Another of the most important issues of the 2016 presidential campaign is immigration. Again, I am not ranking these in order of importance, but the issue of jobs did need to be discussed before the issue of immigration.
So why is immigration so important?
1. Immigration as it now exists is bankrupting our country and destroying our economy. No, not by itself, of course, but combined with what I wrote in Part 1 about jobs. When we made all of our own stuff in this country, as the population increased, so would the demand for these goods. That means that the number of jobs grew as the population grew. And these were well-paying jobs where your spouse could stay home with the kids. But those jobs began disappearing in the 1990s and have continued disappearing ever since.
Our country, however, has been bringing into our country, and just the legal immigrants, more immigrants per year than at almost any time in our nation's history. And this has been almost every year since we started sending jobs out of the country.
This floods the job market for those jobs still here and drives wages down. This also drives more people out of the work force, so that we have the lowest labor participation rates since the recession of the 1970s under President Carter. And that then drives government spending to meet all the social costs of people either out of work or in need of assistance at a time when government revenues are declining. That then drives up the tax rates both personally or corporately, which lowers your standard of living and drives more companies, and jobs, out of the country.
As the role of government increases with these added social expenses, government debt is driven upward. The federal government is now $20 trillion in debt, give or take. A third of that is money borrowed from other countries. We have to borrow money, trillions of dollars, from China and Japan and some other countries.
Personally, I find this outright embarrassing. Do you know anybody who is always asking you for money? What do you think of them? Loser? Stupid? Irresponsible? That's us now. The richest nation in the world, by far, now has to borrow money from other countries to pay its bills. And then we borrow money to pay off those bills. I am ashamed of my country. The leaders of our country, the people who elect and let them stay in office, and the people who either don't know what is going on or who don't speak up and try to bring some sense back to our country.
2. The second reason immigration is so important is that it is so controversial. But then a lot of things are controversial, so how is this issue any different?
Frankly, we have forgotten the purpose of government in our country. One thing that it is not for is for the government to do something and then tell the American people to like it. Our government officials and elected representatives need to have a copy of the beginning of our Constitution printed out and mounted on their desks.
It provides a 6-point checklist for everything they do. And they need to be reminded often that our country fought a war in order to establish this Constitution:
We the People of the United States, 1. in Order to form a more perfect Union...
The first purpose of our government as listed here is to unite or keep our people united. There are controversies where people can live with their differences, but immigration policy in the United States has focused on and favored as diverse as possible immigrant population. Our country is being torn apart by every different group having their own unique needs and wants that can only come at the expense of another group's needs and wants. How is this forming a more perfect union? For most of our nation's history, immigration policy tried to keep the same demographics in our country. For generations now, it has been trying for immigrants most unlike those who have lived here. How is this supposed to be promoting union?
2. ...establish Justice...
Establishing justice in the context of the Constitution was ensuring that the rights of the people as noted in the Bill of Rights as a baseline were protected.
These rights originally were things that people could do without interference from the government. The government has since added new rights of its own, but a different kind of rights, things that people are entitled to at the expense of everyone else.
Our current immigration policies have focused on the needs and perceived rights of people who are not living here over that of those who are. A government exists to take care of its own people. Imagine you hired a manager to take care of your store, and when you went in to see how he was doing, you found he wasn't there but across the street taking care of somebody else's store. You would fire him immediately and hire somebody else.
3. ... ensure domestic Tranquility...
The government has been encouraging, promoting and establishing as many distinct, diverse and competing demographic groups as possible. How is this promoting or ensuring the tranquility of the American people?
4. ...provide for the common defense...
Defending our country isn't just about killing people who want to kill us. The goal of war is usually not to kill people but to change the government of your enemy. Killing people is usually just the way of getting that done. If that could be done peacefully, so much the better. This means that protecting our government from changing in ways that the people either don't want or from changing it in ways that are contrary to the purposes for which it was established is just as much defending our country as sending an army to war.
Our immigration policies have been changing our country for several generations now. The fact that the changes are occurring slowly doesn't make them any less significant or threatening. We have gone from being the richest nation in the world to arguably the poorest, with $20 trillion in debt, having to borrow from other countries to pay our bills. Our nation is being stolen from us and our wealth plundered. We are being defeated without a shot fired or blood being shed.
5. ...promote the general Welfare...
It is the purpose of our government to see that the people of the United States prosper. It is not the role of the United States to try to prosper people who are not of the United States, and particularly when it is at our expense. But is it selfish and un-American to think that way?
The United States has been the most generous nation in the world in helping people. But that was when it was rich. If you squander that wealth through misguided, stupid, deceptive practices and policies, we are no longer in a position to help anyone. It makes no sense to borrow money you can't pay back to give to somebody in need. It may sound noble to some people, but those are the same people who would rather everybody in the world be equally poor as long as the misery was equally shared. Government rulers, I mean employees, exempted, of course.
If you are trying to take care of everybody, you are taking care of nobody. But it is wrong for our government to do things at our expense or against the will or knowing consent of the people and then tell them to like it.
