Why Open Borders Should be a Non-Issue for America

IMMIGRATION - OPEN BORDERS (Credit Jonathan McIntosh, Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo credit: Jonathan McIntosh, Wikimedia Commons)

by Diane Rufino, December 22, 2018

On October 16, 2018, Francisco Gonzalez wrote an article, or more aptly, a book review, entitled “ Why Open Borders Are Bad for America’s Immigrants”; it was published by The Federalist. In that article, Gonzalez reviewed and commented (apparently in support of) Reihan Salam’s book ‘Melting Pot or Civil War? A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders.”

In this article below, I am providing some thoughts and commentary, and some opinions and counter-arguments as well, on both Gonzalez’ article and the underlying work which is Salam’s book. I write this with no disrespect at all for either Mr. Gonzalez or Mr. Salam, and I hope that my commentary does not suggest so. I am grateful to both for their coverage and thoughts on this hot topic of open borders because it helps to further a robust debate on the issue. Immigration reform is certainly the defining issue of our time, with the current administration. I believe strongly in the First Amendment and the need for all viewpoints in order that Americans can have the most exhaustive discussions and debates on matters touching on their country, their government, and their communities. Exhaustive discussions and debates helps us to form our opinions, to keep us most acutely informed, and to decide on the best course of action. The First Amendment was adopted first and foremost for political speech and expression, with the intent that a “marketplace of ideas” would be robust and full of diverse opinions and viewpoints and thus, enable Americans to make the most informed choices at the ballot box and to keep tabs on government.

I should begin by saying that I agree with Salam’s ultimate conclusion, which is that an “open borders” immigration policy is bad for the United States. But I want to emphasize that I believe it is bad for the country in general, for the population as a whole, and for the fatal threats it poses to our safety and security, and not simply for the reason that Salam suggests – which is that it is bad for America’s more recent immigrants. I also believe it is a reckless and illegitimate attempt to advance a political party’s interests way and above any other interests (including moral) that key political leaders may offer.

Gonzalez’s article begins:

Immigration has long been one of the hottest topics in America with no agreed upon policy solutions. We are often presented with one of two polarized choices. The first favors an open borders policy, where the free flow of migrants across our borders is welcomed and amnesty is granted to those who previously crossed the border unlawfully. The second option would seal the border, perhaps with a “wall,” and find and hunt down all illegal immigrants and deport them.

The election of Donald Trump, who clearly leans towards that second choice, has forced a needed argument about immigration. We can disagree on the tactics and the rhetoric Trump uses about immigration, but he has certainly compelled the nation to have the discussion and has moved the nation – including Congress – as close as it’s been to taking some kind of action to remedy this long standoff.

This is as timely a moment as ever for the release Reihan Salam’s book, “Melting Pot or Civil War? A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders.” Salam, a son of Bangladeshi immigrants, the executive director of National Review, and a fellow with National Review Institute (where I also work), argues that the real choice we have in our immigration debate “is whether we see the immigrants we welcome to our shores as permanent strangers to whom we have no obligation other than to deliver them from the relative poverty of their homelands, or as free and equal citizens to whom we are pledging our loyalty in this generation and in those to come.”

Clearly, Gonzalez says, Reihan Salam’s book provides an important viewpoint to the on-going discussion about immigration policy, and in particular, an open-borders policy.
However, what Gonzalez fails to recognize, fails to criticize, and fails to comment on is that Salam is insincere and intellectually dishonest about the issues surrounding the immigration debate. If Gonzalez is indeed framing the debate correctly according to Salam’s point of view, it is clear that Salam neglects the real issue in the immigration debate – which is “legal immigration” versus “illegal immigration.” Are we a nation of laws? Do we believe in the Rule of Law and the Constitution as the foundation of that law? If so, then we must demand that immigrants come here legally and our policy must enforce that and discourage illegal entry. If we don’t believe in the Rule of Law, if we believe laws are only for tax-burdened citizens to adhere to, if we believe that enforcement of federal laws is arbitrary, and we’ve abandoned the notion that the federal government is absolutely responsible for the objects expressly delegated to it by the Constitution, then open borders makes sense.

Salam also neglects the true nature of the push for an open borders immigration policy. The truth is that a relaxed immigration policy (ie, open borders policy) is a political issue with no concern at all for national security (a very real reason for the power to regulate immigration) but rather for political ends. Today’s illegal immigrants are tomorrow’s Democratic voters.

In his book, Salam argues that if we are to live up to the standards of America’s principles, which he hopes we will do, we would certainly want to move in a direction more towards an open immigration policy and a welcoming of illegals “as free and equal citizens.”

Salam argues that US immigration policy needs to address the concerns of those immigrants newly added to our country. He notes that, unfortunately, most immigrants and children of immigrants are not moving up the economic ladder. That is simply the truth of the matter. They are also not taking advantage of college and secondary education opportunities (or have as successful graduation rates) compared with their counterparts.

Gonzalez writes:

When they don’t do that, as Salam shows, they become stuck in ethnic enclaves. When they remain poor and only around other poor immigrants from their own ethnic backgrounds, not only do they not assimilate into America’s melting pot, but they also start forming grievances against their new host country. That’s a dangerous proposition not only for the American economy, but also for the American identity.

One of the key factors that contributes to this situation is that most immigrants are low-skilled workers who have traditionally been welcomed into our economy by those seeking cheap labor. However, as Salam shows throughout this book, low-skilled workers are less and less needed, as our modern economy shifts to automation and off-shoring of labor becomes a more likely proposition.

