Yeah, Yeah, “Attrition Through Enforcement”—But It`s No Substitute For An Immigration Moratorium
There are dozens of
reasons to oppose mass immigration. But with 14.8 million Americans unemployed as of January and another 10.4 million working part-time involuntarily or too discouraged to look for work, and with President Obama calling jobs the
Number One issue, the
displacement of American workers by
immigrants jumps out.
There are currently eight million
illegal aliens in the workforce, and the federal
1.5 million work visas every year. Dealing with
these two issues would immediately solve the
unemployment problem. The two obvious steps are:
Numbers USA along with a few prominent commentators
Bay Buchanan, and former Congressmen
Virgil Goode and
Tom Tancredo have called for a moratorium. But
there`s barely been a peep
inside the beltway.
Rep. Lamar Smith, who has been a
leader in the fight against legal and illegal
immigration, issued a statement “President
Obama could create eight million jobs for
citizens and legal workers simply by enforcing
immigration laws.” [Obama
Ignores Eight-Million `Stolen` Jobs,
December 3, 2009].
Eight million = the illegal alien presence in the
Federation for American Immigration Reform, the
largest patriotic immigration reform organization, which
spearheaded earlier moratorium campaigns, has produced
numerous press releases bringing up the jobs issue, such
as this one after the President`s State of the Union:
But we could just as easily send
out a release saying:
“FAIR`s focus on Putting Americans Back to Work Missing Key Element,
Says VDARE.COM: A
Moratorium on Legal Immigration Could Open Up 1.5
Million Jobs a Year.”
The closest a moratorium has made
it to Congress is Roy Beck of Numbers USA`s
testimony at a Republican congressional hearing.
Why? I`ve talked to a few Hill
Staffers who claim that it is just not
to urge for a moratorium—that we can only do
“one thing at a
Bunk! If we can only deal with half
of the mass immigration problem, a moratorium is more
practical and pressing than cracking down on illegal
This may seem counterintuitive in
an age where intoning “we
welcome legal immigrants” has become a standard
preface before Republicans and conservative talk show
hosts say anything against illegal immigration. But hear
displaces more jobs than illegal immigration.
Yes, 8 million is more than 1.5 million, but we are
talking about 1.5 million legal immigrants
total foreign born population in the American work
force is 23.9 million–just about the same as
the total jobless population in the US.
That means there are two legal
immigrant workers for every illegal immigrant workers.
modicum of enforcement and a poor economy, the
illegal immigrant population is growing much more slowly
than it was a few years ago.
Some believe it`s shrinking.
Smith and FAIR both support dealing
with immigration through the attrition strategy. But
even its own advocates claim attrition would only reduce
the illegal alien population by 1.5 million a year. Not
all of those illegals will have jobs and CIS
estimates that 183,000 of those illegals would leave
anyway. So a legal immigration moratorium will save more
jobs total per year,
and in the long
run, than attrition.
Furthermore, though it becomes
harder to deal with the illegal population the longer
they stay, we can still legally send them home without a
huge deal of red tape unless they get amnesty. However,
of the 1.5 million visas we issue each year, over half
are permanent work visas. And it is still easier for a
legal temporary worker to get
permanent residency than an illegal alien.
A moratorium on legal immigration
is also a much simpler task to undertake.
To underscore the simplicity of
cutting down legal immigration, I will make a
removing the illegal alien population from the United
States, whether by attrition and/or mass deportations
cannot happen overnight, won`t be free, and will lend
itself to plenty of politically costly sob stories.
As I say,
Through Enforcement” has become the preferred method
for Congressional Republicans and Beltway immigration
patriots to deal with illegal immigration. It entails
reducing welfare for illegal aliens, increasing
cooperation with state law enforcement officials in
deporting illegal aliens who
commit other crimes, and keeping illegals out of the
This is a good start. But not every
single illegal alien has a job, is on welfare, or
commits additional crimes. Many illegal aliens will try
to work under the table, while others will just become a
Emergency rooms and
public schools are the most costly government
services used by illegal aliens, and they are currently
off limits because of
According to the Center for
Immigration Studies—which more or less invented
the attrition strategy—a fully implemented attrition
agenda would reduce the illegal population by 1.5
million annually at a cost of 400 million dollars a
Through Enforcement, April 2006]. Depending on
what estimate of the illegal population you accept, this
will cost between $3.2 to 6 billion over eight to 15
If we want to get rid of the
population faster, attrition needs to be coupled with
large scale deportations. Without a single politician
supporting mass deportations (that`s
another story), it`s a safe bet
we won`t be able to repeat
Operation Wetback, where we send illegals
straight back to Mexico on buses. Nor will we be
able to use “racial profiling”,
although it would be entirely reasonable.
It will take some serious law
enforcement costs to locate the illegal aliens. Then
they will be held in detention facilities, and there
will be legal costs for the deportation procedures.
Finally, I will also be the first
to admit that some illegal immigrants are perfectly nice
people, were brought here by their parents as young
children, have roots in the community, and/or have young
Citizen children. Any successful removal of illegal
aliens will be
sob stories about these hardships that will
demoralize many erstwhile opponents of illegal
And of course, the price of
enforcement is paid back several times over by the money
saved on government services. For every sob story of a
honor roll anchor baby whose mother was deported, there
are a dozens of
unreported stories of victims of
illegal alien crime, people whose
neighborhoods were destroyed, or jobs were undercut
by illegal aliens.
benefits of dealing with illegal immigration greatly
outweigh the costs. But there`s no denying that there
are some costs.
contrast, an immigration moratorium
will not cost a
dime. All it requires is a swipe of a pen that
changes a law.
it be the source for any sob stories, because we are not
dealing with any actual separated families or honor
students, not to mention the fact that reporters are too
poor and lazy to go out of the country to find some
imaginary immigrant who dreams of saying the Pledge of
can`t deport X million illegal aliens”
Wrong, of course.
But immigration enthusiasts can`t
say “You can`t change visa levels.”
Well, actually they can, of course.
Immigration enthusiasts are
capable of anything. But they would be even more
obviously wrong than usual.
"Washington Watcher" [email
him] is an anonymous source Inside The