When Napoleon invaded Russia, his Grand Army consisted of about 500,000 men—the largest invading army Europe had ever seen. No one doubts that was an “invasion.” Happily for Russia, the Czar’s army (and the winter) drove them out in a few months. The United States has endured a much greater invasion—with over 11 million “undocumented immigrants” now living in the U.S.[i] Obviously the Czar was far better at defending his nation’s borders than U.S. Presidents have been.
To put 11 million in context—the population of Scotland is 5.2 million[ii] and of Norway around 4.8 million.[iii] So, if the entire populations of Scotland and Norway were to move to the U.S. (and enter illegally?), it would be less in total than the number of illegal immigrants we have already admitted. It is undeniable that the federal government is a miserable failure at protecting our borders.
How many illegal immigrants should we admit? Many illegals are here to escape crime, corruption and an utter lack of economic opportunity in their native countries. They have come here to work hard, contribute, and to provide for their families. Many take jobs that might not get done if employers had to pay the higher wages required to hire citizens. We admire many of the same traits in illegal immigrants that we honor in our own ancestors who immigrated here legally. Unfortunately, we also must acknowledge that some are here to prey upon U.S. citizens and to further the growth of crime and the horrendous illegal drug industry. They are dangerous enemies by any definition.
If our charitable attitudes towards illegal immigrants continue to dominate, then the influx of illegals will be overwhelming. The per capita share of Gross Domestic Product in Nicaragua is $3,000. It is not surprising they want to get to the U.S., where the same per capita number is $47,200. If our goal is to help the truly needy by letting them enter the U.S. without controls and without undergoing the vetting and trouble of becoming citizens, then we should be admitting the 10 million people of Somalia, where the per capita GDP number is $600 and where they have suffered with no functioning government for decades. Or what about the 187 million people in Pakistan, where the per capita share of GDP is $2,500.[iv] Most of the populations of Nicaragua, Somalia and Pakistan would move to the U.S. if they could.
If all of the citizens of other countries could fulfill their great desire to move to the U.S., the U.S. would cease to be the country it is. As noted in an earlier post, when people from New England came to this continent, they created a New England. They carried with them the desire for religious freedom, the respect for law, the tradition of functioning representative government, an independent judiciary and many other traits that have made America what it is. Many of these traits and institutions have never existed in the countries where illegal immigrants are coming from. The legal process of becoming a citizen is intended to prepare immigrants to be part of this nation, both culturally and politically. Admitting millions who have not gone through that process, and in some cases have no desire to do so, dilutes the America we hope to preserve. Uncontrolled immigration will destroy it.
Our nation, defined by the U.S. Constitution, has a specific purpose:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
This language means that we—that is, “ourselves and our posterity”—are the intended recipients of the blessings of living here, not anyone else. If we do not control immigration then that most basic goal of our Constitution will become impossible to fulfill. How can a president and Congress, sworn to uphold the Constitution, pretend they are doing so when we have virtually open borders?
Transporting illegals into the U.S. is a major business. One recent article reported that migrant sympathizers, many linked to the Roman Catholic or other churches, ease the way [for Central American’s travelling to the Rio Grande] with a string of shelters along the length of Mexico, usually close to the rails or the border itself. “We are an oasis for the migrants,” said Guevara, the priest who helps administer the shelter in Tultitlan. “The problem is there are so many of them.”[v]
There will continue to be “so many of them” —endlessly—if we don’t close the border. Once it is closed, we can be as charitable as we choose to be in providing a path to citizenship to those willing and able to become true American citizens. But closing the border and controlling who enters is the essential pre-requisite.