Immigration Policy and the Rule of Law
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November 20, 2007

Aren’t the establishment and enforcement of the rule of law fundamental requirements for the success of any group of human beings, from nations to neighborhoods, country clubs to mafia syndicates, and churches to families? If any of these organizations allows individuals or other groups to blatantly disregard their established laws, how long can it last and how can it account for this to its law-abiding members? How can there even be a debate whether it is acceptable for foreigners to enter our country illegally, or whether those who already have done so deserve amnesty?


Is it OK for a stranger to break into your home, just because he thinks you are better off than he is? Even if this intruder has no intention but to take a slice of bread from your pantry for his own sustenance, this is not an acceptable action. Just think of the security implications for your family in this scenario.


Let’s take this a step further. Suppose a stranger broke into your home and just tidied up the place. Even if this interloper’s actions were wholly benevolent, would this not also raise significant concerns for your family’s security? If this happened to you, would you then just leave your doors unlocked at night so maybe someone would show up and wash the laundry, prepare dinner, or take out the garbage?


In my family leadership role, I reserve the right to establish and enforce my laws for acceptable behavior for anyone on my property. I base them on Judeo-Christian values and prevailing federal and local laws and customs. I also reserve the right to use my judgment whether, or the extent to which, I will prosecute anyone who violates these laws. As a practical person, I would likely not prosecute the individual stranger who took a slice of bread or tidied up my house; however, you can bet your bottom peso I would change the locks on my doors and review the overall security posture of my home following these events.


I understand the plight of those who have less than I have, both foreigners and fellow citizens. A fair portion of the taxes I pay are earmarked to help them, and I am happy to provide additional assistance using my after-tax income—as I see fit. However, I am not willing to forfeit what little security my country provides me using a large portion of my taxes.


Let’s face the facts here. Our enforcement of laws already on the books, and disputed by none in our society, is pretty pathetic. I was recently a victim of identity theft. Some criminal stole personal information on me, applied for credit cards, and siphoned off $1,100 from my bank savings account to pay cell phone and electricity bills. I was able to learn the name and address of the individual who did it. I had to close out all of my bank and credit card accounts, apply for reimbursement of the money stolen, and file my first-ever police report. The cop who took the report dutifully listened to my story and told me there is nothing that can be done about it. There are so many cases of identity theft that all the law enforcement community can do is go through the bureaucratic, administrative process of filing the report. I said I may go to the address of the criminal and have a talk with him myself. The cop said if I did that, she would probably have to arrest me. Is that justice?


Never mind the feeling of being violated by a stranger or the ineffectiveness of the law enforcement response. I eventually got my money back—but not my time. Afterward, I started thinking about the real cost of this whole episode.


As taxpayers, we pay for everything that our government does, and commercial businesses recover their costs for products and services in the prices they charge us as consumers, or they go out of business. I took up a few hours of the cop’s time, which I estimate cost about $200[1], and many hours of time from credit card company and bank staff, which I estimate at $700. Also, somebody had to come up with the $1,100 that got restored to my savings account. Of course, the numerous hours I spent dealing with this were provided free of charge to anyone. So, this episode cost our society $2,000 in real money, and the crook that stole my identity is still at large. That is a really bad deal—$2,000 for nothing.


I can understand that crooks outnumber cops and that bad guys get away with crimes sometimes. I cannot accept that we as a society just give up on the enforcement of our laws. Far worse than this is any consideration that we change our laws to account for our failure to enforce them. I don’t think anyone is proposing that identity theft be legalized, but I am hearing serious talk about pardons for illegal aliens, whose very first act on America soil was to violate federal immigration law. There is a legal process for foreigners to enter our country and join our society, and I insist that they use it. If it needs revision, we have a legal process for that too.


No summary of this topic would be complete without addressing the vexing argument that without these illegal alien workers, our entire economy would collapse. Can you think of a more ridiculous assertion? Doesn’t that imply that we need a pseudo-slave class of workers to make our domestic economy work? I say the price of a Big Mac can increase ten percent without toppling our society and Americans can pay more to have their houses painted by actual American citizens. By the way, did the price of the Big Mac drop when we started using this pseudo-slave class of workers? I don’t think so. Lastly, if and when these illegal aliens get their citizenship, do you think they will still accept pseudo-slave wages? I don’t think so.


I wonder what would happen if 20,000,000 American citizens decided to not pay their income taxes. Would the federal government consider repealing the 16th amendment to the constitution and pardoning those who violated the current law of the land? I don’t think so.


I have one final note for the readers of this ForthRightView. I have nothing against the U.S. Hispanic community or any other ethnic group inside or outside the borders of our country. In fact my wife of 25 years and the mother of my children is a first-generation U.S. citizen of Hispanic extraction. Also, I do not think Mexicans can only work in the fast food service industry or as house painters. I use these examples to make my point only because I see them everyday and I think readers can identify with them.

[1] Consider the lost opportunity cost here. The cop could have been thwarting the commission of a crime during these hours spent on my little identity theft problem.