January 02, 2019

First Order Of Business For New Congress? Close The Border, Open The Government

The first order of business for the new Congress will be securing the border and shutting down illegal immigration rather than shutting down the government as it’s currently doing now.

Critics dishonestly try to portray proponents of the border wall as anti-immigrant. That’s not true.

We all agree we want and even need immigration. But there has to be a limit. We like indoor plumbing, but we turn off the faucet before our house is flooded.

When it comes to immigration, no one’s turning off the faucet and we have a flood.

If you go to the hospital emergency room, you’ll find illegal immigrants who don’t speak English and don’t have insurance.

If you go to elementary schools, you’ll find illegal immigrant children who don’t speak a word of English. Your own fifth grader is getting shortchanged because her teacher has to help a classmate with “see Spot run” instead of grade-level course work.

Bilingual help for hospitals, courts and schools costs far more than the $5 billion President Trump is asking for to end the shutdown.

But at the same time taxpayers are forced to pay more, they are earning less thanks to uncontrolled immigration.

Working Americans get paid less because they’re competing for jobs against the same people we’re teaching how to speak English.

A flood of low-paid, low-skill immigrants affects everyone even in occupations that don’t have a high percentage of immigrant workers. Harvard immigration economist George Borjas documents how those displaced by illegal immigrants will take whatever other jobs they can find, driving down wages in those other sectors.

And this may be the most compelling reason to get a handle on the immigration spigot and turn it down.

We’re bringing in people not because they have some special skill that Americans don’t have but because they’ll work for less money than Americans will.

While exploitative employers want cheap labor at all costs, Democrats and open-border sentimentalists say it’s “our responsibility” to help these poor migrants who want a better life.

But what about the poor people in Baltimore or North Philadelphia or the South Side of Chicago or Portsmouth, Ohio or the Mississippi Delta who want a better life?

They are here through no fault of their own and they are “dreamers,” too. Don’t we have a responsibility to help them?

Or how about the ex-convicts and former inmates who want a second chance at building a good life and just got one thanks to President Trump’s criminal justice reform?

How about we help them by creating the conditions where employers will pay them a decent wage instead of importing a bunch of poor people who will work for less.

As for the popular “we’re a nation of immigrants, it’s who we are” line, sure, fine. But when my great-great grandfather (or whoever it was) came to America in 1898, there wasn’t Social Security, food stamps or anything else like that waiting for him.

He knew when he got here he had to work or starve. He left his family behind knowing there was a good chance he’d never see them again. (And honestly, they were probably happy to see him go — but that’s another story.)

America got those with the guts to run away and jump into the unknown — and only those. They made America the home of the brave who are ready to build something new.

We’ve gone from prioritizing legal immigrants who knew the only way to survive was to work and become Americans, to caravans of illegals who bum-rush the border knowing they can get food stamps, health care and an Obamaphone if they don’t get the job my kid needs to move out of the basement.

That’s how uncontrolled immigration is not only robbing American labor, it’s also robbing the younger generation.

Illegal immigrants often take the entry-level jobs that teach young people how to work, to show up on time and be presentable. These life lessons exceed what’s in the pay packet, which has added value because you earned it yourself.

By using illegal labor we can cheat out of a decent day’s pay, we are cheating our children out of these valuable lessons.

For the sake of America’s poor, America’s working people and America’s younger generation, Democrats must close the border and reopen the government.

-- Curtis Ellis, Senior Policy Advisor for America First Policies

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