6. ...and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America...
This means, among other things, that our government must pursue policies with the long range in view. You don't spend money now that your children have to pay back later with interest. You don't change things now without asking how this will affect things in the future.
Immigration is forever. The people who come here will have children, and thousands become millions. Yes, they all want a better life, so anything they see here is probably an improvement over what they saw from where they came. That also means they are often quite willing to vote for a lot of things that are contrary to the intended direction of our country because they don't know how our country is supposed to work, plus almost anything is better than what they were used to. If they don't know or learn the values that made our country what it is, that made it the country that they wanted to move to, then they can and will very likely change our country into a country more like the ones they left. It's what they know. Except they can get a lot of free money here, until the money runs out, of course.
So just what is it about immigration that needs to be changed? Everybody talks about comprehensive immigration reform, but they don't tell you what they mean. Any comprehensive government bill means that the bill is too big for anyone to read, a lot of things are in there that you won't like, but of course you won't know they are there until the bill is passed, and a lot of things are in that bill that would never pass on their own. They have to be stuck in a bigger bill where you have to take it all or nothing. This is how the government steals your life and wealth from you with your consent. It creates the illusion that the people actually voted for everything they are getting, that this is the will of the people.
1. Stop illegal immigration. A country has the right and the responsibility to know who wants to enter our country. And with that, of course, is the right of refusal. We have diseases appearing in our country again that had long been eradicated, and now they are back, like tuberculosis and polio. Our government is supposed to protect the people from all enemies, not just those with armies.
How can we protect our people, provide for the common defense, if we don't know who is coming into our country? Are we supposed to assume that every person is an honest, hard-working family man who will only have a positive impact on American life?
When you lock your doors at night, it isn't because most people are criminals, but there are enough out there that you need to be cautious. So too, there are enough people coming into our country illegally that we don't want to come in, for whatever reason, that we need to have safeguards that affect everybody who wants to come in.
We are told we are a nation of immigrants, but we are not being told that immigrants had to meet a number of standards in the past. A government textbook I have from 1949 lists 11 requirements immigrants had to meet to be allowed into our country, including literacy at least in their original language, healthy, normal—as in not crazy or really stupid—good morals (by our standards, not theirs), and not likely to require government assistance.
We have had a problem with illegal immigration on our southern border for at least 40 years. Politicians have promised since the mid-1980s that they would build a wall. If we fully staffed and empowered our border police, a physical wall may not be necessary, but our government does not now have a policy of stopping illegal immigration. So building a wall is not some harebrained idea of a crackpot but a need that has been recognized by both parties for over a generation.
But what should we do about those illegal immigrants who are already here? Yes, they broke the law, but it was a law that we weren't intending on really enforcing, and they knew that. I would offer a six-month period in which they would have to come in and apply for legal status. This, of course, could only begin after the border was secured. If there are too many people to be processed in that time, they would receive a document noting their attempt, and they would be exempt from deportation until they can actually see someone about legalization. Criminals would be deported, and all those still illegal after six months. Those other standards should probably all be reintroduced again. Anyone without a work track record should also go. But what about their families?
If families are so important, then by that reasoning, we should never imprison somebody who has a family. If somebody in a family is deported, they can decide if it is more important for the family to stay together or for some to remain in this country.
Could this lead to citizenship? I have no problem with that, but we need to think again about what citizenship really means. You can't have allegiances to two countries. You also need to speak, read and write English. How can you be an informed, responsible citizen if you can't read an American newspaper, watch the evening news, talk to all your neighbors, read our books and listen to our politicians?
They should also be required to learn about what made America what it is, not just a few facts about the branches of government. They should be required to take and pass a college- or high school-level class on Western Civilization, taught in English, of course. A citizenship loyalty oath to the United States doesn't mean much if a person doesn't understand the essential nature of our country. This oath should also include a commitment to those values.
2. Repair the citizenship process. Birthright citizenship is a very important issue if we have any intention on controlling illegal immigration, and it is also being highly abused. Children of foreign workers and people visiting our country do not automatically become American citizens if they are born here. The American Indian didn't even receive citizenship under birthright citizenship. That required an act of Congress. So why would we think that children who are born to people who are in our country illegally should be considered United States citizens?
The short answer is that one of our two major political parties finds that minorities tend to vote for their party overwhelmingly more than they do for that other political party. Also this makes it harder to deport their parents. You see, in general, residents are leaving states that are controlled by that first mentioned political party. By promoting illegal resident populations, this party is able to maintain its population, which retains the number of Congressional Representatives those states have, but more importantly the number of presidential electors, which helps them in presidential elections.
So one political party wants more people who can be counted on to vote for them, and the other political party is afraid of being called racist for opposing it.
3. Pause immigration until we get the jobs back. Most Western countries are encouraging immigration now because their populations would shrink without getting more people into their countries. Westerners are not having enough children to maintain their population, so the population grows older, and younger people are needed to help pay the social costs for these older people.
