This is the fifth of seven articles spanning my discussion with Jo Wideman. The first, second, third, and fourth pieces are available.
Story by Joseph Ford Cotto
After several years on the back burner, serious talk about enforcing immigration law finally returned – thanks to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. With his election, executive-level action was at long last taken.
Do not expect Congress to follow suit, however.
The last time a bipartisan consensus formed on immigration policy was in the then-majority-Democratic U.S. Senate. Unfortunately, it was centered around a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens. Mercifully, this legislation did not get through the Republican-led U.S. House.
Among the GOP ranks, opposition to amnesty has solidified since Trump's victory and the 2014 midterm elections. Not long before Trump launched his bid, House GOPers rejected defense legislation because it would have provided for citizenship should an illegal serve in our military.This move was met with strong criticism, including from center-right voices, which is what made it so commendable. When the rubber met the road, typically spineless politicians chose the more difficult, yet civic-minded, path. "The Honorable" gentlemen and gentlewomen indeed.
Still, kicking the can down the road no longer works. Illegal immigration has grown too vast and far too expensive. The time for legislative action is now, but it must be asked if said action will help or harm the situation.
Before anything else is mentioned, we must realize that the idea of rounding up and deporting illegal aliens en masse is unrealistic. The social consequences of this would surpass imagination, and there simply aren't enough law enforcement officers to do the job.
However, making citizens out of illegal aliens is a plan for abject failure. Not only would unlawful immigration be encouraged, but competition would soar for even the most menial of employment opportunities.
If one thinks it is difficult to build a good career in post-Great Recession America, just wait and see how hard it will be to make ends meet in post-amnesty America.
All too many illegal aliens have minimal interest in assimilating to our country's cultural norms and earn a substantial – yet illicit – salary through public assistance and/or government-funded private charities. Amnesty is not going to bring the average American any fortune whatsoever. Mitt Romney was onto something when he spoke about self-deportation.
Scores of Democrats support amnesty for building a permanent political majority. No small number of Republicans want a first-class seat on the gravy train as well; especially those whose constituents utilize illegal alien labor.
Few people understand this incredibly complex situation as well as Jo Wideman does. She is the executive director of Californians for Population Stabilization, a group which stands at the forefront of productively dealing with America's immigration quagmire.
"Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) works to formulate and advance policies and programs designed to stabilize the population of California, the U.S. and the world at levels which will preserve the environment and a good quality of life for all," its website declares, later mentioning "that CAPS does not advocate blaming immigrants. We don’t blame people from other countries for wanting to come live here. – we strive to meaningfully uphold and nurture the American Dream for people who wants to come to the U.S. through legal channels in numbers that our environment and resources can reasonably accommodate (approximately 300.000 a year). We were founded on and conintue be focused on all aspects of population growth."
Wideman recently spoke with me about many issues relating to American immigration policy. Some of our conversation is included below.
Joseph Ford Cotto: What would you tell right-leaners who [say that America needs mass immigration now more than ever. They say that such a thing will reinvigorate the economy]?
Jo Wideman: To right-leaners CAPS would say that mass immigration threatens our national security, exacerbates ethnic and racial tensions, impairs national cohesion and social harmony, imports millions who end up as wards of the welfare state, boosts Democratic Party ranks, and decreases our freedoms. Its benefits to the economy have been vastly overstated; in fact, the biggest beneficiaries economically are the immigrants themselves.
Economists should be required to take a course in demography. Of course, more people mean more workers means a larger GDP; it does not mean a larger per-capita GDP. Stories on the US economy often say something like “the economy is in good shape as it gained 165,000 jobs last month,” ignoring the fact that the nation’s population grew by 250,000 during that month.The US annual GDP is $18 trillion. Immigration is not a significant driver in either direction. The post-war economic miracles of Germany and Japan occurred without significant immigration. The economies of the Four Tigers—Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan—soared without immigration. China’s economy has boomed without immigration. Economic growth is dependent upon innovation and productivity growth, not mass labor.
Cotto: California is a proud salad bowl, meaning that its people generally reject assimilation for Balkanization along cultural, and effectively ethno-racial, lines. It has seen a degree of immigration which stands out even by post-1965 American standards. Beyond any other factor, how has mass immigration made Californian politics so adversarial and detached from national trends?
Jo Wideman: Red states have become redder and blue states have become bluer. California is an example. The debate about immigration includes a number of hot button issues—jobs, unemployment, race, culture, crime, national security, crowding. Politicians who support massive immigration often engage in demagoguery to appeal to their base, engaging in name-calling rather than discussing the effects of their position.
Each ethnic and racial group in California is out for itself, empty rhetoric about the endless joys and benefits of boundless diversity from the state’s cynical, clueless, or deluded boosters, cheerleaders, and elites notwithstanding. “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,” goes the famous poem by W.B. Yeats. Foisting ever more immigration (“infinite ingress” one writer once called it in the L.A. Times) on their fellow residents and allowing illegal immigration to fester, as feckless California politicians and Silicon Valley billionaires advocate, is a recipe for “loosing mere anarchy upon the world.”
The state is destined to become ever more Balkanized and ever less “American.” Encouraged by globalists and “post-Americans”, multitudes will continue to arrive and impose their own cultural and linguistic hegemony on California and Californians. To challenge the descent to Balkanization is met with the strident denunciations and ever more meaningless epithets of “racism,” “xenophobia,” and “nativism.” The lettuce in the salad bowl metaphor is tainted and the tomatoes are rotten inside. It is not a healthy mix.