No Matter the Conditions on the Ground, Our Foes Want Amnesty Now!

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

December 10, 2011

Last year, at just about this time, the patriotic immigration reform movement was locked in a 24/7, do or die battle against the DREAM Act. The bill had been defeated in Congress only months before and had consistently been rejected for a decade. Yet its proponents stacked the deck to bring the DREAM Act up for another vote during the 2010 lame duck session.

We won but unfortunately, like the proverbial bad penny, the DREAM Act keeps turning up. In October, California governor Jerry Brown signed A.B. 131. As a result, many of our allies will be spending the next week weeks gathering signatures to force the DREAM Act to the place where it should be---on a statewide ballot so voters can decide its fate.

For those of us committed to patriotic immigration reform, Christmas never comes. Time has proven that our guard must always be up. Since the other side relentlessly presses on, we have to have our defense mechanism in place at all times.

According to our opponents, the hour is always right for a “comprehensive immigration reform” amnesty. When they can’t persuade Congress through multiple contrived DREAM Act mainstream media sob stories, then any blip in the news is worth advancing amnesty’s cause.

Take for example the recent report that the net migration from Mexico now stands at or near zero. Douglas Massey, a Princeton University immigration scholar, said his surveys of Mexican residents in immigrant-sending towns found that the number of people making their first trip north had dwindled to near zero. And Mexican census figures show that fewer Mexicans are setting out and many are returning which reinforces the net zero bottom line. [Immigration from Mexico in Fast Retreat, Data Shows, by Ken Ellington, Los Angeles Times, November 15, 2011]

Zero migration gives amnesty supporters cause to claim that since immigration into the United States is no longer increasing, now is the time for amnesty. Those who have not returned home already are unlikely to do so now…or so the Hispanic lobbyists’ argument goes.

This analysis is ludicrous. For one thing, today’s immigration picture is a snapshot in time which does little to offset decades of uninterrupted heavy Mexican immigration.

Even Mexican officials realize that the current zero level won’t last long. In Guanajuato, long one of the country's biggest migrant-sending states, thousands of Mexicans have come back.

However, according to Susana Guerra who heads the state’s migrant affairs office, says that the number returning “hasn’t been massive.” Guerra calls the decline in United States migration a mere "spasm," not a lasting reality.

What amnesty advocates refuse to acknowledge is that immigration is a jobs issue. As long as the United States has sustained, high unemployment levels, talk of amnesty is crazy. And even if the United States returned to what is commonly considered as full employment (5 percent), the border would have to be locked down and internal enforcement rigorously pursued before amnesty could ever be considered.

Even with full employment, sealed borders and routine workplace enforcement, I'll always fight against amnesty because it rewards lawbreakers and spawns more illegal immigration which triggers a never-ending cycle of social and fiscal problems.

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