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Recognizing the Amnesty False Dilemma

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Sorting Out Political Weasels

By Mike Scruggs- One of the rhetorical debate tricks used by disingenuous or analytically negligent politicians is the false dilemma. The false dilemma conveys the impression that there are only two choices in a policy decision: either (A) or (B). In the case of amnesty for illegal immigrants, the choice is typically presented by those favoring amnesty as either a choice between (A) immediate round up and deportation of 12 million illegals, assuming exaggerated brutalities and enormous costs; or (B) the only alternative, being amnesty assuming minimal costs and impact on American workers, taxpayers, culture, Social Security commitments, and the rule of law.

The amnesty false dilemma as presented by amnesty proponents is actually a choice between two lies. The truth is that both the current number of illegal immigrants in the country and the number of future illegal immigrants can be substantially reduced by enforcing our current immigration laws. Illegal immigrants must be denied employment, non-emergency government benefits, driver’s licenses, and other incentives to deter their entrance or continued stay in our country. There is a need for immediate deportation, however, for criminals and subversives. As the number of illegal immigrants falls to more manageable levels over a few years, we can and should enforce deportation laws as the rule of law and common sense require.

It is actually the amnesty alternative that has enormous costs and negative consequences that would last for generations. In fact, it would probably result in disastrous fiscal, economic, social, and political consequences. It would be a betrayal of American workers, taxpayers, seniors nearing retirement, Constitutional government, and almost every aspect of American heritage.

Robert Rector’s comprehensive 2013 Heritage Foundation Report on the cost of amnesty revealed that unlawful immigrant households used an average of $14,387 per year more in government benefits and services than all taxes paid, which were mainly only sales taxes because of their low tax brackets. Amnesty would bring that to nearly $28,000 annually per household. This is because of additional eligibilities for healthcare, welfare, and retirement benefits with minimal increase in taxes. The minimal increase in taxes is because their educational and skill qualifications would not demand much higher pay, and they would remain in very low tax brackets. The burden on the nation’s taxpayers would therefore extend to an average of 50 years in the legalized immigrant’s remaining life span. This amounts to a whopping $6.3 Trillion or an additional annual burden of $126 billion per year on taxpayers.

These figures do not include the catastrophic multiplier effect of new waves of illegal immigration that followed the 1986 amnesty, including millions of loosely connected relatives and in-laws. We could easily see the illegal immigrant population double the number of those amnestied to 24 million within a decade.

Rector used an estimate of 11.5 million illegal immigrants in his analysis, but some credible analysts believe the number of illegals in the country may exceed 20 million.

The Center for Immigration Studies and other major immigration control organizations prefer the “soft” deportation plan, also called “attrition by enforcement,” relying more on consistent internal enforcement of employment and benefits laws than direct deportation, because it is more politically feasible than ‘hard” deportation, which places more emphasis on immediate deportation. However, a “hard” deportation would have a high return on investment, considering it would eliminate the fiscal costs of maintaining the current illegal immigrant population more quickly. These fiscal costs are estimated to be between $64 billion and more than $113 billion per year based on Heritage Foundation and Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform (FAIR) data respectively. Even with the exaggerated and purely speculative costs of deportation claimed by the pro-amnesty pundits to be around $200 billion, “hard” deportation would have a very favorable investment return with relatively quick breakeven. It would also have the advantage of helping American workers and strengthening national security sooner. President Obama’s massive 200,000 predominantly Muslim refugee resettlement program is so dangerous that it could require a “hard” deportation plan to reverse it.

A major amnesty is almost certain to accelerate the insolvency of the Social Security system to sometime well before 2037 (FAIR). Its impact on Medicare would be as devastating.

We don’t actually have the money for amnesty; the cost of amnesty would have to be borrowed (from the Chinese?) or paid for by inflationary devaluation of U.S. currency. Amnesty proponents like Presidential candidates Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, and Ben Carson never mention the cost of legalizing unlawful immigrants and allowing them to remain here. They generally avoid the discussion, relying on willful ignorance rather than homework and sound analysis. They also deny the reality of soaring illegal alien crime, which has a human cost that cannot be fully measured in mere dollars.

The fiscal impact of illegal immigration paid by taxpayers is really an indirect subsidy to the companies that hire illegal immigrants. Hence these companies and their associations spend enormous amounts in lobbying and campaign donations to defend cheap labor, both legal and illegal. The economic impact on U.S. workers actually far exceeds the fiscal deficits imposed on taxpayers. According to Harvard labor economist George Borjas, users of cheap foreign labor profit $437 billion per year at an expense to American workers of $402 billion in suppressed wages. Amnesty would, of course, continue and worsen this terrible injustice to American workers.

Another weasel trick used by amnesty proponents is to claim amnesty is not amnesty because of minimal and often waivable fines and paying some back taxes, which are of little consequence compared to the normal criminal fines and deportation required by U.S. law.

If they are not sent home, it is amnesty and will have the same fiscal, economic, and social impact as all other amnesties.

Most Americans fail to realize that immigration policy will control many other issues, in fact, almost all issues. Social-political studies invariably show that U.S. immigration policy in making the electorate more liberal, more favorable to big government welfare and healthcare programs, and more Democratic. Amnesty and excessive increases in legal immigration are likely to increase public and political pressure for gun control and increase the acceptance of abortion on demand. Depressing the wages of American workers and raising their taxes hardly bodes for a healthy economy. The corporations that advocate amnesty and more cheap labor will eventually find their actions have resulted in vast government regulation of businesses and the economy. Short-term thinking is directing our country to suicidal long-term consequences. Massive third-world immigration is not the only factor in the de-Christianizing of American culture, but you have to be blindly politically correct not to see that it is having a considerable numerical, cultural, and political impact. Constitutional religious liberty must never be mutilated to require America’s Christian heritage to be surrendered to secularism, humanism, multiculturalism, diversityism, or to Islam’s drive for world dominance.

Americans must firmly insist on tough-minded immigration policies that benefit all Americans, especially American workers, taxpayers, and families, and preserve our culture, public order, and national security. Hence they should insist on intelligent, honest, principled, experienced, well-studied, and tough-minded leadership in our next President. The last thing we need is an immigration wimp. The last thing we need is a President who either disingenuously or by ignorance parrots a false dilemma to justify amnesty. The last thing we need is a President who does not know the costs of illegal immigration and amnesty. The last thing we need is a President who puts special interests above the public good, public order, and national security. The last thing we need is a President who will not vigorously defend American cultural heritage, and yes, our devotion to the eternal God of our fathers, who by the almighty arm of His Providence, lifted us from weakness and obscurity to greatness and holds all nations and peoples accountable to His Law.

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