Earth to WSJ - Clueless on immigration

By Mark Krikorian, Center for Immigration Studies, published in the National Review Online, January 28, 2004

Now, I like the Wall Street Journal. But its editorials on immigration always have a whiff of the Soviet about them. Like an apparatchik blaming the collapse of the USSR's agriculture on 75 straight years of bad weather, the Journal's writing on immigration has no connection to reality. Tuesday's lead editorial claims that the United States has tried in vain for two decades to enforce the immigration law, and now it's time to try something new (namely, the president's guestworker/amnesty proposal). The piece is laced with the usual libertarian contempt for conservatives, with such leftist smears as "extreme," "restrictionist right," and "nativist wing of the GOP," and even refers to "undocumented," rather than illegal, aliens.

But it's the basic factual claim of the piece that's so absurd. The new party line is that open borders aren't just desirable (a la the Journal's perennial call for a constitutional amendment abolishing America's borders) they're inevitable...

Actually, I agree. The problem is that the "new thinking" we need is a commitment to enforce the law. Over the past 20 years, we have done almost nothing to control immigration except beef up the Border Patrol...

The Journal claims that the ban on hiring illegals, passed in 1986, has been tried and failed. Again, this is false. Enforcement of this measure, intended to turn off the magnet attracting illegals in the first place, was spotty at first and is now virtually nonexistent...

And even under this flawed system, the INS was publicly slapped down when it did try to enforce the law...

The INS got the message and developed a new interior-enforcement policy that gave up on trying to actually reassert control over immigration and focused almost entirely on the important, but narrow, issues of criminal aliens and smugglers...

...when we have tried to enforce the law, it's worked, until we gave up...

The Journal's editorial writers, despite their many strengths, suffer from the malady of all utopian ideologues: an unwillingness to acknowledge facts that are inconsistent with infallible theory.

Read the complete article.