How much is too much when it comes to illegal immigration, or even legal immigration? At what point do we finally return to the universal principle expressed by Calvin Coolidge in 1925 that “our Government owes its first duty to our own people”? Well, unless the DHS finally slams the door shut, it appears that Central America is a bottomless well waiting to be emptied out into our country, primarily through dangerous smuggling over our land border.
According to a recent survey of Guatemalans conducted by the Association for Research and Social Studies and Barometro de las Americas, 39.2 percent of Guatemalans would like to migrate, 85 percent of them to the United States. Which means that roughly 5.6 million Guatemalans would like to come here, not including the close to one million who already came here in recent years. The survey was reported in a local Guatemala City paper, Prensa Libre, and was picked up by the Daily Caller.
According to the survey, taken of 1,596 Guatemalans and published last Thursday, 58 percent of respondents said they had relatives in the United States. As the Prensa Libre article notes, family reunification and “lack of employment and poverty” are why they desire to come here. It’s self-evident that this has nothing to do with asylum and everything to do with economic reasons. Liberals and many faux conservative supporters of amnesty defend illegal immigration as a natural consequence of a “broken” legal immigration system, where it is impossible to come here legally. The problem with that assertion is that the period of illegal immigration has overlapped with the most protracted period of legal immigration expansion and has originated from the countries that have had a monopoly on our legal immigration. According to Pew, 50 percent of all immigrants since 1965 have come from Latin America, the primary source of illegal immigration. Specific to Central America, before the recent surge, “the number of immigrants from Central America) has grown 28-fold since 1970, from 118,000 to nearly 3.3 million in 2018 — six times faster than the overall immigrant population,” according to the Center for Immigration Studies. In fact, 18 percent of El Salvador’s population is already here, if you add the immigrant population in America to those remaining in their home country.
If anything, it is clear that the liberal premise is contrary to the reality – that the more we hand over the keys to immigration to a particular area, the more people will come through all available channels – both legal and illegal – to join their friends, families, and communities.
Now, in addition to legal immigrant chain migration, we are incurring illegal immigrant chain migration from Central America, whereby illegal aliens who are already here are “sponsoring” Central American teens in their families to be smuggled here by the cartels and resettled as “unaccompanied” refugees to live with families who themselves are supposed to be deported.
The bottom line is that unless the administration begins shutting off all migration requests at the border, the record numbers we are seeing every month with take years to abate. If the same percentage of people who would like to come here from Guatemala hold that view in El Salvador and Honduras, that would be roughly 10.7 million people ready to march north under the right circumstances.
Has anyone given any consideration to the cost of such a migration, much less the cultural, social, and security problems inherent with it? At a $140,000-$150,000 price-tag per migrant, using the input and methodology of the Center for Immigration Studies’ Steven Camarota to calculate the cost of illegal aliens to the American taxpayer, that would work out to be $1.5 trillion for the net fiscal cost of such a flow.
And those are just the top three countries of origin of those coming here illegally today. Migration from Nicaragua is already picking up. Is that the next shoe to drop? A number of people are coming from Cuba and Haiti in the organized caravans. Then there are numerous individuals from African countries and even the Middle East as well.
The question for the open-borders crowd is, if we have an obligation to accept any economic migrant at our border, our laws notwithstanding, shouldn’t we have a moral obligation to land boats in 100 or so countries and bring in anyone who desires to come? At least in that case, we’d cut out the cartels and smugglers and deny them the revenue to propagate evil.
Or, of course, we can preserve America as a beacon of light with responsible levels of lawful immigration that work, first and foremost, for those already here.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.