Putting ‘illegal’ back into illegal immigration: Doug McIntyre
It’s about to get real.
Last week President Trump lowered the boom on America’s pourous borders by signing an Executive Order authorizing construction of a 2,000-mile wall from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. The President also put hundreds of sanctuary cities on notice that his administration will enforce America’s immigration laws. Cities that refuse to comply risk losing Federal funding for both essential and non-essential services. No place has more skin in this game than Los Angeles, the city that gave birth to sanctuary policies back 1979.
When then-LAPD chief Darryl Gates issued Special Order 40 – the police directive that prohibits officers from initiating a stop based on suspicion of an immigration violations – L.A. quickly became the place to go for illegal immigrants. Why not? The welcome mat was out.
As well intentioned as Special Order 40 might have been, the law of unintended consequences kicked in. Crime didn’t drop, it soared.
But some things did fall.
Wages for working men and women plunged while graduation rates in LAUSD schools sank to historic lows. What went up is poverty. Way up. According the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, California is the poverty capital of America, both by percentage of population and in real numbers, with 20.6-percent of California’s 38-plus million residents living below the poverty line. That’s 5.5-percent higher than the national average, approximately 19 million struggling to survive.
How can this be?
Progressive, liberal, forward-thinking California has every natural advantage: the world’s greatest climate, abundant natural resources, World Class colleges and universities, Silicon Valley and Hollywood as well as magnificent ports and harbors perfectly positioned on the Pacific Rim to ride the crest of the rising tide of trade with Asia. Yet, somehow, California has more people living in poverty than Mississippi or Alabama or any of those backward, knuckle-dragging, redneck states it’s so fashionable for West Coasters to disparage.
The why is obvious.
California has something else those other less-enlightened states don’t have, the nation’s largest population of illegal immigrants.
Obvious to everyone but our leaders.
Sanctuary policies encouraged the poorest of the hemisphere’s poor to come to L.A. We effectively imported poverty on a mass scale, overwhelming law enforcement, our schools and the social safety net while forcing our poor to compete with even poorer people for the first rung on the ladder of success. We cheapened labor far beyond the strawberry fields of Oxnard.
Rather than an honest examination of this complex issue our alleged leaders pandered to an emerging demographic group and demagogued anyone with a dissenting opinion as a racist and xenophobe. And, tragically, the news media drove the getaway car.
The statutory term “illegal alien” has long been banished followed a few years later by “illegal immigrant”, as if these words are hate speech. To be pro-border enforcement is to be labeled “anti-immigrant”, as if there is no distinction. I’m sure drunk drivers would appreciate the same courtesy from the media.
With the stroke of his pen President Trump put the “illegal” back into “illegal immigration.” That’s a good first step.
What will follow is not going to be pretty. We have become addicted to cheap labor and withdrawal from any addiction is not pain free.
The pushers of open borders will throw the kitchen sink at Trump on this one. The battle lines have been drawn.
The fight over control of our borders represents a continuation of the eternal American battle between States Rights and Federalism. It’s Jefferson versus Hamilton, John C. Calhoun versus Andrew Jackson, Jefferson Davis versus Abraham Lincoln, Orval Faubus versus Dwight Eisenhower and now Jerry Brown and Eric Garcetti versus Donald Trump.
There’s a grand irony in all this.
Had we been allowed to have an honest debate on immigration, with all sides represented, not just the pro-amnesty arguments, had we taken even a few commonsense steps to correct the injustice of rewarding folks for cutting the line, Donald J. Trump would never have been elected president.
Or likely anything else.
Doug McIntyre’s column appears Sundays. Hear him weekday mornings, 5-10 on AM 790 KABC. He can be reached at: Doug@DougMcIntyre.com.