James Walsh: GOP Immigration Plank Under Attack

Thursday, 06 Sep 2012 07:57 PM

By James Walsh

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James H. Walsh’s Perspective: The editorial board of The Washington Post (WAPO) criticized “The GOP’s muddled message on immigration.”

WAPO reported that “The Republican Party’s incoherence on illegal immigration was on vivid display last week in Tampa, where delegates gathered to draft their party’s official platform.”

The Grand Old Party’s 2012 immigration plank actually is straight forward, as it calls for obeying existing, still-on-the-books, federal immigration law. What is incoherent about that? The rule of law on legal immigration guided the building of this great nation. Outlined by the founding documents, it is what ought to govern the nation today. Harm is being perpetrated by those, including the WAPO editorial board, who excuse the abuse of executive power by a president in full re-election mode.

When reporting on immigration, the news media discounts the impact of illegal aliens on the nation’s education, environment, healthcare, and welfare programs. Editorial board members often rely on what academicians publish or what government and non-governmental agencies report — as long as they conform to the newspaper’s political views. Journalists need to check the methodology and sources of so-called immigration experts.

What does the WAPO board find so offensive in the GOP immigration plank? It reads as mainstream in line with what many U.S. citizens contend — illegal aliens are breaking the law. The United States remains a nation of laws, despite the Obama administration’s habit of bypassing Congress and existing U.S. immigration law. Federal law currently states that immigrants who come to the United States to settle permanently or for a visit must follow U.S. laws; so too must federal agency regulations.

Federal law (8 USC Section 1324) provides that anyone who brings in, transports, harbors, shields, etc., an illegal alien (an immigrant who foregoes inspection) is committing a felony. Federal law (8 USC Section 1325) requires that all persons entering the United States be inspected regarding health, immigration, customs, and agriculture.

Contrary to the WAPO board’s editorial, the GOP is not declaring war on 11 million undocumented immigrants — the actual number is far greater. The lowball 11 million figure is postulated by the U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), immigrant advocates, liberal non-government organizations (NGOs) and think-tanks. Meanwhile, impartial demographers estimate that 20 million to 30 million illegal aliens currently reside in the United States.

The GOP plank complies with existing U.S. immigration law. The section dealing with in-state university tuition comports with the federal law prohibiting “aiding, abetting, and harboring” illegal aliens. So does the section on nationwide use of E-Verify, a program designed to protect national security and job opportunities for U.S. citizens. The plank also states that sanctuary cities and states should be denied federal funding as violators of federal immigration law.

The GOP immigration plank also was castigated by the New York Times, Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times, and even Arizona Republic in a piece by Linda Valdez. Opining that “Bashing immigrants is pretty standard Republican rhetoric,” Valdez supports the DREAM Act and implicitly the recent circumventing of Congress by a DHS Memorandum on “deferred deportation.” She overlooks the fact that Democrats, when they had majorities in both the Senate and the House (2007-2010), chose not to pass the DREAM Act.

A recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center, a liberal NGO, represented that illegal aliens, especially Mexicans, were leaving the country because of the economic slump and an economic resurgence in Mexico. This self-deportation, the study said, was a first in decades. A Mexican census study reported that one million Mexicans voluntarily returned to Mexico from the United States between 2005 and 2010.

These statistics support comments by the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on reducing the numbers of illegal aliens by self-deportation. Instead, Romney was ridiculed in the WAPO editorial and elsewhere. In his defense, however, one local quipster noted, “Romney has ideas. The Times [New York] and The Post [Washington] are used to this president with no ideas. Shame on Romney for thinking.”

WAPO and the Los Angeles Times did manage to acknowledge that the GOP platform called for a guest worker program. This ought to be the first action on immigration, when Congress returns in September. More illegal aliens would self-deport, if there were a U.S. guest worker program that would not penalize them for their previous illegal evasion of immigration inspections.

A GOP plank entitled, “A 21st Century Workforce,” in part calls for “. . . a policy of strategic immigration, granting more work visas to holders of advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. . .” the STEM fields. An up-to-date guest worker program could be crafted to service the high-tech industry, the skilled worker industry, and the agricultural industry; yet Obama wants no part of it.

Voices of Hispanic discontent with the Obama administration have sounded. The GOP is listening, while the best Democrats can do is defer deportations.

James H. Walsh was associate general counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1983 to 1994. Read more reports from James Walsh — Click Here Now.

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