Rick Perry lost me. Hithertofore undecided as far as a Republican primary candidate was concerned (and hoping against hope that Jim DeMint would change his mind and get into the race), I was starting to settle on Perry as my candidate of choice. Then he had to go and make the lame-brained comment that he did a couple of weeks ago during that debate. When asked about the decision by Texas to provide in-state tuition to illegal immigrant college students, Perry defended the decision (which is fine, in and of itself – while I disagree, at least he's not a flip-flopper), but then proceeded to tell those of us out there who value the rule of law and who are disturbed by the fact that there are 20 million plus undocumented foreign nationals in this country in contravention to our laws and national sovereignty, that we're "heartless." We have no heart if we're unwilling to support extending the same kind of privileges and benefits to criminal aliens as we would to law-abiding citizens who actually belong here.
Rick Perry's answer wasn't just wrong on the technical policy point, but was dreadfully wrong because it represents the same sort of emotionalistic, non-thinking attitude that many supporters of illegal immigration take when confronted by opponents on this issue. Instead of simply sticking to explaining his position and trying to rationally justify it, he took the "pretended moral high ground route" designed to silence critics by insinuating bad things about them for opposing the obvious moral purity of his position. In style, if not in substance, his answer was a lot like the more typical charge of "racism" that is thrown around whenever illegal immigration is being discussed. If you oppose illegal immigration – you're a racist. If you support border control – you're a racist. If you oppose giving taxpayer money and benefits to criminal aliens – you're a racist. And so on, ad nauseum.
What Rick Perry essentially did was yield the illegal immigration issue to the Left. He rolled over like a Texas coon hound and agreed to let the Left define the terms of the debate on this issue, which shows a stunning amount of poor judgment on the part of a man who proposes that conservatives and Republicans allow him to be our nominee to take on Obama in 2012. Perry stands on the same ground as the socialists and professional race-mongers who try to make everything about race or "hate."
He's not alone, of course. The Left has managed to dial just about everybody's vision on the issue of illegal immigration down to the very narrow focus of race. This includes not only the Left's useful idiots within their constellation of special interest groups and professional grievance outfits, but also many so-called conservatives on the (broad) Right. The reason for this is, of course, because both of these sides – the Left, as well as the country-club "conservatives" – benefit from illegal immigration in very tangible ways, and they don't want to see their gravy train get stopped by any walls across any borders.
The interest that the Left has in perpetuating the influx of millions of undocumented aliens who are largely, but by no means solely, from poor Latin American countries is electoral, and indeed stems from much the same motivation that leads them to do economically damaging things at a time when the economy is already terribly wounded, as they are doing now. The Left thrives on enlarging the "underclass" – that body of people who have been rendered more or less completely dependent on the Leftists and the government for their provision and sustenance. The more people who can be forced into this underclass, the greater the pool of voters who will view the Leftists, the Democrat Party, and the rest of the apparatus as their "saviors," and who will constantly vote for them. Hence, the current efforts to increase taxes on "the rich," otherwise known as "the people who create jobs." Stopping job creation, destroying individual initiative, increasing unemployment, deepening the current economic woes – these are all things the Left wants to see happen, because these mean more people on the dole, more people forced into a position of taking government money so that they can merely survive, and ultimately more people who become dependent on these handouts, and who become a permanent part of the Democrat Party electoral coalition.
Illegal immigration plays into this ambition. What better way to achieve electoral dominance than to import millions of ready-made "underclass" individuals from among the least-educated, least entrepreneurial, most poverty-stricken strata of foreign societies, who can be held down with artificially low wages, given generous welfare benefits, and then, once they've been prepared, can be legalized through periodic amnesties, so that they can assume their full duties as valued members of the Democrat voting coalition? The Left doesn't really care about the millions of people kept in poverty by the very fact of their immigrating the wrong way. The Left just wants to use them for potential votes.
And Rick Perry's beloved in-state tuition (as well as taxpayer-funded primary and secondary schooling) for the children of illegals helps to make this happen. After all, what better way to establish a contrived justification for keeping millions of criminal lawbreakers here than by arguing that, "well, their kids are going to school here!" Never mind the fact that these kids should be going to school back in whatever countries their families came from. In-state tuition and "free" education serve as ways for working illegal children into our school systems so that the parents can be "anchored" here. Eventually, the argument becomes, "Well, the parents are all here, and we can't send the kids home since we've used so many resources educating them, so we have to give amnesty to them!" The fact that the kids now have an education, and therefore can plausibly pull themselves up out of the underclass, still doesn't hurt the Leftist agenda in the long haul, since you still have the millions of parents trapped in the underclass, plus the children are not likely to vote significantly differently from their parents, against what they (wrongly) perceive to be their parents' best interests. When you need millions more in the underclass to further bolster the voting rolls, you merely import another round of underclass illegals from someplace or another around the world, and start the process over again.
So the question then becomes, "Why do so many on the 'Right' support illegal immigration as well?" Why do you even have ostensible "conservatives" like George W. Bush, Mike Huckabee, and now Rick Perry supporting the "right" of millions of foreign nationals to not only stay in our country illegally, but to access the same sorts of privileges and benefits that American citizens can?
The answer is "crony capitalism."