Note that others, economic experts, assert that since the United States has moved from a production economy to a “service” economy, low-skilled workers (such as servers, maids, housecleaners, landscapers, etc), will continue to be needed. In other words, there will always be a need (a “magnet”) for immigration – legal and illegal…. After all, we can’t forget that “there are certain jobs that Americans just won’t do,” even those who need jobs to support themselves and their families.

Gonzalez continues in his review of Salam’s book:

Salam points out that traditional free-market libertarians tend to favor a more open border policy, coupled with free trade, that is open to a more globalized labor pool, where products and services are manufactured abroad and imported at lower rates for consumers in the United States. At the same time, those who favor more protectionism in trade tend to be more limiting on immigration. He observes both of these sides can’t have their cake and eat it, too. “The decline of protectionism has made restricting low-skill immigration a more viable option,” says Salam. If we are to pursue more egalitarianism, this is a good thing. Salam argues that we need to shift our immigration policies towards a more selective, skills-based approach.

A selective, skills-based approach is the same approach that President Trump favors. He believes in an immigration policy that is not only based on legal entry into this country but also that focuses on merit-based entry as well. In other words, he wants immigrants to join our country who can add to our country – wealth, advanced skills, intellect – rather than to drain from taxpayers and otherwise burden our towns, cities, and communities.

Salam believes that such an approach will favor immigrants who are likely to be more economically stable and upwardly mobile. It will also favor our un-skilled citizenry who need jobs yet often find them given to immigrants (legal and illegal).

As Gonzalez points out, Salam’s concern regarding U.S. immigration policy is not simply for immigrants already in the United States, but also for those who need to emigrate to the United States because they are impoverished in the countries they currently reside:

Salam does not ignore that there are hundreds of millions of people living in poverty around the world who are on the move. He goes one further and recognizes that “the international poverty line is fundamentally arbitrary. It grossly underestimates the number of people around the world who are desperate to better their lot.”

In fact, it often takes that first lift out of poverty to be able to afford to move at all. That’s part of the reason we are seeing many migrants move from impoverished places in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. To this end, Salam provides many ways we can help those people. He goes so far as to suggest that “it’s time for Americans to roll up their sleeves and help.”

Why is it always “America’s problem” ? Why does it always seem to become America’s obligation to “help impoverished people,” to “help people around the world to better their lot,” and to help them “move from impoverished places.” Why must it become America’s moral imperative “to roll up our sleeves and help”? Last I remember, we have a United Nations and a concept known as “shared responsibility.”

Just because America is deemed a “wealthy” country (indeed, where on Earth are those considered poor and living in poverty seen so obese and living so relatively comfortably?), where does it say that she is obligated to share that wealth with those who need it? Where does it say that the money earned by hard-working Americans must be re-distributed to those who have no legal entitlement to it? Why must America’s wealth be constantly re-distributed all over the globe? Again, when are we going to recognize the concept of “shared responsibility”? (And let’s be clear, it’s not an actual responsibility, like that of a parent to raise and take care of his children; it’s more of a moral responsibility, one that helps relieve our collective conscience)

I know what our country’s actual prime responsibility is… It is a responsibility to its citizens. It is a responsibility to enforce the laws tasked to it by our government’s creation to regulate immigration (to enforce a common-sense effective immigration policy) and to keep us safe from harm and any threat of it, and to keep us secure at home in our way of life.

Gonzalez article continues and concludes:

Salam doesn’t say we have to tackle any one or all of the ideas he proposes in one of the later chapters of the book; however, he does add some innovative concepts on how Americans could help those in poverty abroad. They include: international development; incentivizing older Americans to retire abroad (including investing their Medicare and Social Security benefits in developing countries, which alleviates the stress on America’s health-care sector); working with other countries to develop charter cities that would employ low-skill workers without them having to enter the United States; and creating financial incentives and trade concessions to spur industrial development in zones that consist of large multitudes of displaced refugees.

Some of these solutions may be a hard pill to swallow for those who believe in smaller government and even smaller U.S. foreign aid, but it seems Salam proposes these ideas mostly to counter advocates who claim the United States has a moral obligation to open its borders to those in impoverished nations who are migrating to improve their circumstances.

He smartly weighs the short-term and long-term costs to the U.S. government and economy for each of these proposals. However, one wonders what will happen once these ideas go from a scholarly book like Salam’s into the hands of policymakers in Congress. At that point, how much more will that budget increase and for how long will America’s ruling class want to keep these new programs in place?

Salam’s book should add weight to many of the policy proposals in the RAISE Act (the bill from U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue that has found some favor with President Trump). It creates a points system that rewards immigrants who have higher skills and won’t burden U.S. taxpayers.

Salam also suggests the United States should be working closer with Mexico rather than the keeping our currently strained relationship. He points out that as the Mexican economy has been improving, we have seen fewer Mexicans coming into the United States. The largest sector of immigrants crossing the U.S. border from Mexico – mostly illegally – has been from poorer Central American countries. A stronger U.S. partnership would encourage Mexico to stop the flow of migrants coming through Mexico from Central America into the United States.

Salam also argues that we should partner with Mexico in a combined effort to help the economies of Central American nations improve, so that citizens of those countries have less need to uproot themselves for a better opportunity in the United States.

