The International Implications Of Immigration Reform: Keeping Latin American Communism At Bay
One of the more controversial theories that I've floated on the subject of comprehensive immigration reform has been my hypothesis that anti-reform proponents would be alarmed to discover that an unforeseen, (by them), consequence of the mass deportation or attrition of millions of undocumented immigrants, would be to bolster communism in Latin America. I've detailed the reasoning behind this disturbing possibility in several articles that I've written, most recently in an article that ran in the Des Moines Register the week before the Iowa Caucuses.
As we have all come to realize in recent weeks, Iowa evidently stands in the forefront of a secret mass infiltration of undocumented "illegals". Understandably, Iowa's double-digit wave of illegal aliens has usurped their public consciousness, delegating all other issues facing this country to the back burner. In all seriousness, there was not a lot of positive support in that state for my pro-reform opinions. Actually, that is why I submitted the article there. No sense always preaching to the choir.
One response that I received as a comment on the Des Moines Register website was very interesting, and I'd like to share it with you and discuss its significance, because I think that it bears further review. One reader responded to the following passage from that article with this comment:
"It would alarm them to find out that their anti-immigration reform stance is pro-communist, in that it would facilitate and bolster the growing communist and/or socialist movements that have been making huge progress in Latin America in recent years". - anti-illegal-immigrant is now pro-communist? That's a first for me! ....I think I'm going to puke. 12/28/2007 9:16:57 AM
It might not be terribly eloquent, but it is a "gut" reaction. As an author of sorts, it is rewarding to be able to elicit emotions from one's readers. Believe it or not, this fellow echoed the exact response that I was aiming for. Deporting our illegal immigrant population back to primarily Latin America would boost the communist or socialist movements in that part of our hemisphere, and if the anti-immigrationists only understood that fact, they might re-think their "line in the sand" position on what they insist on calling "amnesty". I say great. By all means, let's explore this issue in some detail.
First of all, the primary reason why millions of undocumented economic refugees migrated to the United States is because the economies of their home countries were unable to support them. They escaped extreme poverty and oppression, and risked literally everything that they had, including their lives and their freedom, to come to this country to try to work hard and support themselves and their families.
Communism thrives where hope is lost. The economies of Latin-American nations are struggling to barely reach a level of meager subsistence for the population that has remained at home, (Mexico, for example, has already lost 10% of their able bodied young male workers to U.S. migration). Without the billions of dollars in remissions from these nation's expatriates working in the United States that go back to help support their remaining family members, the economies of many of these countries, (most of whom are in fact our allies), would certainly collapse, or at least deteriorate to dangerously unstable levels.
We need to ask the following questions: What would happen if our policies and actions were to seriously interrupt the incoming flow of U.S. dollar remissions to those countries, due to our deporting back to those already stagnant economies several million additional hungry people to add to their unemployment ranks? Would these two catastrophically negative forces create additional socio-economic burdens that would cause problematic and undue stress on those third world nation's under-funded infrastructures? Would the people of these countries place at least part of the blame for the worsening of their problems on the United States, especially the millions of disgruntled refugees that were deported by us? Would the fragile political structures of these weakened countries face the possibility of de-stabilization? Would communist and socialist leaders in that part of the world, such as Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, use this weakness and anger to further their own agendas? Would Mexico, (the country that would be adversely affected the most by these actions), be put at risk, considering the major shift to the left that Mexico has already been undergoing in the past couple of years? And finally, would it be in the best interest of our national security to have an increasingly communist government on our southern border, especially considering the recent alignment of socialist Venezuela to Iran, and also considering our current icy relationships with other communist countries such as North Korea and Cuba?
If the answer to any of these questions is not favorable to our nation, then I say we have to seriously take another look at immigration reform, right away. If the answers to ALL of these questions are not favorable to the United States, (hint: the answers ARE all unfavorable to the United States), then by all means we have to publicly discuss this, because turning a blind eye toward this ticking time bomb is a serious mistake. Can we, as a nation, afford additional serious policy blunders in a post Iraq geo-political climate? (I don't think that I need to give a hint on this one, or at least I hope that I don't).
The issue of comprehensive immigration reform is not simply a domestic issue. In our modern global economy, everything that we do, as the leaders of our global economy, affects the entire world, and most especially our region of the world. If we were to naively initiate actions that would lead to the destabilization of the Mexican and many Central and South American governments, while at the same time causing serious harm to our own economy, (but I digress), it would most assuredly lead to disastrous economic and political consequences.
By the way, I'm not simply theorizing here. In point of fact, over the past few years, several countries in Latin America have elected leftist leaders. Just this week, Guatemala swore in their first leftist president in more then 50 years, Alvaro Colom. He joins a growing list. Additional countries besides Guatemala, Venezuela, and Nicaragua that have sworn in extreme left wing leaders in Latin America recently include Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Uruguay. This phenomenon is not a coincidence, it is a trend.
Most of the people that are against immigration reform like to brag about being "Reagan Conservatives." Would Reagan approve of emboldening communism among our neighboring countries, (or anywhere on the planet, for that matter)? Frankly, it is puzzling to me why Reagan Conservatives are so adamantly opposed to immigration reform, when Reagan himself was very proud of his pro-immigration reform efforts back in the '80's. Instead of lamenting how Reagan's pro-reform policies had unintended consequences, why don't we learn from what went wrong and why, and make a more modern and effective reform bill that Reagan would have, and the rest of us could be proud of? The fact of the matter is that the Reagan Immigration Reform legislation wasn't really ill conceived. The reason that it failed to secure our borders as it was intended to was due to Reagan's staunch refusal to allow any growth in our government bureaucracy. To properly implement the legislation would have required the hiring of many additional government employees, and Reagan - who strictly adhered to his philosophy of smaller government - was against, and therefore wouldn't authorize, any growth in Government.
Upon signing his immigration reform bill in 1986, President Reagan wrote the following passage, "Future generations of Americans will be thankful for our efforts to humanely regain control of our borders and thereby preserve the value of one of the most sacred possessions of our people: American citizenship." The technological tools that will be required to implement a modern immigration reform are available to us now in 2008. Things like biometric identifications weren't even conceptualized back in 1986. We can fix today what Reagan tried and failed to do 22 years ago. Doesn't it make sense to build upon Reagan's legacies of humane immigration reform and anti-communism, instead of tearing them down?
Robert Gittelson has been a garment manufacturer in the Los Angeles area for over 25 years. His wife, Patricia Gittelson, is an immigration attorney with offices in Van Nuys and Oxnard, California. Robert also works closely with Patricia on the administrative side of her immigration practice. Throughout his career, Mr. Gittelson has developed practical, first hand experience in dealing with the immigration issues that are challenging our country today.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.