Billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is back with two new ads promoting amnesty and mass immigration. They were created by his groups FWD.us and Americans for a Conservative Direction, and will reportedly run on national cable television as part of a $250,000 advertisement campaign aimed at congressional Republicans. One ad is nothing more than an emotional appeal for amnesty that is focused entirely on a younger illegal alien who claims to have entered illegally at age five and achieved a 3.9 GPA in high school. The other ad, analyzed below, is riddled with inaccuracies, some of which were spread in earlier Zuckerberg ads that we have analyzed here and here. The transcript of the new ad (in bold) is analyzed below:
"There are 11 million people living in the United States illegally. How'd it happen? Some crossed the border. Others overstayed their visas."
The amnesty group intentionally misses the bigger picture. While it's true that about 40 percent of illegal aliens overstayed a visa and the remainder slipped across the border clandestinely, they did not all come in the last week. The reason there are 11 million illegal aliens in the country is because the federal government has not been enforcing the nation's immigration laws with any seriousness for decades. It is the long-term avoidance of enforcement that has created the illegal alien population. Yet the solution proposed by FWD.us is to amnesty those here illegally and accept the notion that the executive branch will never enforce our laws. These amnesty advocates do not understand the problem and therefore offer no legitimate solutions. The only way to stop illegal immigration is through the enforcement of our laws.
"But one thing is clear. It's wrong to have millions of people living in America illegally."
Most would agree that it is not a good thing to have millions of illegal aliens in the country, or "wrong" to have them here, as FWD.us puts it. But is it less wrong to turn millions of people living in America illegally into citizens? How does overstaying a visa and lying to our officials (and, by extension, to the American people) entitle one to U.S. citizenship? How does sneaking past our Border Patrol entitle one to become a voter? If anything, these acts should result in a person being permanently banned from entering the United States, with few exceptions. That's what a nation serious about sovereignty would do. In fact, the American people have already put such laws on the books. Illegal aliens with six to 12 months of unlawful presence are barred from reentry for three years; those here for more than a year illegally are barred for 10 years. Some crimes can result in lifetime bans.
But instead of removing those here illegally, FWD.us and Zuckerberg would have such people stay indefinitely and bring in their extended family members. Their solution to fixing what is "wrong" is to embrace the lawless activity.
"As a nation, we have a choice to make. We can try to deport them: It would take years, cost more than $300 billion, hurt our economy, and tear hard-working families apart."
When this line is delivered, what appears to be an animated American flag waves patriotically. But on closer inspection, FWD.us completely messed up both the stars and the stripes, something they probably shouldn't have done since their ad is aimed at conservatives, and probably something they wouldn't have done if the ad were created by actual conservatives. Instead of the official staggered star layout made up of five rows of six stars and four rows of five stars, the ad has a flag made up five rows of ten stars. Additionally, while the stripes of the official American flag are made up of seven red stripes and six white stripes, FWD.us reverses this, creating a flag with white stripes at the top and bottom. Most Americans should easily be able to spot that the FWD.us version of the American flag is off.
But maybe Zuckerberg decided to save a few bucks by producing this ad with the help of an H-1B foreign worker who wouldn't be expected to be all that familiar with the American flag. (Though now that American tech workers are protesting the H-1B program by affixing American flags to their cubicles, maybe there's no excuse.)
As to the substance of the claims here, it is true that it might take years to return illegal aliens home. The growth in the illegal alien population didn't happen overnight, and it won't be reversed overnight. That it may take five to 10 years to return most illegal aliens home is not a strong argument for letting them get away with their lawlessness.
FWD.us also claims that the deportation would cost more than $300 billion and it cites the Washington Post as the source of this claim. But FWD.us is pulling a fast one on conservatives. The actual source of that claim is the Center for American Progress, a far-left activist group founded by President Clinton's former Chief of Staff, John Podesta. Earlier this year Podesta joined the Obama administration and now holds the position of counselor to the president. It's quite telling that for an ad directed at conservatives, FWD.us can't find actual conservatives to make its case for amnesty and mass immigration.
