Selling Compassion Makes the Immigration Issue Intractable

The other day, I heard an illegal immigrant on the radio suggesting that it wouldn’t be fair to send young adults to a country from which their parents had emigrated when they were children, even if they had done so against their destination-country’s laws.  Frankly, in that narrow case, I’d agree.  The parents would be another story, and parents whose children are still minors would be a third case.

The problem is that the activists on the Left — who’ve been aided and abetted by President Obama, sanctuary cities, and others for years — don’t want us to separate the cases.  They’d rather tie the hard cases to those that a majority of Americans would see as more obvious candidates for deportation in order to muddy the waters.

That’s not the only way in which their strategy for activism plays a role.  Here’s a suggestion from Andrew McCarthy, who makes a reasonable point from the political Right, although I’m not sure I agree with him 100% (emphasis in original):

If I had my druthers, we’d go back to a system in which the federal government was responsible for setting the terms of citizenship and securing the borders, while the states decided how welcoming to be to non-citizens. But with this caveat: the states pay their own way.

If the people of Chicago and San Francisco want their cities to harbor illegal aliens, that would be fine with me as long as the attendant welfare and security costs were born solely by those cities and their state governments. (By contrast, I applaud Governor Greg Abbott of Texas, who has announced a plan to ban sanctuary cities by cutting off funding for cities that refuse to enforce the law.) But states that permit sanctuary cities cannot not expect the rest of us pay for their largesse and defiance. If they refuse to enforce the laws, they must be cut off from federal funding. Otherwise, they make all of us accomplices in both lawlessness that we reject and policies that exacerbate the problem of illegal immigration.

But the activists on the other side would never go for that, because they want their own lawlessness to bind everybody else to the expense.  More generally, from the local level up to the national level, they see a political entity as a way to make other people fund the projects and policies that they favor.  Indeed, being able to bill people across the country for local government services is the key business model of the government plantation.  Importing people who require services increases the work for government officials and supporters and gives them pretense to confiscate money from others.

If it weren’t for that prime motivation, the country could find its comfort point and be compassionate in the hard cases.  Unfortunately, we’ve allowed an entire industry to grow within and around government that isn’t as concerned with compassion as with selling it… or rather, forcing other people to buy it.

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