By Howard Foster -
I’ve become a single-issue anti-amnesty voter. Immigration, both legal and illegal, have done more to move the country leftward since 1965 than anything else. Mitt Romney would have easily won in 2012 if we had the same electorate that elected Reagan in the 1980’s. The addition of 20 million Hispanics, regardless of what one thinks of them on a micro-level, have added more than 10 million to the Democratic base in presidential elections. Nothing else, campaign tactics, and gaffes much matter if we are in a demographic death spiral. So the first question I ask of anyone seeking my support is "What are your views on immigration both legal and illegal?"
We currently have a million legal immigrants per year, a number that makes no economic sense when unemployment is high and we can’t afford to expand entitlement programs. A candidate who favors border enforcement, i.e., cracking down on illegal immigration, is not addressing the true problem. Under current law, all citizens have the right to sponsor their parents, children and spouses for lawful permanent residency. That means immigration should be thought of in multiples of three to five. One million this year means several million more in the near future. And the effects of that on the electorate are felt for decades to come.
State Senator Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) used to oppose illegal immigration and ran a TV commercial in one of his many unsuccessful campaigns showing a filled –to- capacity Soldier Field to illustrate the magnitude of the problem. His point was we get something like a Soldier Field full of illegal immigrants per week.
That may no longer be true today, but he was right to create such an effective visual for TV viewers. The ad was condemned by the usual suspects, even though it was accurate, and Oberweis has reverse himself on the issue as form of atonement. Now he wants no change in legal immigration and wants the 10-15 million illegals in the country to stay on a “guest workers.”
The Oberweis campaign web site touts this idea as a new Bracero program, which let several million Mexicans work in agricultural jobs as “guest workers” from the 1940’s until it was terminated in the late 1950’s . The program certainly provided ample cheap labor for growers. But it was marred by shenanigans to deprive the “guests” of their wages, and caused the wages of Americans doing the same jobs to plummet.
Many of the “guests” committed crimes here, and the overall situation grew so toxic that the Eisenhower administration rounded up all of them for prompt deportation. Chicago was one of the hubs of the removal program, meaning that rather than leave the country like a good guest should when his welcome has expired, they mestasized throughout the nation. The Oberweis campaign evidently doesn’t know much about this topic, and that probably accounts for why it misspelled the name of the Bracero program, calling it the “Rosario program.”
The implications of a guest worker program for every illegal immigrant are unfathomable. Here are just a few questions Mr. Oberweis needs to answer: 1. Would illegals who have criminal records be eligible? 2. How would the U.S. government know if they have criminal records in their home countries since Mexico and Guatemala not have not made that data available to us; 3. What we do with illegals from the Middle East? 4. Would these guest workers be eligible for public benefits? 5. Would they be allowed to sponsor their spouses and children for immigrant visas?
And regardless of what Mr. Oberweis would like to do with them, currently everyone born on U.S. soil is a citizen by birth- even if the parents are here illegally. So how ever we want to classify these “guest workers”, non-citizens, legal residents, people here on work permits, their children are here for good and will be voting when they turn 18. Anyone seriously interested in talking about immigration reform must address this. More foreign workers produce negative implications for U.S. workers, and toxic implications for the Republican vote. A candidate willing to take such a position to sell himself to the rest of the electorate is not worth supporting.