Department of Preening Editorials (5): Verification is THE Key Element of Immigration Reform

By Stanley Renshon and Stanley Renshon on October 5, 2012
Editor's Note: View a listing of the entire series

Mischaracterizing the effort to ensure that only persons who are legally entitled to work here are able to do so as "punitive", is one method by which legalization advocates, including the Washington Post, try to stack the deck against the "fair, cogent, and economically rational" immigration policies they purportedly support.

The Post is apparently unaware, or chooses not to acknowledge, that effective workplace verification procedures are the basis for the idea of "self-deportation", and that any immigration reform program that institutes such a program will be laying the groundwork for making it difficult people who come here without authorization to find work and support themselves.

Here we come face to face with the Post’s real complaint and the basis of its moral preening.

The Post argues that Mitt Romney "remains stuck with the more punitive policies that he favored during the GOP primaries, when he said he would push illegal immigrants to 'self-deport' by making it impossible for them to work".

The Post characterizes that view as one of "the more punitive" immigration ideas.

Punitive? That word is defined as "Inflicting or aiming to inflict punishment; punishing", but that is not the intent of the policy. It is not to punish, but to return to the status quo ante, literally defined as to return things to "the way they were before".

And what specifically might that term mean in this context? Simple. It means that persons who entered the country in violation of our immigration laws to further their own interests (understandable though that may be) will have to return to their countries of origin, apply for legal immigrant status, and wait their turn just like thousands of their fellow countymen and -women do.

Elsewhere, the Post has characterized the idea of self-deportation as a "fantasy". Worse, from the vantage point of the Post’s moral high horse, "The idea's inanity is masked by its allure for some who hate illegal immigration but concede that mass roundups and deportations would be unseemly and prohibitively expensive."

Hate illegal immigration? Strong words, but "dislike" would be a fairer and more accurate term. I feel on solid ground saying so as one who strongly supports legal immigration and is very opposed to illegal immigration, even though I understand and sympathize with the motives that bring such persons here.

My dislike for illegal immigration is based on the view that it has had, and continues to have, a tremendous and avoidable corrosive effect on American political life. No one — not the illegal aliens, not the businesses that make use of them, not the pandering pols who tout them, not the larger legal communities to which they belong, and above all certainly not our country and national community — ultimately benefits from the current, and most likely future status quo if nothing is done.

A policy that asks people who wish to live and work in our national community to abide by our country's immigration laws and entry procedures, and that has workplace verification procedures in place to ensure that they are legally entitled to do so, is not punitive.

It is fair.

Fair to those who wait their turn.

Fair to the majority of Americans who support legal immigration and legitimately expect those who want to live and become part of this country to begin their stay here by honoring our rules.

Fair, too, because it also honors and respects the views of the vast majority of Americans who have expressed their strong support for keeping this country open to new legal immigrants. No other country in the world even comes close to taking in the number of legal immigrants that the United States does year after year.

I would have thought the Post, being so morally high-minded and all, would have been in favor of this.