The immigration debate that has extended for the better part of a decade, a decade during which the floodgate better known as our southern border has remained open, has been ignoring one important participant – the American people. Congress, including essentially all democrats but a depressing number of republicans as well, is responding to the lure of securing votes from potential future citizens who are currently illegal immigrants, and to the additional lure of Wall Street money being offered in exchange for policies that will perpetuate cheap labor.

The effect of this on the wages of working class Americans is the issue that is being ignored. Since 2000, approximately 18 million legal and illegal immigrants have settled in the United States. Our nation has seen job growth of 9.3 million during that same period. The result of this is, of course, an increase in unemployment to the tune of 8.7 million people, many of them of course Americans whose jobs were displaced by newcomers.

As a nation, we view ourselves, correctly, as welcoming and open-hearted, but there must be limits. And while many, though not all, religious figures advocate open immigration on charitable grounds, including Chicago’s Archbishop Blase Cupich, we can object that charity must be private to qualify as charity. The costs of immigration at a level that our economy cannot absorb are being borne by the taxpayer, and as a result the Archbishop is being charitable with other people’s money.

In that regard, it’s worth noting that a recent Heritage Foundation study estimated that the welfare costs associated with President Obama’s recent executive actions would total $1.3 trillion, mostly for Medicaid and Medicare for the illegal aliens affected by those actions. That is a great deal of other people’s money.

There is also the matter of the money that working class Americans are never allowed to earn in the first place as a result of the flood of illegal immigration. If you asked white collar job holders what would happen to their incomes if 11 million additional workers with their job skills suddenly arrived in the country and were permitted to work, they would have to acknowledge that it would devastate their ability to bargain for salaries at their current level (this has in fact happened to white collar software coders).

And yet so many of these same workers consider it compassion to allow 11 or so million people with working class work skills to enter our economy and destroy the bargaining power of perhaps 50 million working class Americans, the very class that can least afford it.

The rule of law argument here is in fact the argument that is grounded in compassion. The open borders argument is the one that is grounded in cheap labor and votes.


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