“We would do the same.” “… Otherwise harmless people who have done what we would do.” I am troubled by your recent editorial, which echoed another of last year, in which you said you, in their situation, would break the law as illegal aliens, and their enablers, in the U.S. have.
This is wrong. You yourselves repudiated it last year, but now repeat it. It is founded, in part, on “The myth of the otherwise-innocent illegal alien.” In fact, illegal aliens, and their enablers (sanctuary states and cities, complicit employers, self-blinded charities and churches) are approving and participating in both crime and moral wrongs which are deeply corrupting to America. While we might wish the law to be otherwise, and I along with you advocate for reasonable changes, that does not change the facts.
The Capital Press is of course right that the national government should be run on budgets, not continuing resolutions, and that Congress should face and solve immigration problems, not keep kicking them down the road. Real, compromise, solutions are possible if our politicians would be honest about the problems and negotiate in good faith. Northwest farmers need a rational program for temporary agricultural workers. But resolving immigration problems starts with both honesty and real border control, including tracking and removal of illegal overstays, REAL ID, mandatory E-Verify, and an end to “sanctuary” jurisdictions and behavior. As a country, we have the capacity, but not the will, to resolve these problems.
I make two assertions. Illegal aliens commit huge amounts of crime, including violent crime, which would not occur at all except for their illegal presence. Illegal aliens commit a grossly disproportionate amount of crime compared to others in the U.S. Anyone who knows or honestly questions the illegal aliens they know will quickly learn this.
Legal aliens, on the other hand, are extensively screened, with criminal background, medical, and financial checks, must have financial sponsors, and are interviewed over a period of years, on probation for at least five years before they can become citizens, and are less likely to commit crimes. Legal and illegal aliens in America are worlds apart.
Illegal aliens commit crimes by illegal entry, re-entry, and overstay. Their very first act, illegal entry, is a crime, demonstrating contempt for U.S. law. Overstay and illegal presence are not themselves crimes (they should be: they are civil offenses against the law), but failure to register is a crime. Nearly every illegal alien commits these crimes daily along with a daily cascade of other crimes related to identity. They use false/forged/stolen ID, such as Social Security numbers, resident alien cards, and drivers licenses. Many use criminal organizations to enter the U.S., or to obtain their false IDs. They swear falsely and present false documents on I-9 forms required for employment. They work and drive without required licenses, bonding and insurance.
They use false Social Security and ITIN numbers on tax returns, claim dependents and benefits to which they are not entitled (e.g. Earned Income Credits). Much of this is done with the aid of U.S. employers, government agencies (sanctuary jurisdictions), and privacy laws. Being here illegally, they use (steal) benefits to which they are not entitled, including education, welfare, and medical benefits to the tune of billions of dollars. Their children, born here, consume billions of dollars and overwhelm public services such as education. They earn billions of dollars which, while not paying taxes, they remit to their home countries.
All of this is legally and morally wrong, and deeply corrupting to the Rule of Law in America. Mexico, the major source of our illegal aliens, also sends us illegal and life-destroying drugs across the porous southern border. Everyone knows that Mexico is deeply corrupt, a narco-state, but those who “flee” to the U.S. too often bring their values here. Daily, such people teach their children that it is OK to lie, cheat and steal to get what they want. Our churches, increasing dependent on Hispanic membership, are shamefully silent on these mass daily crimes and sins.
There are leading academic articles (e.g. Light & Miller, 2018; Green, 2016; and Wang, 2012) which assert, incorrectly, that illegal aliens (aka “undocumented immigrants”) are a net benefit and commit less crime than other Americans. Such false assertions may make rich and liberal people feel good, as they hire such aliens or use them to gain seats in Congress. These articles suggest that illegal immigrants self-select for good qualities.
Older and more correct literature notes that these aliens come from corrupt countries where Rule of Law has little meaning, and are in the prime crime-producing age: young unattached males 16-30. The “innocent alien” articles are incorrect, and ignore actual crime, criminals, and convictions, while they argue statistical nonsense: that since illegal immigration is up and crime is down, correlation proves the innocence of illegal aliens. Only academics could believe such assertions. Correlation is not cause, and these assertions are contradicted by the actual facts about illegal aliens and crime.
Sit down and have an honest conversation with your illegal alien friend, neighbor, worker, or church-goer. Walk through illegal entry, false documents, false swearing, working illegally, driving without a license or insurance, and then tell yourself that this is not dishonest and criminal. The New Testament forgives, but also says: “Go and sin no more.”
Illegal aliens commit disproportionately more crimes, violent and otherwise, than others in America. This is immediately obvious from the first assertion above: most Americans are not committing a cascade of crimes on a daily basis. However, illegal aliens are disproportionately present, convicted, in federal and state prisons, and on Most-Wanted lists. John Lott’s 2018 study of Arizona convicts, based upon actual convict convictions, confirms this (“Based on data from 1985 to 2017, undocumented immigrants are at least 146% more likely to be convicted of crime than other Arizonans”), as do U.S. General Accountability Office and U.S. Sentencing Commission reports for federal prisons.
The same is true for Oregon, where Oregon Department of Corrections reports, and David Cross’s summaries, most recently for December 2018, show significant and disproportionate numbers of illegal aliens in the Oregon prison system.
The usual estimate for illegal aliens in Oregon is about 160,000 (Pew Research Center, FAIR), which is about 4% of Oregon’s population of 4 million. However, illegal aliens make up a significant percentage of the Oregon prison population. In December 2018, of 14,936 inmates in Oregon prisons, 923, 6.18% were illegal aliens, as measured by those with ICE detainers. These numbers are actually undercounts, because so many illegal alien criminals are deported.
I am sympathetic to Northwest farmers who desire/need legal labor. I have limited sympathy for so-called “Dreamers,” many of whom did not come here as “innocent” young children and many who do not deserve legal residency. I am not sympathetic to Northwest residents complicit in hiring cheap labor in farming, forestry, construction, landscaping, and restaurant industries.
We have the federal E-Verify Program so that employers can determine who has valid Social Security numbers and legal right to work. E-Verify should be mandatory, and meanwhile all employers should voluntarily use it.
I am sad and angry that Americans buy illegal drugs: Mexicans could not sell if Americans did not buy. In that sense, such Americans are deeply complicit not only in the harm done to the U.S., but also the harm done to Mexico in the drug wars, corruption, and murders in Mexico, and in the narco-corruption pervasive in that country.
That, however, does not excuse Mexico, and does not justify its use of America to relief for its unemployment, and as a major source of national income through remittances. I am sad and angry that Americans participate in the massive lawbreaking which illegal immigration requires. We could do this legally, morally, openly and honestly.
Alan L. Gallagher