John Fund on the trail, his piece at Opinionjournal.com today has a subheadline that says: “Limbaugh issues a warning to President Bush. — On Friday, Rush Limbaugh, a staunch Bush supporter, took two separate opportunities to warn the president that he faced conservative opposition on some key issues that could hurt his chances of passing the rest of his agenda in the second term. First was federal spending which is surging out of control. The other was immigration which Mr. Limbaugh told his listeners could break up the Republican conservative coalition ? la Ross Perot.” He quotes me as saying, this is an accurate quote, “We can’t maintain our sovereignty without securing and protecting our borders in an era where terrorists around the world seek entry to this country.” Warning to President Bush? I was actually warning the people in the audience as well as President Bush, I guess, but I was also warning politicians of all stripes about this. Now, let me just review in part what I said in these remarks that generated this story in the Opinionjournal.com, and there’s also a story at WorldNetDaily.com. The fact is this, folks. Our federal laws as related to immigration are being violated almost without consequence.
When that happens, our whole rule of law is undermined; the respect for the law and the authority of the very Congress and White House that passed and signed these laws, all these things are undermined. A nation that cannot control its borders cannot control its sovereignty. Now, both political parties have determined that it is in their political best interests to pander to illegal immigrants, and that’s exactly what they’re doing. Both sides are pandering to illegal immigrants for votes. They’re afraid to offend them, so important are these coalitions and this groupthink when it comes to politics rather than looking at the population as a whole in going after a population as a whole, the Democrats especially get into groupthink, but this whole notion of illegal immigrants as a group that we can’t offend, is something that both parties have basically signed onto as their best political interests to do so. The justifications, however, for people coming here illegally are simply not legitimate excuses for violating federal law. We don’t treat other lawbreakers with such kid gloves. A U.S. citizen doesn’t pay his federal income taxes because to do so would mean selling the family farm. He doesn’t get a pass. He has to pay up or serve time in the federal prison. What’s happening here is that politics is trumping security and the rule of law.
What’s very strange about this is that the political parties, both of them, are making the wrong political calculation. Most Americans, whichever party, oppose illegal immigration. What they support is legal immigration. But the Republican base, more so than the Democrat base, draws a line in the sand on this subject which is why it does in fact threaten to break apart the Republican coalition. Now, we’ve heard all the arguments. “Illegal immigrants are doing jobs that Americans won’t do,” and I used to believe that. There’s a part of that that I’m no longer willing to sign onto. Because if illegal immigrants are now doing jobs that Americans won’t do, then the government should increase the level of legal immigration, if that’s the case, a legal immigrant or an illegal immigrant is of the same caliber. So if immigrants are doing the work that Americans won’t do, then make those jobs filled by legal immigrants and follow the law. But there’s actually even more to it than this. Illegal immigrants drive down wages which is why they’re so attractive to a lot of business sectors, particularly Hollywood. They make certain jobs less attractive to citizens because they pay a lot less as a result and the benefits are frequently less as well so it becomes a self-fulfilling argument.
If illegal immigrants keep driving down wages and benefits, fewer and fewer citizens are going to want to do them. What’s so ironic about this particular argument is that if there’s a recognition that it costs too much to hire a citizen, then those who support illegal immigration on this basis or make this argument should be at the forefront in reducing the impediments to hiring U.S. citizens, but they’re not. Instead they’re out there demanding increasing the minimum wage, increasing the Social Security tax, increasing health care costs to employers, all of which drive up the cost of hiring U.S. workers, which makes illegal immigrants far more attractive from a cost analysis even then. So this whole self-fulfilling prophecy becomes a cycle. The strain on the hospitals and the schools that are overwhelmed with illegal immigrants, you add that in, and that they’re required to provide them with services, it’s enormous. It used to be that those costs were only felt in border areas in the U.S., but not anymore. There’s not a major city or state that isn’t feeling the cost of illegal immigration. Illegal, illegal. Close to 25% of the inmates in our federal prisons are illegal immigrants, and countries like Mexico are unwilling to take back many of the worst and most violent criminals, and this is becoming a major issue in California where even some Democrats are frustrated with Mexico’s conduct.
