Some 11 million to 15 million illegal immigrants are residing in the United States, most after crossing into the country unlawfully. Once a federal law is arbitrarily not enforced, all sorts of bizarre paradoxes arise from that original contradiction. As proof, examine the following illogical policies and contradictions involving illegal immigration.
Take, for example, profiling — the controversial questioning of those who appear likely to be illegal immigrants. Apparently, U.S. border guards have developed criteria for profiling those deemed likely to be unlawful immigrants. Otherwise, how would they have arrested and deported hundreds of thousands in 2009?
Yet apparently, at some arbitrary point distant from the border, those who cross illegally are not supposed to be asked about their immigration status. OK, but exactly why did procedures so radically change at, say, five, 10, 20, or is it 100 miles from the border? A border patrolman often profiles, but a nearby highway patrolman cannot?
The federal government is suing Arizona for the state's efforts to enforce the federal immigration law. The lawsuit claims Arizona is too zealous in enforcing immigration law and encroaching on federal jurisdiction.
But wait — for years, several U.S. cities have declared themselves sanctuary cities. City officials have even bragged that they would not allow their municipalities to enforce federal immigration statutes. So why does Washington sue a state that seeks to enhance federal immigration laws and ignore cities that blatantly try to erode them?
Something is going very wrong in Mexico to prompt more than half a million of its citizens to cross the border illegally each year. Impoverished Mexican nationals variously cite poor economic conditions back home, government corruption, a lack of social services and racism. In other words, it is not just the desirability of the United States but the perceived undesirability of Mexico that explains one of largest mass exoduses in modern history.
But why, then, would Mexican President Felipe Calderón, whose country's conditions are forcing out its citizens, criticize the United States, which is receiving so many of them? And why, for that matter, would many of those illegal immigrants identify, if only symbolically, with the country that made them leave, whether by waving its flag or criticizing the attitudes of the Americans who took them in?
How does Mexico treat the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who seek illegally to cross its southern border with Central America each year? Does Mexico believe in sovereign borders to its south but not to its north?
Is Mexico more or less humane to illegal immigrants than the country it so often faults? Why, exactly, does Mexico believe that nearly a million of its nationals annually have claims on U.S. residency, when Chinese, Indian, European and African would-be immigrants are deemed not to? Is the reason proximity? Past history?
Proponents of open borders have organized May Day rallies, staged boycotts of Arizona, sued in federal and state courts, and sought to portray those who want to enforce federal immigration law as racially insensitive. But about 70 percent of Americans support securing our borders, and support the Arizona law in particular. Are a clear majority of Americans racist, brainwashed or deluded in believing their laws should be enforced? If so, why would immigrants wish to join them?
It is considered liberal to support open borders and reactionary to want to close them. But illegal immigration drives down the hourly wages of the working U.S. poor. Tens of thousands of impoverished people abroad, from Africa to Asia, wait patiently to enter the United States legally, while hundreds of thousands from Latin America do not. How liberal can all that be?
The United States extends housing, food and education subsidies to illegal immigrants in need. But Mexico receives more than $20 billion in U.S. remittances a year — its second-highest source of foreign exchange, and most of it from its nationals living in the United States. Are Americans then subsidizing the Mexican government by extending social services to immigrants, freeing up cash for them to send back home?
These baffling questions are rarely posed, never addressed and often considered politically incorrect. But they will be asked more frequently in the months ahead.
You see, once a law is not considered quite a law, all sorts of even stranger paradoxes follow.
Contact Hanson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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