and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Barbara's Column
March #2

Current immigration rate simply not sustainable
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Just before it became a major issue here, Jim Braude asked me on New England Cable News what I thought of illegal immigration.

I was startled by the question and said the first thing that came to my mind: "What part of illegal doesn't everyone understand?"

I recall that Jim was in turn startled by my response, as if it didn't make sense to him. Since then, many other people have asked that question, which Jim last week termed idiotic.

This could just be a case of the usual misunderstanding between liberals and conservatives, who speak different languages and operate from different basic principles. But almost everyone I know gets the point of the question "What part of illegal don't you understand?"

At least one conservative, however, President George W. Bush, does not seem to get it at all. What is going on here?

The federal government finally woke up and recently raided a New Bedford company that was hiring, and allegedly abusing, illegal immigrants. Some of them were taken out of state and separated from their children, in preparation for being sent back to their countries of origin. Now we have to listen to the professional liberals bemoaning the inhumanity of rounding up the illegals.

There was a time when most of us would have felt terrible, or at least sad, for these people and their children. But after having our concerns about uncontrolled immigration ignored; after being forced to pay for services for the illegals; after hearing from people who had to wait for treatment in emergency rooms, regardless of how much they've paid in health insurance premiums, while illegals get free care first - many of us do not care.

Americans have welcomed legal immigrants, who have melted happily together in the pot for centuries. But then our government decided to abuse our generosity and sense of fairness. Legal and illegal immigrants alike began complaining about our "racism" and increasing their demands for taxpayer assistance. Now many of us hear the sad stories about illegal immigrants being sent home, and we do not care -- because we see the big picture.

This event changes the message that goes out to other countries, which has been "Jump the line, come here illegally, lie, cheat and steal from American taxpayers, and you may eventually get amnesty despite those taxpayers' outrage."

Now it is, "Come here illegally, and you risk being raided, cuffed, separated from your children and deported."

Liberals are complaining that the factory owners were charged and set free while the illegals had to stay in jail. Yes, that is one of the advantages of being an American citizen - you have rights. I hope the owners will be properly convicted, pay huge fines and lose their opulent lifestyles.

Bottom line, though: The fault lies not with the businesses who try to function with no help from clear government enforcement mechanisms, or with the poor people who want a better life for their families; it lies with a government that has allowed, encouraged and even abetted this.

The debate over illegal immigration is not just about the usual liberal entitlements, or conservatives' defense of businesses that want cheap labor, or labor unions and politicians counting future votes. This issue is about our survival as a nation.

There has been a lecture circulating on the Web by Roy Beck of Numbers U.S.A Education and Research. He shows his audience charts of our past immigration patterns, with projected increases, all of which are manageable. Then he shows the charts of what is actually happening, the steeply ascending numbers of the U.S. population into the near future. As the numbers double, so does the need for roads, housing and schools, not to mention the dire environmental consequences of a fast-growing population.

Though sticking mainly to the indisputable numbers, Mr. Beck takes a moment to address the concerns for the many third-world people who want to come here. He said that while 25 percent of recent immigrants were from our neighbor to the south, there are 4.6 billion people living in nations more impoverished than Mexico. Then he shows us a gumball, which represents a million of them - or the number coming into this country each year. Then he drops it into a rounded glass, labeled the U.S.A.

Next he brings out a huge jar filled with gumballs, representing the 4.6 billion. He moves a few more gumballs to the U.S.A.

But then he brings out another glass, containing gumballs representing the new births in those impoverished nations. And he pours them into the huge jar, which then overflows all over the stage. And he points out the obvious: We cannot take them all. The gumballs must stay in their own countries.

Perhaps, Beck says, we as a nation can assist them with some of their problems, but we can't bring them here.

Birth control comes to my mind, but gee, there in the middle of this immigration conversation is my former religion, the one that says birth control is a sin and good Catholics must support more immigration. Two questions for the Catholic Church and our national politicians: How many gumballs can fit into the Vatican and Washington D.C.; and, what part of illegal don't you understand?

Prepare to be stunned by:
By Ron Beck

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and Eagle Tribune, and often in the Newburyport Times, Gloucester Times, and Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the Providence (RI) Journal and other newspapers.