But our immigration policy has long prioritized bringing family members of immigrants into our country, but that basically defeats the whole purpose for bringing these immigrants here in the first place. Any benefit of a new taxpayer is generally offset by family members who are more likely to need some form of government assistance or government services, whether public schools or public health services.
We are told that we have always been a nation of immigrants, and as such we should be as open as possible to anyone who wants to come to this country. But then we had jobs for everybody. When we made all of our own stuff, we had jobs for everybody. (See the first article about jobs.) Now we don't even have enough jobs for our own people. So actually, until we can get the jobs back, immigration is hurting us far more than helping us. It is driving wages down, driving people out of the work force, and driving government spending to help people who we think need help. We need a complete moratorium on all immigration, unless the person is a proven entrepreneur or a person with a really needed skill.
Many new immigrants, legal and otherwise, receive government support. We used to refuse immigrants who we thought would need it. This just takes money from everybody else. When people give money willingly to people in need, it is called charity. When this money is taken from some people to give to other people of a politician's choosing, it then becomes an abuse of the public trust, or just plain stealing.
We are told that people just want to come here to get a better life, but what we are not told is that certain politicians want poor, uneducated people to fill our country because anything here is better than what they had, and so they will accept and vote for anything, even if it is contrary to the very principles that America so great and prosperous in the first place.
There needs to be either a pause or a reduction in the number of immigrants coming into our country. Until when? The best answer is: until the jobs come back.
4. Focus on the best and brightest immigrants. We are told that we have a responsibility to help all the poor and refugees in the world, because we are so rich. What they are not telling you is that we are no longer rich. We cannot be rich if we are $20 trillion in debt and we have to borrow money from other countries to pay our bills.
There are between 19–55 million refugees in the world today, depending on who's counting, and most of the rest of the world is living below our standard of living. Should we take them all, or are we allowed to choose between them? Choosing some means rejecting others, so it would be hard to do that today without somebody being up in arms over how we made that choice.
So let me suggest that if we choose the neediest first, then any aid we give to them will be a direct one-to-one transfer of money. We feed them, we clothe them, we house them, and maybe they will get some kind of job that pays enough where we will actually receive some tax dollars from them to offset in some way what we have given to them. Is that a selfish thing to consider? You decide, but it does mean that we are only able to help the least amount of people. There is a limit on how much money we have. In fact, we have none if we have to borrow money to do this, which we do.
If we chose people on the basis on how much these immigrants can contribute to our society, educated people who already know English perhaps with marketable skills and from a culture similar to ours, then their dependence on the wealth of others for survival is limited, and what they can pay into our system in tax dollars is more substantial, which means that we can theoretically help far more people. Our government is already so deeply in debt from being "compassionate," it's at the breaking point. There is compassion, and there is stupidity. You don't give your kid's college money to feed, house and clothe a homeless person.
5. Look after the interests of our own country first if you want to continue having a country that can help people in the first place. We are told we are a nation of immigrants, but that was before multiculturalism and diversity. We used to have a distinctly American culture that we were proud of and that we fully expected immigrants to embrace and assimilate to. But now we don't teach American culture, or at least Western Civilization, and we are told to embrace diversity. They say that diversity enriches us, but they don't say that it unites us, which is what our Constitution prioritizes. And it's not.
We are told we are a nation of immigrants, but we are not told that for most of our nation's history, those immigrants came almost entirely from the same nations of immigrants who founded our country. And that was by design. It was always regarded as wise to maintain the same demographics in our country. It was only recently historically that we were told that diversity is our strength.
Now immigrants come almost entirely from what we used to call Third World countries. And they will make our country more like those countries from which they came and less like the country they wanted to come to in the first place.
Immigration is not a right that people have to move to another country. Houses have doors, and yards have fences, and countries have borders. If you don't want strangers pitching tents in your yard, walking into your house, helping themselves to the food in your refrigerator, then you might understand that countries exist for the general welfare of the people living there. If people are free to enter them without restrictions, then countries cannot ensure the welfare of their people. Immigration exists either to benefit a country or at least to try not to hurt it.
Any attempts to deal or resolve these issues in a manner that puts the interests of our country and its citizens over that of the people who want to come here are being labelled as racism, bigotry, phobias, hate, nativism or nationalism. And those who want to have a commonsense immigration policy will need a better understanding what that entails if they want to withstand that verbal onslaught.
Donald Trump has been criticized for remarks he made about many of the Mexicans who have come into our country illegally, but he is not talking about building a wall because of anything he said about Mexicans. Politicians, Democrats and Republicans have been talking about a wall since 1986, when President Ronald Reagan signed the bill that gave amnesty to several million illegal immigrants for what was called a one-time need, and with the promise that the problem of illegal immigration would be dealt with by Congress.
A lot of people lied, because nobody really had any intention of stopping the flow of illegal immigration from Mexico or building a wall. Even now, all the Republican candidates have talked about the need for a wall. The only question now is who we really think will do it?
I think the candidate who will build the wall is also the only candidate who has even talked about birthright citizenship; Donald Trump.
Larry A. Craig is a pastor and author of the book The Importance of Healing.
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