By Edward B. Driscoll, Jr.
To hear amnesty advocates tell it, Americans who oppose illegal immigration are heartless haters. They want to build an impenetrable wall to lock the tired, poor and huddled masses of the world out of the land of the free.
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California liberals have been peddling that fear-mongering fiction for decades, and it is big part of why the Golden State has lost its luster. The extremists who equate reasonable immigration policies with racism and xenophobia hide the truth of their politically correct gospel because rational people would reject it otherwise.
"If proponents of so-called reform detailed exactly what they wanted," historian Victor Davis Hanson writes in his new e-book, "The Decline and Fall of California," "American voters would never support their self-interested agendas." He exposes their shell game with the truth in six essays on immigration.
VDH's essays, taken from his weekly column at PJ Media.com, reveal five facts the zealots won’t admit:
- Illegal immigration is the beginning of a life of crime. The lawbreaking that starts at the federal level necessarily trickles down to the state and local levels as transgressors work to conceal their identities. Illegal aliens drive without licenses, car registrations or automobile insurance, and they flee accidents; they falsify affidavits; and they work off the books and dodge taxes. "The normative culture is lawlessness," Hanson said.
- Illegal immigrants get all the legal breaks. State and local officials in California play favorites when enforcing laws. They ignore the transgressions of people who aren't supposed to be in the state and throw the book at citizens and legal residents. Hanson noted, for example, that he would be fined for burning just one grape stake on his farm if it violated environmental rules, but illegal aliens in his area regularly dump garbage by the road and live in motor homes with illegal wiring and sewage. "Executive authorities compensate for their impotence in not enforcing statutes for some by excessively enforcing them on others," he said.
- Sanctuary cities roll the dice with public safety. Sanctuary is a noble idea that is robbed of all honorable meaning in the immigration debate. It becomes an excuse for hiding criminals like Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who killed Kate Steinle in a random shooting. San Francisco gave shelter to a seven-time felon who had been deported five times, and a young woman lost her life as a result. Hanson called the crime "the dangerous wages of ignoring the law," and unfortunately, sanctuary cities reap them far too often.
- Would-be immigrants who work within the system suffer. With so many people crossing the border illegally from Mexico and Latin America, there is less room for immigrants who obey the rules. "The losers," Hanson said, are the Kenyan dentist, the Filipino nurse, the Estonian doctor, the South Korean architect, any who are not Latino, any who do not break U.S. immigration law, and any who have professional degrees and skill sets to offer America."
- The poor and middle classes bear the brunt of needy illegal aliens. California is home to one-sixth of America's welfare recipients and has the largest percentage of people living below the poverty line. Many of them are immigrants who soak up a limited pool of state resources. Their presence impacts public schools, emergency care and other social services. "Many citizens simply avoid emergency rooms because it has increasingly become not a source of prompt life-saving attention but a more complex landscape of translation, investigation and law enforcement," Hanson said.
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