On Friday, December 12, I attended the Center for Immigration Studies' (CIS) annual Yuletide gathering at its offices here in DC. It gave me the chance to chat informally with so many of the immigration reform movement's heroes. People such as the occasion's genial host, CIS President, Mark Krikorian, NumbersUSA Founder and Executive Director, Roy Beck, and Mike Hethmon, the head of the Immigration Reform Law Institute, just to name a few of our movement's many outstanding leaders—too many of them unsung. (Certainly, our movement's patriarch, John Tanton, must be at the top of any list.)
My conversations with each were, of course, brief. But one theme emerged which has to be understood clearly as we move into a new Congress and Administration. It was perhaps best articulated by Jim Robb, Director of Technology at NumbersUSA. He said: "If we can't win true immigration reform now with economic circumstances are they are at present, we will never win on this issue."
Pretty bald, eh?
Another comment which I found important came from Rosemary Jenks, NumbersUSA's' Director of Government Relations. Like Federation for American Immigration Reform's (FAIR) Executive Director, Julie Kirchner, Rosemary spends quality time talking with Congressional leaders on a regular and often off-the-record basis.
Rosemary sees the extension of E-verify in March, 2009 as a real possibility—because it would give the Obama Administration and the pro-Open Border majority in Congress the political cover to proceed with a possible new "comprehensive immigration reform" bill, a.k.a. amnesty.
This new amnesty would of course allow not only the estimated 12 to 20 million illegal aliens among us now to stay, but likely encourage millions more in a few years.
Steve Camarota, CIS Research Director's estimate of another 135 million alien entries by 2040 comes to mind.
Could passing E-verify give the Open Borders crowd cover for also not finishing the Mexican fence and cutting down on ICE enforcement efforts (which, oddly, picked up in the latter months of the Bush Administration)? Or stopping progress on better drivers' licenses and other personal ID methods for stopping illegal aliens from dipping into our tax-supported services?
And will the exit of the Bush Administration stop the already-launched drive to create a NAFTA superhighway? The proposed highway is part of a broader plan advanced by a quasi-government organization called the "Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America."
The effects of our growing economic depression are already appearing. And, while it may be little read because it was buried on page D8 of the December 16, 2008, Washington Post, a recent report makes one of them clear: "The percentage of Hispanic immigrants who are working or looking for a job in the United States has declined for the first time since 2003, according to a [Pew Hispanic Center] study released yesterday." [Hispanic Immigrants Drop in U.S. Labor Force, by Alejandro Lazo][ VDARE.com note: The actual study is called Latino Workers in the Ongoing Recession: 2007 to 2008, by Rakesh Kochhar, Associate Director for Research, Pew Hispanic Center, December 15, 2008 (PDF). We'd just like to remind potential donors that the Washington Post, for all its money and influence, doesn't bother to tell you things like that, let alone link to them, but we do it every day. ]
In its usual politically correct style, the Post piece refrains from using terms like "illegal aliens", referring instead to "Latino" or "Hispanic" immigrants.
The drop is actually minuscule. The article reports "The Pew Center said it found a small but significant decline in the share of Hispanic immigrants active in the US labor force." The percentage decline at the end of the third quarter of Hispanics employed or actively looking for work was 71.3 vs 72.4 a year ago. Yes, the first drop since 2003—but not much!
Furthermore, "The number of Hispanic immigrants in the labor force increased 150,000 from the third quarter of 2007 to the third quarter of 2008. But that growth was much smaller than the growth in the working age population of Hispanic immigrants."
Just how that can be headlined a decline is beyond me.
Here's a great example of the way the Post sneaks into happy talk about new arrivals. The Post's December 17th lead story in its Metro Section tells of the arrival of a Sudanese woman (immigration status not reported) who "had traveled from her home in war-torn Sudan to the United States. She was seeking her mother-in-law's blessing of her pregnancy, but now that she was here, she feared there was something wrong—and any trouble would be multiplied by five."
The story entitled Happiness Times Five, [By William Wan, December 17, 2008] goes on to say,
"When physician William Sweeney gave her an ultrasound, it showed all he needed to know: quintuplets at 19 weeks of development.
"If mother and children were to survive, the doctor concluded, they would need all the help they could get. That began 11 weeks of intensive treatment involving more than 30 physicians, nurses and other specialists at the hospital in Annapolis.
"Yesterday, doctors and the woman's family announced the good news. Mother and the five babies, born Dec. 2, were just fine. They were the first quintuplets in the hospital's 106-year history, the first in Maryland in more than three years. And although they will spend the next three weeks in the medical center's neonatal unit, the prognosis is good."
The woman's husband is at home in Sudan in the army, but Wan's article doesn't tell us whether this new mother of five, having just birthed five more automatic US citizens, will return or not. However, the "joy" of the mother and hospital staff is to be fully shared by us taxpayers. To wit:
"Five obstetricians stood by. The doctors made the incision and reached in to remove the babies. The first was Nyantweny, the biggest of the five at 2 pounds, 15 ounces. A boy, Deng, came second, then the rest of his sisters: Nyandeng, Abyei and Athei, who was the smallest at 2 pounds, 2 ounces.
"They were already in great shape. Like many premature babies, they had to be fed milk through a tube, and three of them required humidified air for their first day to support their breathing and open their lungs.
" 'At this point, they just need to grow and thrive,' neonatologist Suzanne Rindfleisch said at yesterday's briefing.
" 'I keep telling my daughter, "This is God's work. This is a miracle,'" ' Abyei said. She was able to tell the babies' father and grandfather in Sudan about the births."
Now here's the really interesting part:
"The family does not have health insurance. [My emphasis] It typically costs $1,150 a day for a baby in the intensive care unit. Hospital officials, who declined yesterday to put a final price tag on the weeks of treatment and the choreographed births, said they would work with the family on payment and absorb some of the cost if necessary.
So that's OK then! Back to the important news:
"As for the quintuplets, after a few more weeks, once they can feed on their own and maintain body temperature, they will be ready to go home, although it remains unclear where that home ultimately will be.
"In the short term, Malual has told her doctors that she intends to stay with her family in Prince George's for a few weeks.
" 'They're absolutely part of the family at the hospital now,' said nursing director Misa Ewin. 'It'll be sad to see them go.'"
You said, "Ouch?" Meanie!
Both legal and illegal immigration to this country are so far out of control that perhaps only a really serious depression will lead us to real immigration control and effective immigration reform legislation.
And into a real long downturn is where, in my view, we are headed. Then the Congress and the Administration will be forced to fix this—or get voted out of office en masse.
Jim Robb is right: if we can't fix it now, America will be swamped, and only in a few years.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.