Liddick: Time for real immigration reform |

Liddick: Time for real immigration reform

I see the open borders brigade is in fine voice. With the hyperbole available only to those with no sense of history and willful ignorance of fact, legions of the Perpetually Offended have declared that Arizona’s logical response to the vigorous incompetence of the Federal Government is somehow evocative of Nazism. This is hogwash, designed to obscure their own far more divisive ends.

Let’s be clear: Arizona did not originate the idea that non-citizen US residents have to carry proof of legal status on their persons. That’s been a Federal law since 1952, as has the offense of crossing a US border without permission. All Arizona has done is to empower its officials to do what the Federal Government has refused: enforce the law. And it is here that Arizona’s law may encounter Constitutional problems, specifically with the “enumerated powers” of Article 1.

Nevertheless, someone has to do the job. And if the Federal government refuses, the task perforce falls to others.

Control of a nation’s borders is a central element of sovereignty, and has been recognized as such since the 15th century. So why a succession of US administrations – yes, Bush was one – have wanted to surrender this control is a mystery, but surrender they have, and states like Arizona have borne the brunt of the catastrophic results. Hence their pique; hence their new law.

Many opponents of Arizona’s legislation insist that it will result in that shibboleth of the Left, “racial profiling” – apparently acceptable when judging applicants for law school, but not when treating with suspected lawbreakers. When reminded that the law is even-handed, these critics retreat to the position that uneven “enforcement” will be the problem. It doesn’t suit their argument to recognize that attention to one sector of Arizona’s population may be due to the fact that our Southern border is not being flouted daily by large numbers of illegal Swedes.

In response to those playing the race card, Arizona’s defenders should be far more questioning of their critics’ motives. Beginning with the president, those slandering Arizona and dismissing its concerns should be made to say why they will move heaven and earth to defend a person whose first act on American soil is to spit on our laws and to deliver a slap in the face to every immigrant who followed the law, waited in line and took his turn. When they’re done blustering about that poser, they ought to be pressed on why they are so eager to trade our sovereignty for a few more years in power. I assume they won’t answer truthfully, but the exchange might be revealing – and troubling.

Most likely, their response will involve the Left’s stock-in-trade: the sob story. We will be presented with an illegal immigrant who was otherwise law abiding, and lived in the US for 15 years, making a family along the way. He is now in danger, we will be told, of being “torn from the arms of his children,” or some such overwrought platitude. His responsibility for creating the family while here illegally will not be mentioned. But it should be. We should insist on it.

I admit, our current conundrum argues for “immigration reform,” though I doubt for what liberal politicians will propose. To curry favor with a rapidly growing demographic, they will tout amnesty – call it what you will, amnesty it will be – and work to create a new class of petitioners for government favor, regardless of eventual cost. They will downplay the fact that we have tried this before – in 1990 – and failed miserably. Their approach should be rejected out of hand.

Real immigration reform should involve as a first order of business, closing our borders. No, they cannot be made hermetic, but crossing can be made much more difficult than at present. All else is secondary, and those who balk at this step to enforce our sovereignty should be examined closely about their true motives.

Second, a guest-worker program should be established. Those already in the US should have to return home and apply, to regularize their status. No “path to citizenship,” nor any other enticement to stay illegally, should be offered; what one rewards, one gets more of – as we have seen in the past. Third, a reasonably foolproof worker identification system should be created, and employers should be made to use it – on penalty of severe fines and incarceration, not a slap on the wrist. If we are serious about terminating illegal immigration, we must eliminate its incentives.

None of this is terribly complex, all of it is in our national interest, and it can be accomplished quickly if our political class will place that national interest above their own.

Don’t hold your breath.

Summit County resident Morgan Liddick pens a Tuesday column. E-mail him at Also, comment on this column at

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