Skip to main content

See also:

Reality intrudes on broken immigration narrative

Ted Kennedy never had to press one for English
Ted Kennedy never had to press one for English
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

You’ve heard the war cry of fixing our broken immigration system so often it has become as ubiquitous as the Karashian’s and about as annoying. But is it broken and can we find evidence to back up that claim? To find out the truth was must look at immigration past. Whatever our conclusions we should review past efforts to fix the system and their results.

When speaking of past immigration the first things that come to mind are the US Mexican border and Ellis Island. Since numbers across the Rio Grande are not reliable we need to look to the gateway for immigrants, Ellis Island. In operation from 1892 thru 1954, twelve million immigrants entered legally past the Statue of Liberty and thru Ellis Island (Ellis Island). At the year of its closure this represented 8% of the US population. Today according to the US census there are 41.7 million foreign born living and working in America. This represents 13% of today’s population. It is estimated 28% of those 41.7 are here illegally (Census). Just in raw numbers that is four times the amount in almost the same amount of time. How is this broken?

Now we should look at efforts to repair the system that allows so many to enter the country. The most comprehensive change in immigration policies was the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. (Hart-Cellar Act) This act opened up what is referred to as chain immigration. Before this bill legal immigrants could only sponsor members of their nuclear family. (Wife, husband under age children) This act now permitted siblings, parents, and adult children. This bill also reset the quotes to favor immigrants from South America and Asia. This act was championed by Ted Kennedy and his brother Robert. Ted, in defense of the bill stated “The bill will not upset the ethnic mix of our society”. Robert Kennedy added “Set to rest any fears that this bill will change the ethnic, political or economic make-up of the US”. Lyndon Johnson when he signed it assured Americans “It does not affect the lives of millions. It will not reshape the structure of our daily lives”. This was all prior to “Press one for English” and Telemundo was required for basic cable. Also before Robert Kennedy was assassinated by an immigrant Palestinian who INS labeled “Asian” and would be a dreamer today since he entered the country at age 12. (Sirhan Bishara Sirhan)

The Hart-Cellar act just wasn’t enough so in the seventies refugee programs were added, the 1986 blanket amnesty which was in exchange for closing the borders, and the 1990 immigration act. Even handing out citizenship like lollypops at the border wasn’t enough to repair the system. So in 1994 there was temporary rolling amnesty (245i), extended in 1997 and for the 400,000 who missed the 1986 deadline covered in 2000. That same year the Life Act picked up another 900,000.

Now we know the history of our broken immigration system should we entrust the fix to the same people that tried so many times before? The same people that while preventing citizens from knowing the truth are advertising that 90% of illegal’s will never be asked to leave? The same Department of Homeland Security that now transports abandoned children to questionable families will secure our borders? If not our elected officials, who will protect us from this invasion? It would seem apparent to every informed person currently residing in these United States we don’t need any more bills, Acts, or laws. What we need is elected officials that will follow the existing laws, make good broken promises, or get the hell out!