Throughout his book Melting Pot or Civil War? Salam forces us to look at the effects more than 8 million unauthorized immigrants have on the U.S. economy and government spending, not to mention the ethnic tensions their economic stagnation could contribute towards fracturing America’s culture.

That is perhaps what Salam considers the most important element of his argument. If we do not create conditions that allow immigrants who come to the United States from all over the world to assimilate and build a melting pot culture, then we are doomed to move towards cultural fragmentation and the polarization of different peoples in our country. There will be an increasingly widening gap between the affluent and the poor. Working-class Americans, as well as immigrants, will continue to fight for a scarcity of low-skill jobs, struggle to achieve economic mobility, and fail to move towards the cultural mainstream of America.

Just as Trump’s election has forced an argument over immigration, Salam’s book has the opportunity to persuade us to look at innovative policy solutions to transform America’s mired immigration system into one that works for migrants seeking to better their lot. At the same time, these solutions will also help American citizens and the immigrants we welcome work towards building a melting pot, rather than continue to intensify ethnic conflict and economic strife.

Salam overemphasizes the obligation we owe to immigrants – both those who seek to come here and those who are here illegally, hoping for some kind of amnesty policy. He overemphasizes the obligation we owe to people from other parts of the world, especially unilaterally.

It is in this respect that Salam, like so very many others, commits another erroneous assumption. Salam and others like to say that “America is a land of immigrants,” not to underscore how the country was created and developed, but to suggest that our immigration system MUST ensure that the country continues to bring on more and more immigrants. America had no choice at one time but to grow as a land of “immigrants” because its only native population were the American Indians. Immigrants are, by definition, people who leave their country to move to another with the intent of making that new country their home. For over two hundred years, in three major waves, our country grew and benefitted from immigration: During the colonial era, during the first part of the 19th century, and finally, from the 1880s to 1920. (For now, let’s ignore the recent immigration crisis we are experiencing from Mexico and other Hispanic countries). The last two waves saw immigrants coming to America for greater economic opportunity, while the first wave, particularly with such groups as the Pilgrims and the Puritans, who arrived to here in 1620 and then 1630, respectively, saw immigrants seeking religious freedom. By 1912, the United States was just about completely formed (New Mexico and Arizona became states that year, becoming the 47th and 48th states to join the union; Hawaii and Alaska would complete the union in 1959). While America had become a land of immigrants, the country began to re-consider how exactly it wanted to grow even before the start of the 20th century, which is its sovereign right. The first significant pieces of federal legislation restricting immigration were passed in 1875 and then in 1882, when they specifically restricted Chinese immigrants. The Page Act of 1875 restricted the immigration of forced laborers coming from Asia, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 halted all legal immigration of Chinese laborers (our country’s first major exclusionary immigration restriction), and then the Immigration Act of 1882 which restricted other classes of persons from entering the country. Additional restrictions, including compete bans, followed in the early 1920’s.

Yesterday’s immigrants have become generational Americans. Many can trace their roots to colonial times and to the American Revolution. Many can point to relatives that were killed during the American Civil War. And still more can take immense pride in the fact that great-grandparents and grandparents fought for our country in World War I and in World War II, respectively. These one-time immigrants truly contributed and help build this country; they came here legally with nothing to support them but the money in their pockets and the desire to work or find a niche in the community to support themselves and their families. There were no welfare checks, no social programs, no Food Stamps, no tax credits, no free healthcare. There were ethnic communities but no ethnic protesting or ethnic rage; no flying of home country flags and burning of American flags.

During her years of robust immigration, America offered something special – opportunity and freedom, two things that other countries around the world could not offer or deliver. The inscription on the base of the Statue of Liberty is a poignant reminder of how the United States embraced immigrants to its shored: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” Indeed, Lady Liberty represents an exciting new chapter in Lady Liberty’s story of freedom. ” The statue was given to America as a gift of friendship from the people of France and dedicated on October 28, 1886. France gave it the name “Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” to recognize its mission of freedom and democracy. The very design of the statue reflects that message of freedom and democracy: At the feet of Lady Liberty, partially hidden by her robe, are broken shackles (signify a breaking away from tyranny and oppression), in her outstretched hand, she carries a torch, lighting the way to freedom and showing the path to Liberty, in her other arm, she cradles a tablet (evoking law; the Rule of Law), and on her head rests a crown with seven rays (representing the seven continents).

The years after our Civil War and then Reconstruction were years of rapid industrialization, western expansion, and rapid growth. Yes, it was a time for immigration. It was a time when immigration was necessary and important for the growth that the country was experiencing and the production it was becoming world famous for. So yes, at one time (and for many years at that), “America was a land of immigrants.”

But it is false and misleading to think that our country needs to perpetuate the idea that our country still a land of ” – that notion that we need to continue being a “land of immigrants.” Our country is now fully developed and fully populated (lest we truly believe in a diminished quality of life) and our focus is to grow our country mostly from within. The country belongs to its citizens and its citizens have spoken clearly – they want a wall and they want legal immigration – with a sensible policy to guide immigration here.

