Angry New Yorker

Monday, May 02, 2005
Tamar Jacoby & The Wall Street Journal Are Completely Wrong About Immigration

We're not sure why Ms. Jacoby is at the Manhattan Institute. Seriously. We agree with 99% of the Manhattan Institute's views as written about in City Journal, but we've disagreed with Ms. Jacoby on virtually everything she's had to say about immigration in the past five years. With columns like hers in today's NY Daily News, "They Should All Be Legal," available here, she reveals why we think she's a card-carrying member of the "open the borders now" crowd.

She writes, for example, that illegals can hold a job here and do other things,
"[b]ut try to get a driver's license or enroll your kid in college or bargain with your boss or even just take a vacation in your home country - all things that most of the rest of us take for granted - and you will suddenly be reminded: Though Americans are happy to look the other way while you work hard to help grow our economy, we also are determined to punish you for entering the country illegally. "
Excuse me, Ms. Jacoby, but your logic is fatally flawed. Increasingly angry and vocal Americans throughout the country are demanding federal and state governments stop looking the other way, and that the lax border enforcement that's grown up due to liberal hand-wringing and pandering by politicians who can't even bring themselves to verbally separate illegal aliens from "immigrants" come to an end. (See, e.g., Janon Fisher, Killing Leaves Suburbanites Wary of Immigrant Workers, N.Y. Times, May 5, 2005, available here (noting in story about recent rape and murder of Rockland county mother by a suspect described as a "Guatemalan immigrant," that "[t]he crews who ride the trucks and do the work are largely immigrant, some legal and some not" -- leaving one to speculate regarding how many of that "some not" contingent are illegal, a word not found once in the article itself)).

Jacoby goes on to say:
"But it hardly makes sense to deport 11 million people. Just imagine the dragnets and roundups and forced family breakups. It would also devastate the economy, both locally and nationwide. As poll after poll shows, what Americans want is control: a secure, orderly, legal immigration system. But we can't build that new, sound structure on a rotten foundation - so we've got to do something about the illegal immigrants already here."
Here again, Jacoby conflates one goal with another. We certainly want a secure, orderly, legal immigration system. And no one disputes the impossibility of deporting 11 million people -- though frankly a few dragnets and televised dragging of illegals out of apartments wouldn't hurt; however, the need is to send the message to those illegals here and those planning to come here via illegal methods that we're sincere, active and determined to prevent illegals from establishing a U.S. beachhead, or remaining. And you would only need to deport a tiny fraction of that 11 million to forcefully send that message.

Further, we fundamentally disagree with Jacoby that enforcing immigration laws would "devastate the economy" either locally or nationwide, and we've yet to see any empirical evidence from Ms. Jacoby to the contrary. The WSJ's been a constant proponent of open borders and guest worker programs (see Editorial, Immigration Reality Check - The economy intrudes on the restrictionists, Wall St. J., May 3, 2005, available here). Since the majority of illegals cluster in three states - NY, CA, and Texas, are we to believe that the economies of the other 47 have been devastated by the fact that they aren't brimming with illegal aliens? (See previous post, here, arguing "illegal aliens have had a destructive effect on pay levels and our work ethic because they've swept entire job areas into jobs that then become self-defined as jobs that 'only illegal aliens do.'") And even if our economy would be devastated, a point we again strongly dispute, shouldn't that decision be up to the American people?

UPDATE: The suspect in the murder mentioned above, turns out to not be Dennis Herrera, 39? Why? Because the suspect arrested carried a stolen id, and is actually a 29-year old illegal alien. Surprise. He remains the main suspect. More details as they become available. But if we seriously policed, caught and deported illegals would that murdered Rockland county woman be alive today? Albeit purely speculative, but we think it's more likely than not that she'd be alive today if rounding up illegals in Rockland was addressed with the same seriousness that other matters in New York are treated; say, oh, Bloomberg's fetish with smoke-free bars and other politicians' obsession with DWI crackdowns.

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