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Do Republicans need to press for immigration reform? Part 2

Steve Israel (D-New York)
Steve Israel (D-New York)
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

As predicted, Democrat law makers and pundits are pushing the false narrative that Republicans are racist. You will be hearing this at least through November, despite its lack of merit. On Sunday, Steve Israel, D-New York, on CNN's "State of the Union" claimed the anti-immigration faction of the Republican party is animated by racism. Mr. Israel's simplistic and unproductive accusation is intended to stifle debate. But, he is very wrong.

Racism is not necessary to justify opposition immigration reform.

Republicans are split on the issue of immigration reform with the more conservative faction strongly in opposition to any reform that proposes any form amnesty. The strength of the anti-amnesty sentiment may very well give the impression that it is racially motivated. However, there are many reasons to oppose amnesty that have nothing to do with racism.

Not only is living here without permission a crime in itself, illegal immigrants account for a vast proportion of violent crimes. In addition, these immigrants often displace citizens in the job market. We have an enormous unemployment problem in the U.S., it is a complete mystery why some wish to exacerbate the problem by glutting the market with cheap labor. When the ability of a citizen to provide for her family is seriously impeded because employers are paying illegal immigrants less, anger is a natural reaction. There is nothing racist about wanting a fair shot at providing for yourself and your family. On top of everything else, report after report has demonstrated that illegal immigrants impose an enormous tax burden on state and federal government services. There is nothing racist about objecting to immigrants coming to the U.S. only to become dependent on government services. This is antithetical to U.S. tradition. In fact, self-sufficiency is the law, one of the many that are not followed by a large number of immigrants, both legal and illegal.

Illegal immigration may contribute to racism.

The negative impacts of illegal immigration are widely known and frequently reported. Anger, frustration, even outrage over these negative impacts on our society and our economy are frequently mislabeled as racism for political purposes. The real problem, however, is that these problems have not been addressed in decades, despite our awareness of them, allowing the problem to grow bigger and bigger, continuing to cause more harm to our society and our economy.

As the problem has grown, those experiencing such anger and frustration have projected those sentiments on to all similar minorities, even those who are here legally. Consequently, allowing illegal immigration to continue unchecked actually contributes to racism or, at least, the appearance of racism. After all, why should anyone respect a group of people who have engaged in the wholesale rejection of our national sovereignty and the rule of law?

The U.S. has around 11 Million immigrants illegally residing within its borders, with some estimates suggesting as much as twice that number. Illegal immigration must be addressed and it must be addressed soon because of the harm it causes. The question is how can we strike a balance between being a beacon of freedom and prosperity without further eroding or economy and social structures?