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Illegal Immigrants: The Statist Scapegoats

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Illegal Immigrantsby Jacob G. Hornberger

It really is sad — no, actually pathetic — to see Republican presidential candidates competing with each other to show how tough they are on illegal immigrants in order to garner votes from Republican voters. That’s not to say, of course, that liberals are any better, as reflected by President Obama’s massive number of immigration raids on private businesses and record deportations of illegal immigrants.

Meanwhile, the Republicans keep reminding us of how committed they are to “free enterprise, private property, and limited government,” while Democrats keep reminding us of how much they love “the poor, needy, and disadvantaged.”

What a joke those mantras are!

Message to Republicans and Democrats: Illegal immigrants are not the cause of America’s economic woes. They are not responsible for America’s high unemployment. They are not responsible for the massive drop in home values. They are not responsible for the deep recession.

Supplementary message to Republicans and Democrats: You — yes, you — are responsible for our nation’s economic woes. Specifically, your welfare-state paradigm and your warfare-state paradigm are taking our country down. Your socialism, your interventionism, your militarism, your imperialism. That’s the problem.

Yes, it’s your statism — the statism that you statists have foisted on our country — that is the root of our nation’s problems. That’s the cause of the unemployment. That’s the cause of the out-of-control spending and debt. That’s the cause of the monetary debasement. That’s the cause of the booms, bubbles, and busts.

The problem is that you people simply cannot take personal responsibility for what you have wrought with your statism. So, you do what statist regimes have done throughout history. You look for scapegoats when economic conditions go bad. Illegal immigrants are your convenient scapegoat. They’re not in a position to defend themselves.

Consider the inane personal immigration attack leveled by Rick Perry against Mitt Romney. Perry accused Romney of hiring illegal aliens to do work at his home.

If only Romney had replied, “Yes, I did. I’m a believer in free enterprise, private property, and limited government. I hired them with my own money. They agreed to the deal. That means we were both happy with the arrangement. It’s really none of your business. Butt out.”

Of course, that’s not how Romney responded. Instead, he went through the standard contortions that any public official has to go through whenever he’s caught hiring illegal immigrants — that he didn’t know that the lawn service he hired was using illegal aliens and when he did learn of it, he terminated their services.

And why? To pander to voters, who themselves cannot bring themselves to admit that it is not illegal immigrants that are the cause of American woes but rather the welfare-warfare paradigm that all too many of such voters unfortunately continue to embrace.

Additional message to statists: Even if you succeeded in building a solid wall along the Southern border — one that was better fortified than the Berlin Wall ever was — and even if it was manned by East German (legal) immigrant sharpshooters — and even if the entire border was monitored by tens of thousands of CIA assassination drones — even if millions of military boots were lined up side-by-side along the border — even if not one single illegal immigrant was able to enter the United States — your economic problems would still not go away.

That’s because, again, illegal immigrants are not the cause of America’s economic problems. They’re just your convenient scapegoat. The cause of America’s economic woes is the welfarism, militarism, imperialism, socialism, and interventionism that have pervaded our land for decades. Attacking illegal immigrants is not going to prevent the chickens from coming home to roost after decades of statism.

In fact, illegal immigrants actually provide a guide to Americans as to how to extricate our nation from its statist morass. Illegal immigrants are among the hardest-working people you’d ever find in life. They have a tremendous work ethic. That’s why Mitt Romney’s lawn service — and countless other American employers — love to hire illegal immigrants — because they work hard.

Have you ever noticed that in the midst of high unemployment, illegal immigrants find their way into the United States and find jobs that don’t exist?

Yes, I’ve heard the old canard: “Oh, Jacob, they’re just coming here to get on welfare, and welfare should be limited to Americans.” That’s just projection. It is American statists who love welfare. Both conservatives and liberals embrace the welfare state, adore it, and are firmly committed to saving and reforming it. It’s only libertarians who wish to dismantle it.

There’s a good reason why immigration raids are never on welfare offices and always on private firms. It’s because illegal immigrants are hard workers, not welfare lovers, and, deep down, both liberals and conservatives know it. That’s what makes statists uncomfortable. They cannot believe that there are actually people in life who still have the traits of self-reliance, independence, courage, family values, and a strong work ethic — the traits that characterized our American ancestors, who rejected the paradigms of the welfare state and the warfare state. Thus, statists end up projecting their own love of welfare onto hard-working, independent-minded, self-reliant illegal immigrants.

If only Republicans and Democrats practiced what they preached — “free enterprise, private property, and limited government” and “we love the poor, needy, and disadvantaged,” immigrants could be left in peace, enabling them to enter into mutually beneficial economic relationships with American employers and sustaining and improving their own lives and the lives of their families through good old-fashioned labor.

Alas, we’re a long ways from there. Since conservatives and liberals both find the concept of personal responsibility to be anathema, illegal immigrants will continue to be their scapegoat.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.


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