According To Google, rational is defined as being “based on, or in accordance with reason or logic.”
Republican Senator Jeff Flake, during a recent interview with The Daily Beast, suggested that pro-amnesty Republicans stay away from Iowa in 2016, and that if the Party doesn’t come up with a competent immigration strategy, they will lose the national election:
“Some people skip Iowa. That’s not unheard of. McCain basically did…It’s tough to take positions in Iowa that don’t play as well in New Hampshire…And frankly a lot of Republicans appreciate those who come there and say, I’m sorry, I just don’t agree with Steve King…or other voices on this issue…If we don’t address immigration reform, we’ll find it very difficult, as Republicans, to win national office…We’re a major political party. We’re expected to have a rational approach on these big issues. And on immigration the party as a whole I don’t think has had a very rational approach. But we can’t avoid that now. We’re in charge of the House and the Senate.”
What caught my attention in the above quote is the word “rational.” Senator Flake, who was a “Gang of Eight” cohort, is implying that the solutions offered by conservatives regarding illegal immigration are not rational. He covers himself in generality by saying “the Party as a whole,” rather than saying what he really means: conservatives. Flake, and the rest of the establishment Republicans seem to believe that if they jump on the amnesty bandwagon, they will reap the eventual rewards. They believe that when amnestied illegals eventually gain the right to vote, the Republican Party will snag some of those votes if they too supported amnesty. It’s pathetically naive. Side note: to those who don’t believe amnestied illegals will ever be allowed to vote, I’m holding a candlelight vigil for your missing brains. Whatever the reasoning behind Flake’s support for comprehensive immigration reform–see: amnesty, pathway to citizenship, (insert spin phrase here)–his implication that the solutions offered by conservatives are irrational is outrageous.
Conservative solution: Deport all illegal immigrants. They broke the law, and they should go to the back of the line.
Liberal response: That would be cruel, and moreover, extremely expensive (cue laughter).
Regarding the argument of cruelty, surely certain exceptions would be made in extreme cases. Because of our citizenship laws, anyone born in the United States is automatically a citizen, and as such, there are many alien families in which the parents are illegal, and the children citizens. This is the origin of the liberal meme of families being torn apart, and crying mothers having their infants ripped from their arms while jack-booted ICE agents storm their homes in the dead of night.
There is a means that, despite the apparent lack of compassion behind it, would solve this problem: rather than tear families apart, children would be sent back with their illegal family members. If they are old enough, they could stay, per our citizenship laws. Similarly, if children who were born citizens of the United States, and were deported with their illegal family members were old enough to live on their own, they would be allowed to re-enter the United States, as is their right.
Now, as for the cost. According to Business Insider:
“Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deputy director Kumar Kibble told Congress it costs about $12,500 to deport an undocumented immigrant…However, a 2010 report by Center for American Progress and Rob Paral and Associates…broke down the costs per person for each one of the four stages of deportation process: apprehension, detention, legal proceeding and transportation. The whopping cost of deportation per person that they came up with is $23,480…If [the] US were to undertake a mass deportation campaign its cost over five years would be $285 billion.”
Even if we go with the highest estimate of $285 billion over the course of five years, that amounts to approximately $57 billion annually. Does that sound like a lot? Let’s put that number in perspective. In 2013, the federal government spent $3.5 trillion. According to nationalpriorities.org: “In fiscal year 2015, the government is projected to spend around $3.9 trillion.” Do some number crunching, and the percentage of the 2015 budget that would need to be dedicated to deporting illegal immigrants would be approximately 1.4%.
Senator Tom Coburn has compiled his annual list of asinine and ridiculously wasteful government spending, and for the year 2014, the number of wasted dollars stands at $25 billion. If we use the money being spent on studying why lesbians are obese (yes, a real study funded by the federal government) and use it for mass deportation, the annual cost is slashed to $32 billion. The percentage of the annual budget that would now be devoted to deportations stands at 0.82%.
But let’s take it a step further. If 0.82% of the federal budget is just too much for the Democrats, and Republicans to spend, if it makes them shudder to think of being so wasteful, let’s tally up what full amnesty would cost the United States over the course of a lifetime. According to a new report from The Heritage Foundation:
“Granting amnesty to an estimated 11 million unlawful immigrants will cost taxpayers at least $6.3 trillion…Over the course of their lives, former unlawful immigrants together would receive $9.4 trillion in government benefits and services and pay $3.1 trillion in taxes, for a lifetime “fiscal deficit” – at minimum — of $6.3 trillion (total benefits minus total taxes). The typical unlawful immigrant is 34 years old, has a 10th-grade education, and already receives $14,387 per household in government benefits in excess of taxes paid. After the bill’s ‘interim’ period of about 13 years, when former unlawful immigrants become eligible for welfare and Obamacare subsidies, that ‘fiscal deficit’ would double to $29,500 per household. After amnesty, the typical unlawful immigrant will receive government benefits for 50 years, meaning his household would receive $592,000 more in government benefits during his lifetime than he would pay in taxes. At retirement, he would draw more than $3 in Social Security and Medicare for every dollar he paid in FICA taxes.”
So if 0.82% of the annual budget sounds like a lot, how does $6.3 trillion sound? This is, of course, not even mentioning the negative effects illegal immigration, and amnesty has had, and would have on lower-income black communities, and our economy at large. This is simply a numbers game, and if anti-deportation activists want to play hard ball, I’m all for it.
Now, if Flake wants an even more “rational” idea, let’s talk about the proposal Newt Gingrich made during the 2012 primary cycle. In a November, 2011 article for The Daily Caller, Robert Laurie praised Gingrich’s plan, because it called the bluff of the Democrats:
“His immigration plan calls for our borders to be secured, for gang members and criminal illegals to be deported and for law-abiding, tax-paying illegals to be able to stay. It does not offer illegal immigrants true citizenship, nor would it give them the right to vote. With a few caveats, it’s a brilliant plan. By denying illegal immigrants the right to vote, you acknowledge that they have broken the law by circumventing legal immigration procedures. By allowing them to stay in the country, with their family, you show compassion and take wind from the sails of the pro-illegal political movement. At the same time, you dash the hopes and dreams of cynical Democrats who see amnesty as the ultimate votes-for-citizenship quid pro quo.”
If by “rational,” Senator Flake means “compassionate,” then Gingrich’s plan has it all. It secures the border, deports the criminals, allows the non-criminal illegals to stay (though I hesitate to say non-criminal, because they broke the law coming here in the first place), but it prevents those who are allowed to stay from ever becoming real citizens. This lack of true citizenship would deny them the right to vote. By breaking the law to come here, those who would be allowed to stay would forfeit numerous rights, such as voting. This idea is a best-of-both-worlds strategy, but the Democrats would never go for it because it doesn’t serve their agenda of fundamentally transforming the national voting demographic.
I don’t know what Senator Flake thinks he’s saying when he implies that conservatives don’t have “rational” solutions, but he’s delirious. There are many more reasoned, and logical solutions where these came from, but I suspect Senator Flake isn’t on the hunt for solutions at all, aside from total amnesty, and eventual citizenship. Senator Flake wants what every politician, and every establishment Republican desperately wants: more voters, and thus, more power. Rationality is a lovely mask, though.