by Jacob G. Hornberger
The latest illegal-alien controversy in California’s gubernatorial race reflects the vicious and hypocritical assault on fundamental rights and economic liberty that liberals and conservatives have waged for decades.
In 2000 Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for governor, employed a Hispanic housekeeper, Nicky Diaz Santillan. Unbeknownst to Whitman, Diaz was an illegal alien who furnished false documentation establishing that she was here legally. In 2009 Whitman learned that Diaz was here illegally and terminated her employment. Liberals claim that Whitman treated Diaz badly by letting her go.
Whitman’s money belongs to her, not to the state and not to society. She has the fundamental right to do whatever she wants with her own money. That’s part of what it means to be free. The right to acquire, own, and dispose of money is one of those fundamental, God-given rights that preexist government, rights to which Jefferson referred in the Declaration of Independence.
By the same token, Diaz has been endowed with certain fundamental, God-given rights as well. She has the right to sustain her life through labor, to enter into contracts with others, and to try to break free of the chains of poverty by accumulating wealth.
No government has the moral authority to interfere with the exercise of fundamental, God-given rights. As Jefferson pointed out in the Declaration, it’s the job of government to protect, not destroy, the exercise of such rights.
Diaz and Whitman entered into a mutually beneficial economic arrangement, one in which they both benefited.
Enter liberals and conservatives — i.e., statists — with their beloved immigration controls. They’ve made it a felony offense for American employers to knowingly hire illegal aliens. When they enacted that law sometime in the 1980s, they claimed that it would solve, once and for all, the immigration “crisis” in America.
What their law criminalizing the employment of illegal aliens did was spur a new industry — one of false document creation. In order to make the employer think he was hiring a legal immigrant, illegal aliens would furnish employers with false documents that they purchased from someone who was making money by producing and selling such documents.
What were employers supposed to do — become background investigators? Were they supposed to send the documents to a questioned-document examiner to make certain they weren’t hiring an illegal? Were they supposed to hire a private detective to search into the matter? Were they expected to buy a lie-detector machine? Were they supposed to hire a lawyer to cross examine the employee?
Ridiculous. Not surprisingly, like all other immigration interventions, the law criminalizing the hiring of illegal aliens didn’t solve the perpetual immigration “crisis” after all. Ever since it was enacted, we’ve been treated to an endless series of immigration paroxysms, immigration crises, and immigrations reforms.
Liberals are criticizing Whitman for being “heartless” for laying off Diaz when she learned that she was an illegal. What hypocrisy! What was Whitman supposed to do once she was put on notice of Diaz’s illegal status — keep her employed, thereby subjecting herself to the risk of a felony conviction? Make no mistake about it: if Whitman had continued Diaz on the payroll, liberals would be screaming for a grand-jury indictment.
Liberals continue to accuse anyone who objects to their beloved welfare-state programs as “hating the poor, needy, and disadvantaged.” Meanwhile, in partnership with conservative statists, they continue their decades-long, failed and destructive, vicious war on immigrants, enacting intervention after intervention, raiding businesses, and deporting some of the poorest people on earth, thereby preventing them from escaping poverty through labor and enterprise.
For their part, conservatives continue braying their mantra “free enterprise, private property, and limited government,” even as they continue building up the power to government to destroy the right of foreigners and Americans to engage in mutually beneficial economic relationships.
Meanwhile, many of the statists continue going to church every Sunday, where they meditate on such things as God’s second-greatest commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
The latest immigration controversy in California reflects the immorality and hypocrisy that pervades the entire statist agenda that liberals and conservatives have foisted upon our land.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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