens, by ignoring “notifications from the Social Security Administration that a name does not match a Social Security number.”
If the murderers of Ronald Da Silva and Mollie Tibbetts, to name just two victims, used stolen Social Security cards to avoid detection before claiming their victims, does that make our government complicit in, or at least indifferent to, the murder of its citizens by foreign nationals on American soil? Is not the purpose of government, at a minimum, to safeguard the lives, liberty, and property of its citizens? If not, then we may answer to the negative when Larry P. Arnn asks, “Do We Need Our Country Anymore?” Nowrasteh has already cast his answer, the answer of the globalists, declaring that America is “an economy with a country, not a country with an economy.”
The crisis at the heart of the immigration debate cannot be understood in terms of data and “reason,” which all too often, is manipulated to fit a foregone conclusion: immigration is always good, less is fine, but more is always better. Rather, this is a question of who owns America.
In the original Greek, the word καιρός (crisis) indicates a situation when a decision must be made, and it is derived from the verb that means to judge or decide. In English, crisis has come to mean something like καιρός, what professor Eric C. White defined as “a passing instant when an opening appears which must be driven through with force if success is to be achieved.” The crisis, then, is whether Americans will decide, while there is still time do so, that they need their country to continue existing, and that their government needs to serve them as it was intended to do.
Look beyond the sea of misinformation, the moralizing, the cosmopolitan anti-patriotism, and you will find that immigration is merely an instrument in a larger conflict between those who would prefer to rule us without our consent. In the end, how we answer them will determine the answer that all-important question: Who owns America?
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Pedro Gonzalez is assistant editor of American Greatness and a Mount Vernon Fellow of the Center for American Greatness.