The Center for American Progress estimate of $300 billion is based on a policy of mass roundups over a period of five years — something that no one is even proposing. Their report makes the tired argument that the only options for dealing with illegal immigration are mass roundups or mass amnesty. In reality, there is a third option, which is consistent enforcement of immigration laws over a period of years that encourages illegal aliens to return home. As it is, hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens leave the population every year; the problem is that more come in and the United States experiences a net increase. Stopping the flow of new illegal aliens while making the United States a less welcoming place to live illegally will slowly shrink the number of people here illegally and eventually make the problem more manageable. And it wouldn't cost $300 billion. Read about the attrition policy, here.
As to the claims that enforcing our sovereignty would hurt the economy and tear "hard-working families apart", the ad's creators make a number of assumptions. First, not all illegal aliens are working, much less hard-working. About four million of the 11 million are not in the labor market at all. Second, illegal aliens are allowed to bring their families with them when facing deportation. The United States is not separating families; illegal aliens oftentimes make the choice to leave their families here. And many illegal aliens left their families back in the homeland long ago; deportation would actually reunite families in many cases. FWD.us does not back up its assertion that basic enforcement of immigration law would harm the economy, but it is clear that illegal immigration is costly to most Americans as evidenced by our research. See a report and testimony from CIS's Steven Camarota here and here, for example.
"Or, we can do what many conservatives in Congress have suggested. Finally secure our borders so this never happens again. Create a system for those 11 million people here illegally to get right with the law.
Right as this dialogue begins, the image of a light bulb pops up which is apparently meant to signal to slower-minded viewers that amnesty is a bright idea. Of course, it's one of those twisted, toxic, mercury vapor-filled enviro-bulbs that are responsible for driving American manufacturers of incandescent bulbs out of business — an outcome that resulted from a federal government mandate. Though this ad is supposed to appeal to conservatives, the imagery certainly can't be helping.
The idea of "finally" securing the nation's borders sounds like a good idea. FWD.us doesn't explain why this would have to be combined with amnesty legislation. The United States has tried comprehensive solutions before and they don't work; the legalization happens immediately and the enforcement never materializes, leading to a new wave of illegal immigration. And FWD.us only mentions border security here, which is odd since, only seconds before, the ad notes that many illegal aliens came legally and simply overstayed a visa. A secure border isn't going to prevent 40 percent of the problem. That's why a working Exit system would also have to be up and running before any discussion of amnesty begins. Since 1996 Congress has mandated exit-tracking of foreign visitors on eight separate occasions — and the executive branch still hasn't implemented it. Since existing legislation is ignored, why should anyone bother talking about new immigration legislation?
Finally, there already is a way for illegal aliens to "get right with the law". They simply have to turn themselves in and be deported. Or, they can return home and apply to come back in through our generous legal channels. Americans shouldn't feel responsible for coming up with new legislation to accommodate those who don't want to follow our laws.
"For starters, they would have to pass a tough background check, pay fines, pay taxes, and learn English."
The ad repeats the tired, lie-filled refrain about background checks, fines, taxes, and English, but never specifically references the failed Senate bill S.744. Yet it is in this bill where these phony requirements were last spelled out. And as the Center for Immigration Studies and others have demonstrated, each amount to very little and will not burden illegal aliens applying for amnesty.
Background checks during an amnesty are virtually meaningless. The 1986 amnesty resulted in the rubber stamping of hundreds of thousands of fraudulent applications. It also gave legal status to an illegal immigrant who would go on to become a ringleader of the 1993 World Trade Center attack; his new status allowed him to travel freely around the world and pick up terrorist training. Under the Senate amnesty bill, crimes like identity theft and vandalism were not considered serious enough to deny a person amnesty, despite the fact that such crimes create real victims. In fact, two misdemeanors on an applicant's rap sheet did not result in legal status being denied; and under the bill multiple misdemeanors could be counted as "one" strike, provided they occur on the same day. Any problematic history an illegal immigrant has in his home country is unlikely to be uncovered. On top of this, history shows us that rejected amnesty applicants remain in United States, even if they pose a risk. Amnesties do not constitute a benefit to public safety.
