Pundit and trial lawyer Kurt Schlichter has written a strongly worded article telling Republican candidates for President how they should think about immigration. The tone suggests that he's not very open to changing his mind. Nevertheless, the points he makes call out for a response.
This early paragraph gives you a feel for his tone:
Some of you and the GOP Establishment (yeah, it exists) don't think illegal aliens are a problem. They are. And the people suffering aren't yahoos and rubes hatin' on them brownpeople from Mex-eeee-ko. They are fellow Americans who see their property overrun and stolen, their children murdered by gangbangers or slaughtered by drunk drivers, and their taxes raised to pay for the medical care and schooling of people who shouldn't be here in the first place.
Actually, all of the objections in the last sentence are legitimate. Some illegal immigrants have overrun and/or stolen property. Some illegal immigrants have murdered children. Some illegal immigrants have driven drunk and killed people. And some illegal immigrants do use medical care and schools that are paid for by taxpayers. Of course, it's also true that in each of these categories of actions, legal immigrants and U.S.-born citizens have done far more.
So what specifically does Schlichter object to about illegal immigrants? He lays down five principles.
Number One: We Americans have an absolute right to decide who does and doesn't come into our country and the conditions under which they may do so.
Immigrants have no right to be here. None. They may be granted that privilege, if we choose to grant it. And we may take it away, too.
But who is "we." Does he mean the government? Does he mean U.S. citizens? He doesn't tell us. I know that, as a U.S. citizen, I've never had the power to decide who does or doesn't come to this country. We haven't even had that power collectively because we have never had a federal referendum on the issue. Also, what if I, a citizen, want an immigrant to come to this country so I can rent him an apartment or hire him to trim my tree. Mr. Schlichter seems to be saying that I should be able to have the immigrant come here. After all, as an American, I have, in his words, "an absolute right to decide." Ok. I've decided I want that guy to come. But we all know that that's not what Mr. Schlichter is saying. He's saying that the government has the right. At least I think he's saying that.
Mr. Schlichter writes:
Number Two: If you commit a crime, you get tossed out.
Break our laws and you're gone. Murder (if we don't off you), robbery, dope selling, drunk driving, jaywalking. No discussion. No second chance. Out.
I get it with murder and robbery. I also get why, although I disagree with them, many people would like immigrants kicked out for dope selling. But jaywalking? Really? That's enough to get someone turfed? And what happened to my "absolute right" as an American citizen to have the person stay here?
Number Three: Build a real wall, across the whole damn border, and guard it.
We must stop the flood, decisively. We must build a real - not virtual - wall and staff it with sufficient border guards. We must end "catch and release." Instead, it must be "catch and dump back into wherever the hell they came from." We also eliminate the anchor baby problem if we don't let the mother ships stay in port.
And no, Mexico is not going to pay for the wall. Of all Trump's dumb ideas, that's the most insultingly stupid.
Schlichter surely knows that many of the people who are here illegally came here legally. So a wall would do little to stop them. He and I do agree though that Mexico, by which I assume he and Trump mean the Mexican government, is never going to pay for a wall.
Trial lawyer Schlichter writes:
Number Four: Send illegals home by enforcing hiring practices through civil law.
Let's unleash the power of trial lawyers by granting individual American citizens the right to sue employers who hire illegal aliens under a federal unfair competition law. A lot of people rightly worry about a government police state intruding into private business. So let's grant our workers the right to sue employers who hire illegals for damages for displacing American citizens from American jobs, and let the attorneys do their thing. And when the illegal aliens' jobs dry up - because they will overnight - then the illegals will...wait for it...self-deport. Finally, a way to use lawyers for good instead of evil.
I didn't know that trail lawyers were "leashed." That would come as a surprise to many firms in the United States. And setting trial lawyers on employers would not just reduce jobs for illegal aliens. It would also reduce jobs for Americans. Trial lawyers could easily shake down employers who would rather pay, say, $20K or $30K than have to prove that they hired legally. Knowing this, they would be less likely to be employers.
Number Five: No pathway to citizenship. Ever.
See, the minimum expectation for an aspiring American citizen is respect for our laws, which an illegal, by definition, does not have. So, no illegal has met the minimum expectation, and none should ever be a citizen. I suppose this serves our interests as conservatives too, since most illegals seem to want to vote for the Democrats and their pro-"Let's give free stuff to people who didn't earn it" agenda. So what? I am unclear about the origin of any moral obligation on our part to dilute our voting power by enfranchising political opponents who shouldn't be here in the first place.
He seems to assume that people who are working illegally all know that they are doing so. That's probably true for most people here illegally. But it wasn't true of me. I worked at the University of Rochester on an F-1 Practical Training student visa and then, when I earned my Ph.D., applied for my green card. The Labor Department did not certify me until 2 months after my practical training visa expired. I learned that the hard way at my immigration interview, when the Immigration and Naturalization Service official told me that my interview was officially over and that the INS was legally required to undertake deportation proceedings. By Schlichter's standards, I would never have been allowed to become a citizen.
However, I would bet that the vast majority of immigrants would have the view I had: that they would gladly give up the possibility of citizenship in order to live and work here legally. In any case, I think it's reasonable to have, say, a 20-year residency requirement for citizenship so that people can learn more about the country before being able to vote. I must admit that my biggest disappointment in becoming a citizen is being able to vote. I've voted in almost every election since I became a citizen in 1986--and it hasn't made a difference yet. It turns out that what I teach my students about the unimportance of a single vote is--true.