Just a few short years ago, immigration reform activists were wondering how to get our issue to resonate with the American public.
In the mid-1990s, when my weekly column appeared in The Record (Stockton, CA.), people wrote to ask me why I kept harping on illegal immigration.
"It's not that big of a deal," they claimed.
But, honestly, as I look back I am amazed at how prescient our small group of skeptics was.
The most prominent leaders in the immigration reform movement—I won't list them for fear of omitting someone—have been hammering away since Michelle Malkin, now among the most admired of us, was in junior high school.
We identified nearly twenty years ago the problem that illegal immigration represented. And we knew that, if ignored, illegal immigration would mushroom into the crisis that it has.
But our persistence paid off. Illegal immigration is high on the list of every concerned American. And for those who understand how it is interwoven with our faltering economy and collapsing schools, illegal immigration is the number one social problem—by a wide margin.
Before the immigration reform movement can take the next big step forward, we have to persuade those who are on the fence—that significant block of Americans who are uncomfortable with illegal immigration but who fear charges of racism or who somehow buy into the notion that illegal immigration is a victimless crime.
Fence sitters send me a lot of mail. Over the years, I've accumulated substantial experience in dealing with Doubting Thomases.
I've honed a particular approach toward responding to their concerns that is a blend of key hard facts and pointed questions back to the doubter.
Whether I have convinced anyone or not, I cannot say for certain. But I like to think that I have planted the seeds of doubt.
Here are three FAQs that may help you the next time your pressed to defend yourself.
1. Inquiry: "Why don't people like you have a heart?"
"People like me," I explain, "are fighting for people like you and your family."
The reality is that whether or not the U.S. ever has a sensible immigration policy, my life will remain unchanged.
I'm out of school, at the end of my working career and set in my middle class lifestyle.
But that's not the case for everyone. Are you worried about your kid's education, rising health care costs, the weak job market and urban sprawl?
If so, ask yourself how illegal immigration ties in.
Everyone who comes to the U.S will need either a job or social services. The last time I checked we were short on those two commodities.
Unless you own a business and can profit through worker exploitation, your life will not be made better by continued unchecked immigration.
MY QUESTION: Each nation must nurture its own citizens. Why should the U.S. assume the role of caretaker to the world?
2. Inquiry: "Doesn't our economy need immigrants? They do jobs Americans will not."
You would think that this tedious argument would be out of gas by now. But it isn't.
To all who suggest that no harm is done when aliens take jobs, I refer them to the straightforward and outstanding work done by VDARE.COM's Edwin Rubenstein.
(Rubenstein's work is based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Household Data.)
In November 2004, Rubenstein introduced the VDARE American Worker Displacement Index
Among the VDAWDI findings are that, since January 2001, immigrant job growth (up 14.3 percent) has exceeded non-immigrant job growth (up 0.3 percent) by a factor of more than 45. Immigrants, including illegal aliens, are getting jobs; Americans aren't.
The AFL –CIO says that 14 million Americans want a full-time job and can't find one. Among those 14 million are the officially unemployed, people who have part time jobs but are looking for full-time work and a category of people who recently quit the official unemployment listing because they gave up looking.
My QUESTION: And we need more immigration?
3. Inquiry: "Why can't you understand that they want to make a better life for their families?"
There are several answers to this. One of them: while most illegal immigrants may come to the US in search of a "better life," a significant number pursue criminal paths.
You rarely hear about this in the Establishment media. But (hooray for the internet!) my friend and fellow VDARE.COM editor Brenda Walker hosts an important website, Immigrations Human Cost that features three important subsections: community turmoil, crime victims and importing criminals.
Walker writes in detail about crimes—many unreported—committed by illegal aliens. This is must reading for anyone who really thinks that broken borders don't make it as easy for violent felons as it is for the God-fearing to enter America.
Equally invaluable for those who argue that "family values" must be respected is the website maintained by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.
Listed here are cop killers, gang bangers and other lowlifes who murder in America and then, as Mexican nationals, flee south of the border where they are protected by the Mexican government.
MY QUESTION: If illegal aliens just come to work, why are the jails so full of them?
After twenty years of hard work by the immigration reform community, push has hit shove.
We have a strong and powerful voice in Congress.
In January, U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo stated that at least 180 Congressmen oppose amnesty.
Accusing Bush of being beholden to corporate interests and of "petulance," Tancredo promised "a hell of a battle" on any legislation that smacks of amnesty.
Tancredo's years of effort persuading his once-Politically Correct Congressional colleagues about the pitfalls of immigration should set an example for the rest of us.
For those Americans who are still dozing…WAKE UP!
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.