It’s now at the point where I cringe each morning when I open the Washington Post, dreading what transparently tendentious pro-Open Borders/amnesty immigration inanity will greet me not only on the editorial pages, but on the news pages. This morning’s edition certainly didn’t disappoint.
Just below the fold, on page one, appeared a report from correspondent Pamela Constable titled “Deportation policies may have fueled rise of gangs.” The implication couldn’t be more obvious: Many, at least, of the Central American children streaming toward the United States have been fleeing violence increasingly threatening them from drug criminals. So the longstanding U.S. practice of deporting immigrant drug gang members responsible for further immiserating many American inner cities was portrayed by Constable as a possible policy blunder, or at least a classic example of unintended consequences deserving the spotlight.
Predictably, Constable had no trouble finding supposed experts critical of what they viewed as the shortsightedness – at best – of the deportations. Since this view is widespread among the influential supporters of immigration reform, that was reasonable enough. What wasn’t reasonable was Constable’s neglect of the screamingly obvious rejoinder: Just what were U.S. officials supposed to do? Keep the gang members in the United States where they either would add to prison overcrowding even if they were convicted, or would quickly return to the streets after wrist-slapping plea bargain deals?
Of course, the policy critics quoted by Constable believe they have the answer: More U.S. foreign aid that can turn Central American countries into the kinds of places where drug trafficking and gangs won’t breed in the first place. But such initiatives – also requested by the Salvadoran, Guatemalan, and Honduran presidents at their meeting with President Obama yesterday – have a long record of failure, mainly because Central America was so ruined by centuries of Spanish colonial rule that it’s been stripped of the social and cultural prerequisites of successful economic development.
Therefore, as is so often the case, Washington is faced with an enduring condition that’s mistaken as a problem — which by definition has a feasible solution. It’s bad enough that American leaders can’t keep the distinction clear. Neither can an American chattering class whose only valid raison d’etre is realistically monitoring the government’s performance, but that keeps pretending that the intrinsic limits of human knowledge, wisdom, and good will are “news.”
Equally moronic – but more excusable, given its appearance on the op-ed page – was Colman McCarthy’s effort to compare what he depicts as the despicably un-American cruelty of today’s immigration restrictionists (the “send’-‘em-all-back crowd and the build-bigger-walls cabal”) with the vastly more welcoming attitude that he implies prevailed in the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s. Singled out for special praise today and back in the day are “justice-seeking” immigration lawyers – like his late father.
McCarthy’s article was of special interest to me because his family lived on the north shore of Long Island, close to where I grew up. And I’m sure his father was a fine man. But what McCarthy somehow forgot to emphasize is that the newcomers for whom his father did so much pro bono or largely free work, both in the courtroom and in terms of job placement, came to the United States legally. McCarthy did mention that his father “met and befriended them at Ellis Island” – meaning that they were admitted only after passing through that official inspection station. Yet the author apparently regards immigrants who ignored the law and jumped the line as meriting the exact same status as immigrants who played by the rules.
Something else of supreme relevance overlooked by McCarthy – last year, the United States allowed more than 990,000 immigrants to become permanent, legal U.S. residents. Maybe in his next column, he’ll explain the apparent paradox of today’s allegedly inhumane restrictionists overwhelmingly supporting this influx.
A final note: McCarthy quite accurately describes how the immigrants to the Long Island of his childhood often found decent-paying jobs from the Gatsby-esque one percenters who were building palatial estates all along what would become known as the Gold Coast. Nowadays, as I documented in a recent Fortune Magazine column, America’s wealthiest employ more than their fair share of the current generation of immigrants, especially illegals. But the wages paid are generally so low that these newcomers still need plenty of social services – which are paid disproportionately by taxes from the lower 99 percent.
McCarthy has long been a pillar of the social justice community. To be genuinely true to his avowed principles, he should wholeheartedly back my proposal to boost taxes on the rich to pay most of the costs of the greater immigrant presence that he – and they – so strongly favor.