Reference:  Francisco Gonzalez, “Open Borders Are Bad for America’s Immigrants,” The Federalist, October 16, 2018. Referenced at: http://thefederalist.com/2018/10/16/open-borders-are-bad-for-americas-immigrants/

*** Francisco Gonzalez is the director of philanthropy at National Review Institute.

Advertisements

Audit the IRS Rally - June 19, 2013

by Diane Rufino (who attended the rally)

On Wednesday, June 19th, a protest event, termed “Audit the IRS” Rally, was held on the front lawn of the US Capitol to demand accountability for the actions of the Obama administration, in particular the IRS and Homeland Security for using the powers of government to intimidate, harass, and silence conservative organizations and ordinary Americans who have done nothing wrong. The actions of government have amounted to gross civil rights violations – the violation of the fundamental rights of free speech/expression and assembly (1st Amendment), conscience (1st Amendment), and privacy (4th Amendment), as well as interference with the right to vote. It’s ironic that Voter ID laws must be cleared by the DOJ so that the government can make sure minorities are not harmed in any way in the exercise of their right to vote but the same government can directly stand in the way of conservatives trying to vote and get involved in the election process.

The protest event featured about 20-30 Congressmen, FreedomWorks activists, Restore America’s Voice, Americans for Prosperity, Patriot Action Network, Brent Bozell, authors, Tea Party leaders, victims of IRS inquisitions, and groups such as the ACLJ (American Center for Law & Justice; Jordan Sekulow) who are defending the rights of approximately 50 conservative groups which have been targeted by the government. The event’s featured speaker, however, was none other than Glenn Beck, who delivered a riveting speech outlining exactly what is at stake in the government’s concerted scheme to shut down political opposition. In a nutshell, Beck alleged that what is going on today is about the encroachment on American’s civil rights from an abusive tyrannical government and outlined how we need to get back to our founding principles to win this battle against the progressive agenda which ultimately seeks to transform our system from one that protects the rights of the individual to one that seeks to govern for the best of the collective.

Audit the IRS Rally (Glenn Beck) - June 19, 2013

In part, Beck delivered the following comments:

      “Today, inside, they dedicated a new statue of another American giant, Fredrick Douglas – a man born into slavery, but who knew instinctively that he was not born a slave. No man is.

      To keep a man a slave you do much the same as the cruel circus masters did to the elephant around the turn of last century. Clamp heavy chains around their legs and stake them to the ground. Then beat and terrorize them. After a while you no longer even have to stake the chain; the elephant gives up and just the mere rattle of the chain convinces the elephant there is no hope, so they give up and do whatever it is the circus requires.

      Fredrick Douglas was lucky enough to live in a house where he was taught to read, write and think. He knew God did not make men masters over others. Nor did he ever intend any man to impose unrighteous dominion over another man or beast.

      It is time we remind ourselves of this truth again, and begin to rise up against the intimidation before the handful of peanuts from our new political circus masters is considered a kindness and not the symbol of evil cruelty.

      In the building behind me, they are now excusing storing all data, phone calls, financial transactions, geotracking on every American for our “safety,” while allowing anyone to cross our borders either on foot or in underground tunnels without any worry or consequence. They have not suspended or fired but promoted those at the IRS who rattled the chains of control to any group that disagreed with their policies. Whatever the reason, too many are no longer willing to call evil by its name.

      Someone has always been on the losing end of the stick of power. Blacks are the most obvious, the Chinese, the Native Americans, but let’s not forget the Irish, the Catholics, the Mormons, the Jews, and now it seems that all those of faith who will not conform are the targets. Man doesn’t vanquish hatred or bigotry. The target keeps moving. From the blacks to the Irish. Atheists to Christians.

       But as always, there are a few leaders: Ben Franklin, John Quincy Adams, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Abraham Lincoln, Fredrick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, Gandhi and Martin Luther King. They know that the march toward freedom never ends; man must be ever-vigilant and pray less with his lips and more with his legs. They never forget that truth, justice, and freedom are the wellspring from which the waters of man’s civil rights come. And so they must be upheld for all men – those you know, those you do not, and maybe more importantly — they must be upheld for those who you do know but do not like or agree with at all. If they are lost for one, in the end they are lost for all.

      In the past, these historic stands which we now call civil rights movements were done by a small but dedicated portion of our citizens which led to great shifts in our culture. The rights that so many Americans ignorantly preach about so often are not really their rights. They belong to God and they are given to us for stewardship. They are pretty important and obvious. So obvious that we used to say they were “self-evident,” meaning that humans don’t need to be taught; you instinctively know that you have a right not to be executed without a trial, held without charge, searched without warrant or spied upon without cause.

     The government is no longer the protector of those civil rights, and so we must be. When we are told that it is okay for the IRS, EPA, ATF, FBI or anyone to hassle, threaten or intimidate others because of their skin color, religion or political belief, we stop being the country that we all want to build, and start being the country the world should fear.

      Men may make progress, but man never changes. Man loves power and money. No matter the skin color, religion or income level. These symbols of our nation make men drunk with power, who then justify their lust for more by claiming they are public servants. The only difference between Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. is that at least Vegas has the decency to admit the town is full of hookers and crooks

      The long train of abuses regarding these rights are the same MLK marched against, and the very same our dusty Founders warned us about losing.

      We must sober up and admit that too many of the Republicans and the Democrats have played us, lied to us and stolen from us, while the getaway car was driven by the media. A media that can no longer claim with a straight face the role of journalist. Journalists print the things the powerful don’t want printed. What they do is public relations. Those PR firms will not print the truth about the average American who finds himself concerned with the direction of our country today.  So we must.  We are not violent.  We are not racist.  We are not anti-immigrant. We are not anti-government.  And we will not be silent anymore.

