The distinction between legal immigration and illegal migration makes all the difference in the world. At issue is the American impulse to extend freedom, counterbalanced by the undocumented aliens’ desire to usurp it.
Thus, to consider what liberty means to us, we must directly reference an inspirational source:
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome …
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
– From “The New Colossus” (1883) by 19th century American poet Emma Lazarus
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Based upon the above description, is it any wonder a more famous part of this sonnet—referring to “huddled masses, yearning to breathe free”—has been inscribed on a bronze plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty?
Inscribed since 1903 upon that monument, this message conveys a uniquely American spirit. It’s defined by humanitarianism and economic generosity. In cultural terms, it has translated into our “melting pot” philosophy: a warm embrace of foreign-born citizens. Speaking of the statuesque and the great is our own current first lady, Melania Trump, born in Slovenia (formerly Yugoslavia). For any newcomer, who’s a better symbol of the American Dream than she?
To that end, the U.S. permits more legal immigration than any other country in the world. That accounts for about 20% of the world’s migrants. For context, based upon available 2015 figures from Pew Research Center, some 43.2 million people living in the U.S. were born in another country. Add to that 277.7 born on native soil, and we arrive at 320.9 million: America’s populace for that year. Given that the world’s population then was approximately 7.2 billion, that means there’s a 1 in 26 chance of being born stateside. Hence, not really good odds for the inhabitants of economically challenged Third World countries!
Yet, Liberty’s “golden door” was never intended to be an open border policy. As a metaphor, that would be like throwing one’s home open, at any time, to perfect strangers—allowing said “guests” to permanently reside—and expecting positive results. Compounding that disturbing dynamic is the general caliber of these criminal interlopers. For starters, they have already violated U.S. immigration law. Also working against them are cultural barriers, usually a lack education and specifically, English language proficiency. Even worse is an inability to find gainful employment legitimately. Under these obviously adverse conditions, is it any surprise that so many turn to crime to survive?
A recent government count of incarcerated aliens bears this out. As of June 24, 22% of the U.S. prison population, or 42,000, are in federal prisons. Per the Prisons Bureau, the average cost of incarceration for Federal inmates (exemplified by Fiscal Year 2015) was $31,977.65. (Per inmate, per day, that’s $87.61—or roughly 1.3 billion dollars per year!) Recall, per Social Security, the typical employee made $48,098.63 that year. So, astonishingly, housing a criminal cost 66% of what that average U.S. employee earned! And that is just the tip of the fiscal morass perpetrated by this shadowy underclass of 11 million squatters.
Globally, per the Washington Times, a new study from the Center for Immigration Studies finds they will drain nearly $750 billion from U.S. taxpayers over their lifetimes. That’s six times the cost of mass deportations. However, the cost is more than strictly economic. As these aliens predominantly congregate in failed Democratic-controlled urban centers, like Chicago, San Francisco and Portland, is it any surprise that these sanctuary cities are hotbeds for criminality inflicted against the law-abiding? Tragically, that’s seen most graphically in a one-man crime wave that is Mexican Sergio Jose Martinez, 31. Reportedly deported 20 times for progressively more serious offenses ranging from drug possession and burglary to auto theft and hit and run, he’s currently accused of raping a 65-year-old Oregon woman as well as the same-day attempted kidnapping of a 24-year-old female while wielding a knife. If released again, will he cause the death of some innocent like Kate Steinle?
Meanwhile, House Bill 3464—a bill to expand Oregon’s sanctuary status with no Republican support—sits on beleaguered Governor Kate Brown’s desk. Specifically, the measure prohibits state and local agencies from sharing information with federal authorities, or inquiring about a person’s immigration status except as required by state and federal law. The high profile brutalization of one, and the threat of bodily harm to another, has galvanized state Republicans. Senate Minority Whip Dennis Linthicum said:
“[Sanctuary states] excuse lawless behavior and perpetuate criminal, rape and gang cultures. Every Oregonian should be outraged to see criminals let loose into the streets. Career Democrats shouldn’t sacrifice Oregonians’ safety on the altar of their extreme political agenda.”
Unfortunately, as state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Governor Brown spearheaded this harebrained effort, it seems highly unlikely that mounting political pressure will suddenly compel a veto. Therefore, how are these Democratic leaders not indirectly complicit in Martinez’s crimes? In any case, shouldn’t public safety always trump their politically correct social engineering? Indeed, to be effective, our democracy requires acclimation to agreed upon laws, a common language, and basic standards of civilized conduct.
At every level of community—from the local to the state to the national—the United States is individually and collectively owned, and financed, by her citizens. Would progressive politicians host and subsidize the uninvited and the violent in their personal dwellings? Therefore, how is it not insanity for them to advocate free rein for the unvetted and the lawbreaking within America’s homeland? In any case, the waste of U.S. resources to mitigate the fallout from Democrats’ dystopian schemes is appalling. Still, at least that exorbitant expense is measurable. What isn’t is the domino effect of illegals’ criminality: the invisible human cost exacted by victims’ anguish and suffering. That price—which liberals completely ignore—is incalculable.
David L. Hunter is an Associate Editor at “Capitol Hill Outsider.” He’s on Twitter and blogs at davidlhunter.blogspot.com. He is published in The Washington Post, The Washington Times, “FrontPage Mag,” and extensively in “Patriot Post,” “Canada Free Press” and “American Thinker.”
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.