Opinion

The rush to amnesty: Five reasons to slow down

Photo of Jim Robb
Jim Robb
Vice President of Operations, NumbersUSA

The November election results frightened Republican leaders. They were especially spooked by the number of Hispanic votes they didn’t get. Accordingly, many prominent Republicans are saying that “comprehensive immigration reform” is inevitable and should be passed right away.

In other words, they’re calling for a massive amnesty. But these GOP leaders are as wrong as wrong can be. Amnesty won’t solve any of the GOP’s problems and will create several new ones.

Here are the top five reasons Republicans should reject amnesty.

Reason 1: Amnesty will not stop or slow down illegal immigration.

Sometimes amnesties make sense. For example, in the 1970s American draft dodgers who had fled to Canada rather than fight in Vietnam were given blanket amnesty. The war was over and it was time to repair the damage. Nobody else was going to be crossing the Canadian border for that reason.

But giving amnesty to America’s 12 million illegal aliens doesn’t make sense. Although the recession slowed border crossings way down a few years ago, illegal immigration is increasing again now that the construction industry is recovering. The number of illegal aliens in this country will soon increase to 13, then 14, then 15 million. Giving them amnesty will only encourage more illegal immigration. Why? Because people in other nations will see (again!) that America will give amnesty to anyone who can get into the U.S. and stay here for a few years.

Reason 2: Amnesty will be extremely expensive.

Some Republicans think that amnesty would be good politics. But what will happen when voters realize that legal immigrants cost much more than illegal immigrants? When illegal aliens are legalized, they’ll be able to qualify for Medicaid, food stamps, rent subsidies, Medicare, Social Security, etc. We’re talking thousands of dollars per legalized person per year. And they’re already paying any taxes they’re going to pay. With the federal government running $1 trillion annual deficits, is this the time to be making millions of additional people eligible for social welfare payments?

Reason 3: American citizens need those jobs.

Twenty million Americans do not have full-time work but would like to have it. They’re having a hard enough time as it is. We shouldn’t force them to compete for jobs with 12 million newly amnestied immigrants.

Reason 4: We still haven’t put in place enforcement measures.

Shouldn’t we solve the illegal immigration problem before we reward illegal aliens and encourage more illegal immigration? There’s so much we can do. We can start by building a proper border fence along the immigrant traveling routes. (The fence we have now is too spotty to be a serious deterrent.) We should fully fund and implement the entry-exit system for airports. Forty percent of illegal aliens come in legally but overstay their visas. Because Congress hasn’t funded the entry-exit system, authorities have no way to know which foreign visitors depart on time, or at all. And Congress should make the excellent E-Verify system mandatory for all employees. Why shouldn’t we know who is presenting forged Social Security documents to gain their jobs? This is all E-Verify does, but doing this one simple thing will significantly reduce the number of illegal aliens working for U.S. employers.

Reason 5: The new citizens will not vote Republican.

Speaker Boehner and other Republicans seem anxious to increase the GOP’s share of the Hispanic vote. They think they can do that by passing an amnesty bill. But research shows that Hispanics who qualify for amnesty vote overwhelmingly Democratic. Amnesty will benefit Democrats at the polls, not Republicans.

Jim Robb is the vice president of operations for NumbersUSA.