      We come today to declare our independence, to reaffirm our founding principles. We, as a nation, acknowledge a creator. We acknowledge that he gives certain natural, guaranteed rights to man. We declare that government exists primarily to protect these natural, God-given rights. He has established right and wrong. He is just and therefore, man must pay for his mistakes either now on Earth, or through God’s justice later.

      Those who wish to use unrighteous dominion over mankind are not enemies of ours; they are enemies of God, and He will not be silent much longer either. There is no such thing as social justice. Only God can balance things out, and we are not God. But honest and decent men can fight for and establish equal justice.

      We will no longer accept the lies, the corruption, or the information and data gathering. It is evil. And we come here today to send a message that we will surround all of those who wish to stand and break the cycle of corruption. We will use ourselves as shields to protect those in the system, the elected officials or whistle blowers with the courage to stand.

      We come here today to respectfully, but with the power of the spirit, demand to be treated as an equal members of society. I answer to only one King and His kingdom will come, His will be done. We have chosen sides and we choose God. America as a nation must do the same, as well.”

To hear the entire content of Glenn Beck’s speech, go to http://savingtherepublic.com/blog/2013/06/glenn-beck-rocks-at-the-audit-the-irs-rally-is-this-country-even-worth-defending-anymore-full-speech/

Brent Bozell asked: “Do you want a federal investigation?” He said: “I am sick and tired of not getting answers from my government when my government is abusing my freedoms. It is time to fire Eric Holder.”  And Steve Lonegan, former GOP candidate for Governor of NJ and current chair of the NJ chapter of Americans for Prosperity, led the crowd to chant: “Don’t Tread on Me!”

The speakers reminded the crowd of what the Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence –  (i) that power was delegated to government by sovereign individuals, by a “consent of the governed,” (ii) for the primary purpose of protecting and securing their God-given inalienable rights, and (iii) when any government becomes destructive of those ends, the people have a right and a duty to alter and abolish that government and establish a government that better protects their “safety and happiness.” The clear message of the afternoon was that our current government has become destructive of the purpose and end of government and it needs to be altered, and specifically, by abolishing the IRS.

For example, Rick Morlen of the NM Tea Party, spoke:

“Our Founding Fathers weren’t acting on behalf of a political party when they wrote the Declaration of Independence. They were simply trying to secure individual liberty by creating a limited government that would stand for certain principles and stand the test of time. They wrote that that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights and that governments deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed must secure those rights. They wrote that people must, infrequently, consider altering their government whenever it becomes destructive of their rights. The Declaration listed a series of grievances against the King of England which propelled the colonies to seek their independence. Listen while I remind you of some of those grievances: for refusing to pass laws of immediate importance, for invading the rights of the people, for suspending our legislatures and himself with the power to legislate for us, for denying our citizens the benefit of a trial by jury, for erecting a multitude of new offices, and sending forth swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance, for keeping among us – in times of peace – standing armies without the consent of our legislatures, to render the military independent of and superior to civil power, for subjecting us to the jurisdiction of law that is  foreign to our constitution, and for taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments.

      We are not here to set up a new government. We are here to bear witness that we need to alter the government of this great country and to bring it back under the control of the people. And one way is to abolish the IRS. We acknowledge that there is a need to tax the people for the constitutionally-limited purposes of government, but that taxation should be fair and borne by all the people who enjoy living under this republic.”  

Audit the IRS Rally #3 - June 19, 2013

Ken Hoagland, chairman of Restore America’s Voice, spoke after Glenn Beck, Senator Rand Paul and Senator Mike Lee.  Hoagland attended the event first to deliver 2 million petitions to Repeal Obamacare that his organization collected from citizens (with the help of Mike Huckabee) and also to speak. He quickly became a crowd-pleaser with his words:

“I want you to remember this name – Bob Bauer.  Bob Bauer, who was the top lawyer for the Democratic National Committee, Senator Barack Obama’s mentor, the White House’s counsel, and then the General Counsel for the Obama-Biden re-election campaign, sent memo after memo to the Justice Department, the IRS, and ‘all interested parties,’ urging them to go after all law-abiding citizens who wanted to end voter fraud and exercise their rights of free speech to stop an out-of-control federal government. This abuse of Americans was directed by Washington at the very highest levels of the Obama administration and campaign. Bob Bauer.

      No natural disaster or foreign enemy has hurt us as much as our own government. The economic collapse that still has 12 million citizens unemployed was caused by the government insisting that all Americans are entitled to a home and then disastrously insisting that the marketplace not be purged of the toxic mortgages provided for those homes. We didn’t do that; the government did.  Adding insult to injury, the government then forced taxpayers to use their hard-earned money to bail out the guilty parties and give them bonuses. Then it passed Obamacare – ramming it down our throats. As if this wasn’t enough, Obama recently appointed the same woman who oversaw the abuse of Tea Party groups to be in charge of Obamacare at the IRS. All of this was done without the consent of the governed, as guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence. We didn’t consent to the bail-outs, we didn’t consent to Obamacare, and we didn’t consent to be spied on.

      Our Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, remembering the actions of a King who swept up citizens and held secret hearings to condemn them. The true traitors are those self-important brutes in our government who work behind closed doors and in session to dismantle the Bill of Rights and other constitutional protects without the consent of the governed.

     We will never be free until we abolish the IRS and close its doors forever. We will never be free until we rid the government of that power over the People.” 

