Sending A Message: The Parental Perspective On Immigration Reform
July 26, 2007, 05:00 AM
A+
|
a-
Print Friendly and PDF

Parents, teachers, psychologists, all understand that you don't reward a behavior you want to stop.

We have all seen well-meaning moms handing Junior a cookie while earnestly intoning that this will be absolutely, positively, the last snack before dinner ever again.

Until the whining begins again tomorrow.

We hold low opinions of such parents. We see proper familial authority undermined. Plus we sense the larger psychological principle: talk is cheap, actions matter more.

So it is in the very adult matter of immigration policy. Just as a child's mind focuses on the essence of the message, a mountain of political theater condenses into one basic perception: amnesty means the foreigners get to stay and keep their ill-gotten gains.

That word, or actually its Spanish equivalent "amnestia", will certainly be headlined throughout Mexico if a "path to citizenship" is revived and pushed through by treasonous politicians at some future time (which is probably closer than we think).

"Comprehensive reform" may be off the table for now. But it will be back. So this is a good time to consider the vital psychological aspects of immigration policy dispassionately.

Elite opinion makers regard illegal immigrants as children anyway, so the parent-child comparison is not misplaced. Indeed, even many immigration patriots say they understand the urge to leave sewers like Mexico and illegally enter America.

Of course, it is arguably racist to have such low standards for Mexicans and similar influxers—to think they cannot recognize the legal authority of borders and national laws like real grownups.

Additionally, a person who violates sovereignty to enter this country is by definition a poor prospect to be a responsible citizen—in the same way that acts of infidelity indicate a poor marriage candidate.

Senator Charles Grassley voted for the 1986 amnesty. This time around, he said he wouldn't make the same mistake again. As he explained: "You know what I found out? If you reward illegality, you get more of it."

This is not rocket science. This is common sense. But common sense ideas are little discussed inside the Beltway, or by the MSM.

Even otherwise intelligent people don't understand.

For example, some immigration patriots have been hopeful about Jim Webb, the former Reagan Navy Secretary who changed parties and was elected to the U.S. Senate from Virginia last year. But even he makes this mistake, telling Lou Dobbs June 7,

"What I'm trying to do is bring reason into the process. I have been saying ever since I decided to run for the Senate last year, we have to gain control of the borders. We have to get corporate accountability, which is very much along the lines of what you just ran in your segment there. And I believe we need to minimize these guest worker programs.

"And at the same time, I believe, that there are a certain number of people here in this country, who have put down roots because of the lax immigration laws over the past 20 years and deserve a path." [emphasis added].

Senator Webb's misguided kindness sends a terrible message: America's leaders will capitulate on borders and sovereignty if certain "humanitarian" criteria are reached.

In contrast, in other areas of law enforcement, criminals are arrested after years of having escaped justice, with no spate of sob stories about their suffering.

As Winston Churchill said in a more clear-cut war, "It's no use saying 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary."

And what is so terrible about getting a free ticket back to the land of one's birth?

In 2004, the San Francisco Chronicle followed a Filipino family as they were lawfully repatriated: Family deported from Bay Area after 19 years explores life in native Philippines. [By Cicero A. Estrella, August 22, 2004] After initial emotional distress, the Cuevases re-established family ties, explored their ethnic roots and pursued the same professional goals they had in the United States.

The Philippines wasn't the ends of the earth at all.

Forget what the enemies of borders have done to a perfectly meaningful word (reform) by reversing its understood definition. What would genuine "immigration reform" look like? What message would it send?

The sine qua non must be a return to the legal process, where would-be immigrants apply for entry and wait their turn in their home countries, as in the previous era. Foreigners still residing in their native lands must believe that it is in their interest to follow the law to immigrate, not to disobey it. Today, obviously, it is more advantageous to break the law and walk right in to an array of rights and services.

To re-establish the rule of law, Washington must reward those who follow the legal process…and punish those who pursue illegal means.

Remember punishment? It an idea that works well to deter criminal behavior.

Lawbreaking foreigners must go to the end of the line, behind would-be legal immigrants.

And that line starts in the home country, not in the MALDEF office.

Foreigners who have committed felonies by using stolen IDs and fake Social Security numbers must be prosecuted for those serious crimes.

In contrast, the exact strategy not to take is the one pursued in the recent Senate amnesty bill, which would have substantially rewarded illegal behavior.

No court of law would let a thief retain his ill-gotten gains. But the Z Visa proposed in the Senate bill did that and worse, by permitting foreign lawbreakers to keep their American jobs for life.

Employment has always been the prize—not a "path to citizenship" (although the ethnic hucksters and Democrats want the foreigners to be eventual grateful voters). The illegal aliens come for the money and financial benefits of living in a First World country, period.

Washington has painted us into a corner with its decades of nonenforcement. A breach with the permissive past must be definitively made.

The U.S. is in the position of a permissive parent who is trying to re-establish authority after having lost it. If a reinstitution of authority is sought after a period of laxity, then extra-tough punishment must be enacted to prove seriousness. Real resolve is required here.

The problem of politics without psychology, particularly without realism about human nature, is that nothing is learned from experience. I am a Democrat myself, but I have to admit that Democrats, socialists and multiculturalists are the worst. They appear determined, against all reason, to create the perfect multiculturally adept global citizen—similar to what used to be called the New Soviet Man under the Russians.

(That project didn't work out either.)

Even globalist loon Tom Friedman recognizes the primacy of culture to human sanity.

"Few things are more enraging to people than to have their identity or ethnic sense of home stripped away. They will die for it, kill for it, sing for it write poetry for it and novelize about it. Because without a sense of home and belonging, life becomes barren and rootless."

[Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree. p. 27].

The debate about law and borders has been largely played out in the arena of economic and employment concerns. But what Americans really hate is seeing their home turned into Mexifornia via the invasion-by-immigration.

Political correctness has deliberately equated race with culture. Those of us who emphasize the culture line of reasoning are repeatedly smacked around by accusations of racism. But that's no reason to let up. Even MSM voices like CNN's Lou Dobbs, who is scrupulously careful to never say an unkind word about Mexican culture, get endless brickbats from the anti-borders left. As Peter Brimelow said years ago, the modern definition of "racist" is someone who is winning an argument with a liberal (or, nowadays, a Bush Republican).

The truth is that we all prefer to be around others who speak our language, share our values and understand our jokes. Human community is based upon similarities, not differences. Excessive cultural diversity is the reason why Americans in Southern California and other affected regions are fleeing in droves. When corridos replace backyard barbeques, citizens pack up and leave for communities still recognizable as part of the USA.

Keep this fact in mind: the last time America had a serious fight over really cheap labor (aka slavery), it caused a four-year war and the deaths of over 600,000—the Civil War. So those who profit from open borders can be expected to go to any lengths to keep the cheap-labor spigot turned on full bore.

We're trying to save the country here, folks. We must be resolute.

Ask any parent.

Brenda Walker (email her) lives in Northern California and publishes two websites, LimitsToGrowth.org and ImmigrationsHumanCost.org. She occasionally enjoys enchiladas but lately has been rekindling her fondness for good old American-style meatloaf with ketchup.