See, these country-club conservatives support illegal immigration for the same reason they support exporting our manufacturing jobs overseas while hiding behind phony "free trade" arguments – it's "good for business." Globalist Republicans and "conservatives" have no problems with extending free trade zones out to all kinds of countries with whom the American worker has no hope of having an even playing field. After all, how can American workers in manufacturing industries hope to compete with Chinese near-slave labor making pennies on the dollar, no benefits, pulling 12-15 hour days and living onsite in cramped dormitories, working in crowded, unsafe factories that are allowed to discharge their waste into the nearby river untreated, unhindered by all those annoying environmental and OSHA regulations? They can't. Which is why so many of our jobs are moving over there. It's good for business. When you're a company owner, you make a lot more profit when you can use slave labor and dump mercury into the river in China than when you have to pay a competitive wage with benefits, and dispose of your mercury waste in a safe manner in Ohio. So, the laws as crafted by globalists from both parties (remember, both Bush I and Clinton, for example, were responsible for bringing NAFTA to fruition) end up promoting and encouraging the sort of employment drain that we're currently seeing in our vital manufacturing industries. And it's going to only get worse. For instance, I'd be very surprised if the USA still has a meaningful pharmaceutical industry in 20 years, instead of it all going to China and India.
So it goes with illegal immigration. After all, there are some jobs that simply can't be outsourced, or at least very easily, no matter how advantageous the laws make it. We need people here to landscape our lawns cheaply, or to process our meat, or to clean our homes, or to lay our foundations and frame our roofs. These things can't be sent to China to be done with cheap labor, so the cheap labor has to be imported into America. That's where illegal immigration comes into the picture. Millions of people brought in from Third World countries with low wage and benefit expectations and a willingness to work for cash under the table are a picture perfect solution for business owners looking to save some bucks. The elite, whether limousine liberal or country-club conservative, gets its nannies and gardeners and construction workers on the cheap.
"But wait a minute," you might ask me, "aren't you supposed to be a conservative? Aren't you supposed to support businesses and capitalism and profits and all that other stuff?"
Normally, yes. However, this is where the "crony" part comes in.
The situation we have with illegal immigration is that the laws have either been created, or (in the case of vestigial pro-sovereignty laws already on the books) selectively non-enforced, such that "open borders" is the de facto policy position of the United States government, and has been for quite a long time. The government, and even many "conservative" lawmakers, essentially craft and enforce our immigration laws for the benefit of the relative small group of business owners in this country, many of whom heavily contribute campaign funds to these same politicians, who then have a seemingly bottomless pool of cheap, compliant labor to exploit. This is done, meanwhile, to the detriment of the body of citizens in general who have to then deal with the negative side effects of illegal immigration.
Let's face it – there are a ton of detriments to illegal immigration. Not the least, of course, is the fact that illegal immigrants commit much more than their share of crime in this country (not surprising, since you've already had to break the law to get, or stay, here illegally – what are a few more laws while you're at it?). Then there's the fact that large numbers of illegal immigrants avail themselves of our generous welfare and other social spending benefits, made possible by a number of things ranging from fake IDs to leftist bureaucrats who look the other way – it's something of a myth that all illegal immigrants are virtuous, hard-working people looking to do the jobs that Americans won't do. In fact, many of them are just here so that they and their families can mooch off of the US taxpayer. One of the main detriments, of course, is the depression of the wage scale and the enhanced unemployment among US citizens and legal residents that illegal immigration causes. It wasn't at all surprising that 2/3 of the employment growth in Texas that Rick Perry was crowing about a month ago ended up going to immigrant labor. A certainly not the least problem with illegal immigration is the simple fact that it is an affront to American sovereignty and the rule of law, and tolerating it simply undermines these and makes our social system that much more lawless and precarious.
These are all detriments that harm every American citizen, as well as legal residents who are going about the process of living here, and perhaps one day becoming American citizens, the right way. We all suffer when crime is more likely to happen to us. We all are affected when our taxes go up to pay for more people drawing off our welfare system. We all get hurt when our standards of living are driven down because our wage scale is artificially distorted downward, but our cost of living remains high and getting higher.
All of this represents non-business owners being forced to take a hit so that business owners can hire people to work in their meat processing plants for $5/hr with no benefits and few safety precautions. That is crony capitalism – just as much as issuing an executive order that all teenage girls are required to receive a vaccine that just happens to have been manufactured by a company that just happens to have contributed thousands to your re-election campaign. Why is it that conservatives can see the cronyism inherent in the Solyndra or LightSquared scandals, yet can't see it in their own politicians with respect to illegal immigration? What could be more cronyist than making the law preferentially benefit businesses that contribute to you or toward which you are otherwise positively dispositioned, while harming the body of citizens as a whole? After all, isn't that what "crony capitalism" is – making government policy for the benefit of your buddies and supporters in business, while their competitors and other economic actors are detrimentally affected by the artificially-unleveled playing field that official government partiality has created?
It's time for conservatives to get serious about really and truly supporting conservative principles – and if you apologize for illegal immigration, then you are not doing so, at least on this issue, as well as allied issues like "the rule of law." Don't let the globalists – whether on the Left or on the pseudo-Right – scare you with their bogus name-calling. We need to get serious about standing up for true capitalism – the kind that doesn't use the power and policy-making apparatus of government to undermine one group of Americans while allowing another group of Americans to flout the law and destroy our way of life.