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) reminded those who attended the rally of the abuses of the IRS:

  “I believe that trust in government is vital in a free society. and I believe that trust in our government has been violated. Nowhere is that trust more important and more violated than with the IRS, an agency that access to personal information about your finances and associations.  We’ve learned outrageous things about what the IRS has been doing since 2009.  The IRS has targeted your groups. The IRS has tried to extort money from you in order to shut you down because you are proven organizers of opposition. The IRS has leaked information about your donors and then targeted those donors. This is different than anything we’ve seen before because it’s not the government going after Republicans or Democrats. It’s the government going after just plain folks – just plain ‘ol folks like you.  We all know that the IRS is the enforcement arm of Obamacare. Do you want the IFS involved in your healthcare?  Do you want the IRS knowing about your healthcare?  I certainly don’t.”

Two bills have been introduced which address the abuse at the hands of the IRS.  One was introduced by Rep. Tom Price and the other by Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), who also spoke at the rally. Rep. Price introduced H.R. 2009 on May 16, termed the “Keep the IRS Off Your Healthcare Act of 2013,” which would prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from enforcing Obamacare. Specifically, it says that the IRS may NOT enforce or implement any portion of Obamacare. Rep. Fleming introduced H.R. 2045 on May 17, termed the “Halt the IRS Act,” which would prohibit officers and employees of the Internal Revenue Service from initiating any new audits for 180 days (to give the House the opportunity to get to the bottom of the scandal). To track these bills, go tohttp://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr2045 and http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr2009

One has to be concerned that an organization that has become the gestapo arm of the Obama administration will be in charge of implementing Obamacare. Will elder conservative leaders be denied life-saving health services because they happen to belong to a Tea Party group, teach about the Founding Fathers, attend Tea Party rallies, promote the Right to Life, criticize President Obama, or support the limitations set forth in the Constitution?  Of course, the surest way to abolish the IRS is to push for the Fair Tax, a national consumption tax, or a Flat Tax. A tax that requires that the burden to fund the government be shared among every American will eliminate the “progressive income tax” that was ushered in with the 16th Amendment and which resulted in the establishment of the tax code and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  A Fair Tax or Flat Tax will render the 16th Amendment useless (so we can abolish it) and will eliminate the IRS.  Americans will be able to file their taxes by simply filling out a postcard. As Ken Hoagland said: “Repeal of the Income Tax will do more than anything to shift the power from Washington back to the People!”

Audit the IRS Rally #4 (with Rand Paul) - June 19, 2013

The protest also addressed the Immigration Reform bill (AMNESTY, in short!) and the Cornyn Amendment, which was co-sponsored by our very own Senator Burr), which are currently being pushed by Congress. The legislation and the amendment are simply BAD and will grant amnesty to approximately 15-20 million illegal immigrants who have chosen to enter our country illegally and take advantage of our welfare, Food Stamps, healthcare, and education, to name a few services (without providing a fair proportion of federal income taxes). With the passage of this legislation, the democrats will be assured of millions of additional voters who like this country for its benefits rather than liberties. The greatest legal objection to the immigration bill and Cornyn Amendment is that they propose amnesty without addressing immigration reform or ENFORCEMENT!!  There is talk of securing the border, but only AFTER illegal immigrants are granted amnesty and immediate voting rights. Proponents of the bill try to divert attention from this fact by claiming that it is not an amnesty bill because it “has plenty of penalties and hurdles for those here illegally who seek citizenship.”

For anyone who wants to understand the gravity and the likely consequences of this bill, just review what happened when the government tried this very thing back in 1986 under Ronald Reagan.  To be clear, the 1986 Immigration Reform bill also offered the same “roadblocks” to citizenship.  But the roadblocks were effectively in ink only.

The Reagan administration passed the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act to address the massive immigration of Hispanics. That law essentially told those in the US illegally that if they had arrived in the U.S. prior to 1982 and wanted to become citizens, all they had to do was simply raise their right hand.

The 1986 act didn’t turn illegal immigrants into citizens on the spot. It granted temporary resident status only to those who could prove they had resided continuously in America for five years. After 18 months, their status could be upgraded to permanent residency, and only after another five years could they become U.S. citizens.

But advancement to citizenship was not automatic. Immigrants had to satisfy various requirements along the way. They had to pay application fees, learn to speak English, understand American civics, pass a medical exam and register for military selective service. Those with convictions for a felony or three misdemeanors were ineligible.

If these “roadblocks” sound familiar, that’s because they are all in the current immigration bill. It’s pretty much the same “penalties and hurdles” set forth by the Senate’s Gang of Eight (including NY Chuck Schumer, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham) and the House’s Gang of Eight. In their bill, they call it a “roadmap to citizenship.”  Ronald Reagan called it “amnesty.”

The ’86 reform bill also had supposedly “rigorous” border security and immigration law enforcement provisions. So how did that pan out? On the day Reagan signed “comprehensive” reform into law, only one thing changed: Millions of unlawful immigrants gained “legal” status. The promised crackdowns on security and enforcement never happened. Only amnesty prevailed.

Since the 1986 amnesty, the number of illegal immigrants has quadrupled. That should teach Congress a very important lesson: Amnesty “bends” the rule of law. And bending the rule of law to reach a “comprehensive” deal winds up provoking wholesale breaking of the law. Ultimately, it encourages millions more to risk entering the country illegally in the hope that one day they, too, might receive amnesty.

On legislation as important as this, lawmakers must take the time to read the bill, not rely on others’ characterizations of what it says. We can’t afford to have Congress once again “pass the bill to find out what’s in it.”  And we can’t have Republicans once again compromise on principles that define what it means to be a “constitutional republic.”

