Michael Pollan said: “I think perfect objectivity is an unrealistic goal; fairness, however, is not.” Fairness is a strange beast; it casts a shadow over every policy debate in Washington these days. Marriage fairness, economic fairness, taxation fairness, and social fairness all loom large in our society. But there is a perception that fairness equals getting what you want, all the time. It is a perception that sows discontent and creates numerous problems. Life isn’t fair; we all know that. However, there is one issue that, in my mind, demands a sense of fairness about it: illegal immigration.
Immigration reform has been pushed for quite some time now, and with recent developments in the Senate’s “Gang of 8,” the fight over amnesty is coming to a head. What it all comes down to is one question: should those who have broken the law by coming here illegally, be not only allowed to stay here, but also granted citizenship? That is the main question that divides Liberal and Conservative thought.
However, there are even more important questions to be asked:
1. Will granting amnesty to illegal residents cause harm to our already fragile economy?
2. Will granting amnesty add an undue financial burden on US taxpayers?
3. Is it fair to grant legal status to those who came here by breaking our laws, while those who have waited patiently are still on the other side of the border?
In regard to the potential harm to our economy, and the burden on taxpayers, I think the answer is clear. Our economy will suffer. According to Jim DeMint:
“Because of the tremendous growth in our welfare state over the past few decades, adding millions into the fold of government assistance would make the costs of amnesty far larger than anyone imagines. And at a time of trillion-dollar deficits and $17tn in debt, the cost of such a bill should be of tremendous concern.”
The Heritage Foundation, lead by DeMint, is making the claim that illegal residents who become legal will add somewhere between $4 trillion – $5 trillion to our national debt over the course of their lives.
In addition to this, the cost of Obamacare would jump significantly if 11 million new residents became legalized. Many illegal immigrants are low-skill workers who would likely rely on government assistance, as do many low-skill workers already living in this country. This reliance on assistance would serve to damage our economy and surely lead to higher taxes in order to pay for that damage. Obama is already gung-ho about taxing the rich; imagine if he had yet another reason to do so.
In regard to fairness. I do not think it is fair that our immigration system is broken. I do believe that we need a total revamp of the immigration process, leading to a more streamlined and efficient process. Thousands of people are patiently waiting to get into the United States legally, while millions have broken the laws of our country to live here, and reap the benefits of the American society, and economy. It is absolutely unfair.
That is the Conservative perspective–for the most part. However, on the Liberal side of the aisle, the conversation is radically different. There are those on the Left who truly believe that granting amnesty to illegal immigrants would benefit our country. Those people are what we call “dim bulbs.” The real agenda is votes.
The Democrats know that those living here illegally—once granted amnesty—will want to support those who gave them legal status. They also know that low-skill workers, who may rely heavily on government assistance, will not want that assistance to end. These two factors combine to essentially hand 11 million free votes over to the Democrats. If that should happen, Conservatives will never again win a Presidential election.
The “Gang of 8,” lead by several prominent Republicans has crafted something potentially dangerous. But above all else; above the toll on our economy, the burden on healthcare and American taxpayers; amnesty for illegal residents is simply not fair. We are a country that prides ourselves on the ability to pursue happiness; but how can we hold any pride if we willingly create an environment that aids lawbreakers, and punishes those abiding by the law? We cannot.