Don't expect an amnesty for illegal aliens any time soon, says Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
The nation's unemployment is now over 9 percent; it may peak beyond 10 percent and in many western states, such as California, the jobless rate may climb even higher:
-- The old notion that "illegal immigrants pick the lettuce that Americans refuse to" is an ossified stereotype; in fact, today less than one out of 20 illegal aliens currently do farm labor; most are engaged in construction or the service industry, or are homemakers with childcare responsibilities.
-- While plenty of unemployed American citizens may still not yet wish to pick oranges, the jobless might consider taking jobs like hammering nails or working in restaurants.
Many states are broke and taxes are rising; the public is questioning all sorts of government entitlement expenditures:
-- In California, the latest budget crisis saw a $26 billion shortfall -- at a time when some studies put the state's net health, housing, education and criminal justice costs for some 3 million illegal aliens at over $10 billion a year.
-- Yet illegal aliens who receive government help somehow can send money back home to Mexico (of the 11-12 million illegal aliens believed to be residing in the United States, well over half are thought to be Mexican nationals).
-- Each alien on average may send back perhaps $3,000-$4,000 per year to Mexico -- making their total of $25 billion in remittances a major source of Mexico's national income.
-- So the money sent south may approximate much of the cost of providing support for the nation's resident illegal population in the first place.
Finally, Mexico has seen the worst spate of drug violence in its recent history --threatening to reduce the government to the status of a narco-state like Colombia in the 1980s. Over 7,000 Mexican citizens have been killed in gun battles so far this year between government security forces and the drug cartels. Who wants that violence to keep spilling over into major U.S. cities like Phoenix and Los Angeles, asks Hanson?
Source: Victor Davis Hanson, "Voting Present on Illegal Immigration," Jewish World Review, October 29, 2009. For text: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1009/hanson.php3
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