The entire “Audit the IRS” rally can be viewed at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB8JLMJV_iM

Please contact your representatives in DC and let them know that you DEMAND a complete and comprehensive investigation into the conduct of the IRS and any other branches that potentially were used to harass and target conservative groups (such as Homeland Security and its Report on “Rightwing Extremism”) and that you OPPOSE this type of irresponsible Immigration Reform.

Audit the IRS Rally #2 - June 19, 2013

For those who are not familiar with the immigration bill or Cornyn Amendment, it is probably one of the most important items that the Congress is taking up this year and it is worthy of at least a cursory review. This immigration initiative is a top priority of President Obama – now that Obamacare has been passed.  Conservative talk show radio hosts such as Glenn Beck believe that this initiative is an attempt to increase the voter support for the Democratic party and to make sure that Republicans don’t win another presidential election in the near future.

The Immigration bill was proposed by the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” – John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Chuck Schumer, Mike Bennet, Dick Durbin, Jeff Flake, and Bob Menendez – and is more the attempt to deal with the 15-24 million illegal immigrants currently in this country (the 11 million figure that has been cited repeatedly by the government is simply a sharp under-representation). Ron Paul estimated the number of Illegals at 21 million back in 2008.

The “Gang of Eight” bill would allow undocumented immigrants to gain provisional status, which would let them remain in the country legally and work. It would later create a path to citizenship – first a green card and then eventual naturalization, but only if there are certain border security measures. That is, the bill would require the Department of Homeland Security submit a plan within 6 months of its adoption. In other words, under the Immigration bill, immigrants who are here illegally are given temporary legal status before the border security conditions are met, which, in essence, is amnesty.

The Cornyn Amendment was proposed by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to help the bill pass in the Senate by supposedly addressing some of the concerns of the Republican members. Cornyn promised that if his amendment was included, he would vote for the bill. The Cornyn Amendment, in its 134 pages, calls for enhanced US security and requires certain laws to be enforced more aggressively. The most notable addition is a requirement that DHS implement a biometric entry and exit program, but even there, the amendment only applies that requirement to air and sea ports of entry, but not land ports of entry.  Moreover, it does not require the implementation of a biometric exit program at land ports of entry any time in the future.  Furthermore, it requires no fencing or physical barrier along the southern border nor does it set any money aside to construct such fencing or barrier.

Despite its provisions, the Cornyn Amendment does nothing to alter the general spirit of the law, which is Amnesty first and then addressing border security maybe or at best, later on. Many are skeptical of the Amendment, claiming that it doesn’t do enough to make the U.S. more secure. It uses weak, arbitrary benchmarks that can be manipulated by DHS and do not guarantee future security or enforcement. Additionally, it says nothing about new flows of illegal immigration. Under the Cornyn Amendment, there could still be a sizable number of illegal immigrants entering the U.S. every year, but DHS would still be able to certify that the border is secure, thus allowing LPR status to be given out.  Despite these concerns, several GOP Senators have signed-on as co-sponsors to the Amendment, including Sens. Lamar Alexander (TN), John Barrasso (WY), Roy Blunt (MO), Richard Burr (NC), Saxby Chambliss (GA), Mike Crapo (ID), Orrin Hatch (UT), Johnny Isakson (GA), Mike Johanns (NE), Mark Kirk (IL), Rob Portman (OH), Pat Roberts (KS), and Roger Wicker (MS).

Amazingly, despite the fact that the Cornyn amendment still does not place a single obstacle in the way of illegal aliens gaining amnesty plus work and travel authorization, some Gang of Eight Senators are opposing it, calling the amendment a “poison pill” aimed at taking down the bill. John McCain, a gift to the Democratic Party, said: “It’s not possible for us to support Senator Cornyn’s amendment as it is presently written. It’s a poison pill.” Senator Schumer called it a “deal killer.”

The National Review calls describes the proposed legislation as: “an amnesty-first, enforcement-maybe program drawn up mainly to reflect the priorities of 11 million citizens of other countries rather than the concerns of more than 300 million citizens of the United States.”  Needless to say, the National Review, as well as conservative leaders all over the country, have been urging Republican Senator Rubio to vote against the bill that he helped craft.  (They know McCain and Graham are lost causes).

Today, GOP Senators John Hoeven (ND) and Bob Corker (TN) introduced a bi-partisan compromise amendment, hoping to ensure Senate passage of the immigration reform bill by increasing Republican support for it. The amendment would call for a border agent every 1,000 feet, every hour of every day, supported by 700 miles of fencing along the Mexican frontier. Furthermore, it would provide that no green cards be issued for the “11 million immigrants living illegally in America” until those steps and others to enhance border controls are taken. (Of course, it would take a couple of years to train and deploy the new agents in an expansion that would almost double the current force). The compromise amendment still doesn’t address the fundamental flaw of the immigration reform effort, which is that it is an amnesty measure and not a security measure. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said the compromise means “amnesty will still occur” and Roy Beck, president of Numbers USA, a group that opposes the immigration reform measure, called the compromise “a desperate political move by pro-amnesty forces to provide cover to pass a bill that would otherwise not pass.”

