When asked why he supports amnesty for illegal aliens, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) always answers that the Senate bill for which he voted last year is not amnesty. He says he voted to end “perpetual amnesty” for the 11-million illegal aliens in the U.S. Oddly, Lamar doesn’t seem to know the difference between being a fugitive from justice and enjoying amnesty.
Alexander has repeatedly explained his vote for the Senate immigration bill, which created a new pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal aliens living in the country now, by saying he didn’t vote for amnesty. He voted to end perpetual amnesty. His logic is that the U.S. will never deport most of the illegal aliens living in the country now, so as long as the government takes no steps to change their status, they are, in effect, living under perpetual amnesty.
One would not expect a U.S. Senator to confuse the words “amnesty” and “fugitive,” but he has. If you live in the shadows, and every move you make exposes you to the possibility of arrest and deportation, that’s not amnesty. You are a fugitive from justice. The odds of escaping punishment may be in your favor, but it’s still a far cry from amnesty, from both an economic and freedom standpoint.
Senator Alexander and others argue that the Senate Immigration bill is not amnesty because the path to freedom requires the payment of fines and back taxes. The penalty on the books for illegal immigration to the U.S. is deportation. The penalty in the Senate bill is $1,000.
How does the penalty of $1,000 compare with deportation? What would the penalty in today’s law – deportation – amount to if translated into a fine? Let’s do the math. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income of Hispanics in the U.S. is $34,000. In Mexico, it’s about $4,000. So, deportation amounts to a penalty of about $30,000 a year for the rest of their working lives. The Senate Immigration bill reduces that penalty to a one time fine of $1,000 per person.
Even if you accept the argument that granting freedom and citizenship is not amnesty if one is required to pay a penalty to access the benefit, I submit that when you eliminate 99.9% of the penalty, which the Senate bill does, the only purpose of the so-called “penalty” is to give politicians a rhetorical shield behind which to hide in order to pretend to be opposed to amnesty.
A fugitive can make a living in the U.S, but he can’t earn as much as his legal friends can because U.S. employers cannot legally hire him, so illegal labor can’t demand as high a wage. Living as a fugitive extracts a much higher penalty than the Senate immigration bill. And, there is never real freedom as a fugitive. “Doing nothing” is much more harsh than the Senate bill.
The amnesty, for which Sen. Alexander would charge only $1,000, includes a $1 million lifetime earnings prize - the difference between the lifetime earnings of a Latino in the U.S. and Mexico – assuming a 40-year work-life.
Despite his protestations to the contrary, Sen. Alexander voted for amnesty for the 11-million illegal aliens in the U.S. He voted to allow them to be able to come out of the shadows –and he voted to allow them to become U.S. citizens – with the $1 million average lifetime earnings potential that goes with it.
The question is “why?”
What does the United States get in return? For one thing, we get a lot more of the same. A provision in the Senate bill allows the 11-million illegals who gain Registered Provision Immigrant (RPI) status, to apply for the same status for “individuals outside the U.S.” who are “spouses or children of a U.S. citizen or LPR (lawful permanent resident), parents of a child who is a U.S. citizen or LPR, or individuals who meet certain requirements under the DREAM-related provisions that are included in the bill.” According to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), that will mean more than 30 million additional grants of permanent legal immigrant status over 10 years. Now, we’re up to 40 million new (mainly Latino) voters in the not too distant future?
What else will it mean to the U.S? Will these new 40 million (give or take a few million) Hispanic immigrants change the cultural, political, and economic fabric of the U.S.? They will represent about 10 percent of the population. How the U.S. benefit? Sen. Alexander should answer that question, and let the voters consider his answer.
The Eagle Forum published a report earlier this year, making the case that the anticipated immigration to the U.S. (whether 11 million or 40 million) would doom a conservative Republican Party. The study used Pew Research numbers to prove both Hispanics and Asians in the U.S. favor much bigger government than Republicans, especially conservative Republicans.
You don’t have to believe the Eagle Forum, although their evidence is pretty solid, just look at Latino voting patterns over time and ask whether conservatives should want that voting block to increase by 11 or 40 million. Even Ronald Reagan, who signed the last amnesty bill, and George W. Bush, who led the charge for more amnesty during his two terms, got only 38 and 43 percent of the Hispanic vote in the two elections that represent the Republican Party’s high water marks with Hispanic voters since 1976.
That’s not hard to understand. Nearly all countries in the world have been more socialistic than the U.S. for decades, or longer. Their people are much more comfortable with redistribution of income than most Republicans – or at least that’s what their Pew survey answers and voting patterns suggest.
The line between culture and politics is blurry. Culture drives the politics, and a surge in citizens whose culture embraces redistributionist government policies cannot help but drag our own government farther to the left.
The divide between liberals and conservatives in the U.S. is wide in its principles, but narrow in its numbers – for now. A major increase in the number of culturally and political liberal Americans would be, at minimum, “problematic” for conservatives. It could easily cement an era of unprecedented liberalism in public policy, an era which free-market economic theory teaches would also produce a period of austerity the likes of which no current generation of Americans is, or wants to become, accustomed.
The effect on the Republican Party is less clear, except that the response by the party, under Lamar’s vision, would likely be to “go along” with the change and move even farther to the left than establishment Republicans have already moved – in order to try to get the votes of the new voters.
That is why illegal immigration is such an important issue in this U.S. Senate campaign.
One candidate in Tennessee, Rep. Joe Carr, accepts and has acted on the overwhelming evidence that shows the Senate Immigration bill would greatly jeopardize the restoration of the conservative vision for the United States, a vision of smaller government, lower taxes, free markets, free people and a lot more prosperity for all.
We don’t know what the other candidate – Sen. Lamar Alexander -- believes, because he won’t tell us. He will only say that his vote for the Senate bill was not a vote for amnesty – that it was a vote to end perpetual amnesty. That’s a non-responsive, nonsensical answer.
So, I’ll ask again. Sen. Alexander – why do you support amnesty for illegal aliens? What is that going to do for America?