Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Is It the Illegality—or the Immigration?

“What part of ILLEGAL don’t you understand?” has become the rallying cry—the rallying cliché, even—of immigration hawks across the land. Its point is to underscore what hawks incessantly insist: that they are not opposed to immigration per se. It’s the law-breaking that yanks their chain.

But that veneer is wearing thin. Take a video produced by the nation’s largest immigration advocacy group, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). “With 14 million Americans out of work, attention is finally turning to the millions of illegal workers in the country,” says a man standing amid block letters that spell the world ILLEGAL. “It’s about time. But what about these workers?” he asks, indicating the LEGAL. “Legal foreign workers: more than 1 million legal immigrants and temporary foreign workers our government admits every year. They take good jobs in places like Ohio—no matter how many people are out of work, or how ‘ILL’ our economy gets. We need to slow legal immigration until Ohio is working again.”

You might chalk that up to opportunism in tough economic times. Just one problem: It’s FAIR’s long-standing policy. A 2000 report by the Anti-Defamation League noted then that FAIR’s stated aims were to “end illegal immigration” and “to set legal immigration at the lowest feasible levels.” Twelve years later, FAIR still describes its goals as promoting “immigration levels consistent with the national interest” and educating “the American people on the impacts of sustained high-volume immigration.” Not illegal immigration, you’ll note – any immigration. Read more......

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