The Immigration Reform effort does nothing to address the serious concerns surrounding the massive immigration of low-skilled Hispanics over the past 20 years or so. For one, it will cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars in welfare benefits. Granting amnesty to millions of low-skilled Hispanics sends the message that the United States only enforces immigration laws against those who are educated and can offer the country professional skills, something we are in need of.  It also ensures that law-abiding American citizens will continue to suffer from unemployment and salaries will decrease. Speaking today on the Rush Limbaugh, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that the Senate immigration bill “sets up affirmative action – a strong preference in hiring – for those who are here illegally.” Cruz argued that because illegal immigrants who are granted legal status would be exempt from Obamacare, it would be cheaper for employers to hire them than to hire native-born workers. “If you’re a small-business owner,” said Cruz, “if you hire an American or if you hire a legal immigrant, you’re subject to a $2,000 dollar fine per employee if you’re not providing health-care under Obamacare. It’s a massive economic incentive for employers to not hire Americans.”

The reform bill undermines our rule of law, is a slap in the face to everyone who entered the country legally and had to wait and follow the mandates of the law, continues to impress upon law-abiding American citizens that there is no such thing as “one set of laws for everyone,” and will be an enormous drain on those who pay the bulk of taxes.

One must ask: “Shouldn’t border security and upholding the immigration laws be a priority regardless of other immigration reforms?” Regrettably, the President and some in Congress seem to be treating security and upholding the law as an afterthought or a bargaining chip, not as one of the core purposes of government. In fact, the President appears to be intentionally ignoring his role as our head Enforcer and refuses to enforce the laws already on the books. We see this in sanctuary cities, we see this in repeat offenders who are here illegally being turned loose on the streets, we see this in the appeasement policy the current administration has with the President of Mexico and other Mexican authorities, and we see this in the refusal of government to enforce laws that make sure that illegal immigrants are not able to avail themselves of our welfare programs.

Before 1996, legal immigrants were eligible for public benefits on similar terms as citizens, while illegal immigrants were NOT eligible. The 1996 Welfare Reform Act, officially titled “The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act” (PRWORA), restricted access to TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), Medicaid, and SNAP for many legal immigrants. In other words, it was supposed to make it difficult for immigrants after 1996 to live as wards of the state and to burden law-abiding taxpayers. The 1996 law states that “self-sufficiency has been a basic principle of United States immigration law.”  In particular, it reads: “aliens within the Nation’s borders should not depend on public resources to meet their needs,” and “the availability of public benefits should not constitute an incentive for immigration to the United States” (U.S. Congress 1996).  The Welfare Reform Act established two categories of immigrants for eligibility purposes (qualified and nonqualified immigrants) and restricted eligibility for qualified immigrants based on time of arrival into the United States (pre-enactment versus post-enactment immigrants), and length of U.S. residency (more than five years versus five years or less). Stated most generally, welfare reform allowed benefits for qualified immigrants, most of whom are legal permanent residents (LPRs), who arrived in the United States prior to the enactment of PRWORA (on August 22, 1996), and it restricted benefits for most immigrants who arrived after enactment for their first five years of qualified residency in the United States.  As a result of these reforms, eligibility for public benefits can vary within families based on each family member’s citizenship, immigration status, time of arrival, and length of residence in the United States.

Over the past 20 years, the foreign-born population in the United States has more than doubled. In the 20 years from 1990 to 2010, the population increased from 20 million in 1990 to 40 million in 2010 (US Census Bureau 2011). Immigrant families include nearly 17 million children, more than 15 million of whom are U.S.-born citizens. It is estimated that one in every 2 or 3 Hispanic immigrants is here illegally. While foreign-born adults have high employment rates and many do well economically, they are also more likely to work in low-wage jobs and less likely to have health insurance coverage from their employers than native-born adults. Several of our public assistance programs are available to them. Despite the instructions outlined in the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, several major public programs, including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) are available to all low-income immigrants. The problem is that federal public benefits include a variety of “safety-net services” which can be paid for by federal funds  But the welfare law’s definition does not specify which particular programs are covered by the term, leaving that clarification to each federal benefit granting agency.

For anyone wanting to know what immigration to the United States was like when many European immigrants came here, look at the “Ellis Island and Immigration Experience” at http://freepages.family.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~gregkrenzelok/Ellis%20Island.html

The Immigration Reform bill, even including the amendments, does nothing to alter the fundamental truth that amnesty will be granted before any meaningful security measures are put in place. The bottom line is that this very same effort was tried once before and was a dismal failure. It sent the message to our neighboring countries and others around the world that the United States is not interested in taking any strong measures to effect a sensible immigration policy that furthers important national interests. Immigration has become political. Instead of a furthering important national interests, immigration is being used to further political interests.

One thing is certain: If we subsidize them, they will come. We have rolled out the social services red carpet, so it is no surprise that many from other countries are eager to come take advantage of our very generous system. The magnet used to be our unlimited freedom and a government that would leave people alone. Today that magnet is free stuff.  Today that magnet is social pandering – in order to advance a progressive agenda and tear down traditional American norms. We must return to the Rule of Law and the American principle of personal responsibility. We must expect those who come here to respect our laws and to take care of themselves. Not only is this the right thing to do for our overtaxed citizens, but it sets a standard that should define all Americans, including those who have recently immigrated here. We simply have no choice. We can’t afford our relaxed, “politically-correct” policies anymore.

Again, please contact your representatives in DC and let them know that you oppose any immigration reform effort that includes amnesty. The primary objective of immigration reform should be border security and enforcement of an immigration policy that serves legitimate national goals (and not political goals). And don’t forget to demand an investigation of the IRS and Homeland Security.