The Senate bill did have some fines, but allowed for waivers. For example, a person of any age who claims to have entered the United States before age 16 and has a high school degree or GED would not have had to pay. All people under 21 years of age were also exempted. Furthermore, it is likely that some non-profits would have assisted applicants in paying the fines — some of which would have used taxpayer-provided funds to do so. The bill would have granted such groups $150 million to help illegal immigrants apply for the amnesty. In reality, the fine would not have been much of a punishment at all. This is particularly true if the Obama administration narrows the fines even more administratively.
It's unclear what FWD.us means by "pay taxes". Everyone pays taxes to some extent. FWD.us seems to be inferring that illegal aliens would have to pay back taxes as a condition for obtaining amnesty. But despite claims from amnesty advocates, the Senate bill never contained a requirement that illegal immigrants pay back taxes for the many years they have been working off the books. The only requirement in the bill was that illegal immigrants must iron out any existing problems they may have with the IRS. If the IRS had ever audited the illegal immigrant and requested payment of unpaid taxes, they would be required to pay them before receiving amnesty. But since 45 percent of illegal immigrants are estimated to be working off the books, they are not even on the IRS's radar and are highly unlikely to have ever been audited. The tax provision in the Senate amnesty would not be of any consequence to the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants who apply for the amnesty, and amnesty advocates will make sure that payment of taxes is not a bar in any future amnesty bill.
Illegal aliens will never have to learn English to obtain amnesty; no one is going to be deported for not knowing how to conjugate a verb. Like the recent Senate bill, the 1986 amnesty also required some applicants to "learn English", but in practice, attendance at a handful of classes was sufficient for the majority of them to meet this requirement. After the law's passage, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) weakened the language requirements administratively, substantially reducing the number of people who had to meet the requirement. The INS also decided that completing 40 hours of an English/civics program met the amnesty's requirements. A similar narrowing of any language requirement would happen after a new amnesty is passed.
"No amnesty. But common sense reforms that respect the rule of law."
Amnesty advocates keep repeating the silly "it's not an amnesty" mantra, thinking that if they repeat the lie long enough people will believe it. But voters are smarter than the amnesty advocates give them credit for. Everyone knows that any program or policy that legalizes illegal aliens and permits them to stay is an amnesty. These open-border types will continue to waste money on focus groups to come up with euphemisms like "earned status" and "regularization", but few will be fooled. The advocates still have to describe and defend the details of their it's-not-an-amnesty amnesty plan and that is where they always lose support.
They simply cannot overcome the fact that letting millions of foreigners to violate our sovereignty and get away with visa fraud and many other crimes does not create respect for the rule of law. In fact, it encourages more disrespect for the rule of law. President Obama's lawless Deferred Action policy is contributing in large part to the current influx of illegal aliens along the border.
"Tell Congress, it's time to fix our broken immigration system once and for all."
The American people were sold this lie before. Back in 1986 the amnesty for around three million illegal aliens was considered a one-time deal that would solve the problem once and for all. It included laws for providing sanctions against employers who knowingly hired illegal aliens after that date. But while the amnesty happened immediately, the enforcement never materialized. The result was a new wave of illegal immigration. In 1990, La Raza published a report noting that illegal immigration had returned to the levels seen just four years earlier and called for yet another amnesty — the report's author was Cecilia Munoz, who currently works in the White House as chief advisor to President Obama on domestic policy. In the same report, Munoz called for dismantling the limited enforcement provisions contained in the comprehensive amnesty. There is every reason to believe that the same thing will happen again if a new comprehensive amnesty bill is passed. This is why, if there is to be immigration legislation, enforcement provisions would have to be in place, fully litigated, and fully enforced before the drafting of any type of legalization legislation.
The ad finishes with the number to the U.S. Capitol Switchboard operator who will direct you to any member of Congress. That number is (202) 224-3121. Perhaps it is time for Congress to step up and help improve our immigration system. Or maybe it is time for the executive branch to start enforcing our laws. The White House also has a number: (202) 456-1111.