Mexico is actively urging its citizens to come, illegal, to the U.S. as a way of avoiding reforming their own government and economy — and money sent back to Mexico from the U.S. is the second or third biggest import in that country. Mexico is even considering allowing Mexicans who were in the U.S. illegally to vote in Mexican elections, to help further enhance the political influences of illegals in our country. And there are organizations set up in our country for the sole purpose of defending all this behavior, including going into our courts to block state initiatives and expand the benefits illegal immigrants receive in our country. Mark Levin has a chapter on all this in his latest book, Men in Black. I mean, the foreign minister of Mexico just last week threatened to go to the international courts to sue the people of Arizona over their Proposition 200, which denies all these services to illegal immigrants, and here Mexico wants to go to the international courts to tell the people of Arizona they can’t enforce American laws. Well, hell’s bells, folks! Now this is getting out of hand, all because of a bunch of political pandering? And I’m telling you, some guy’s going to come along as a candidate, like a Perot, and make sense on this and siphon off a bunch of Republican votes that would otherwise go to a Republican president, say, in 2008 or whatever, and voila! The coalition’s gone.
<a target=new href=”http://service.bfast.com/bfast/click?bfmid=2181&sourceid=38461944&bfpid=1893554732&bfmtype=book”></a>Now, look, folks, the most important issue about this illegal immigration business, though, relates to national security. As great as the economic impacts are, the national security issue is the most important one. Remember here, we’re talking about illegal immigration. You know, both parties — this story in the Wall Street Journal and others portraying me as warning President Bush, but I think both parties are pandering here to these groups that support illegal immigration, because they’re simply afraid to offend them for fear of what it might mean on Election Day down the road, and the problem is this: some slickster candidate like a Perot is going to come along and is going to start saying all the right magical things about this. And to the growing number of Americans, this immigration business is more so on the Republican side a draw-the-line-in-the-sand issue than it is with Democrats. So if some guy comes along ? la Perot and says the right things there is the potential for a number of Republicans to whom this is the single most important issue down the road, they’ll support the guy, and there you drive down the Republican candidate for president’s totals to 45 or 44%, and, voila! The third-party candidate again comes up with this opportunity here to sink a Democrat or send a Democrat into office by splitting the coalition.
I’m not saying it’s going to happen; this is one of the obstacles that’s out there. I’m trying to temper all this optimism I have with a little bit of reality, and my optimism is based in reality, but this is an issue that is festering out there. If we learned anything after 9/11, it seems to me that we must know who’s here and who’s coming here — and today more than three years later we don’t and we’ve got all kinds of left-wing groups that characterize any effort to identify people based on their place of origin as racial profiling. Even the TSA has bowed to this nonsense as an example. How can you have a guest worker program of the kind being discussed if you don’t take the steps to determine who’s here and why? And, even if you accomplish this, you tell these people that in six years or so when their guest worker terms have ended, that they have to apply for permanent status here, what’s to stop them from simple going underground for fear that they won’t qualify? Not much — and by then since you’ve encouraged millions more to come here, the problem is arguably worse, and the American people understand.
This is sort of like the House Bank issue: It was easy to understand. Members of Congress are able to go to a bank, their own bank and write checks for money they didn’t have. It was essentially not being limited by whatever your salary is. Need some money? Go write a check for cash! The House Bank will cover you, overdraft after overdraft after overdraft. Well, that’s not hard to understand. Neither is this because the word “illegal” is prominent, illegal immigrant. I mean, we’ve got all kinds of prosecutors day in and day out trying to enforce all kinds of laws but this one gets scant attention, and the American people understand it. It isn’t complicated. But for some reason the political leadership is unwilling or incapable or just not desirous of addressing it. I mean, they can’t even strengthen the driver’s license process, and the driver’s license was the document used most effectively by the 9/11 terrorists to move around in our country. Some of them had multiple illegal driver’s licenses. Now, let me add one more thing about this: Our laws permit the hiring of immigrants for jobs here in America, especially high-tech type jobs, and we should always make room for those whose skills are needed and we should always make room for political prisoners and we always have.
We allow hundreds of thousands of immigrants into our country legally every year, so no one is talking about anti-immigrant, an anti-immigrant approach here, despite the best efforts of the illegal immigrant lobby to say so — and there is an “illegal” immigrant lobby, and they’re trying to make all of those who oppose illegal immigration sound as though they’re opposed to all immigration. That’s not the case. In the past when we’ve had large influxes of immigrants. Again: the vast majority came here legally or were turned away. There were specific locations and centers they were required to flow through. They were checked for skills, criminal records, health issues, et cetera, but at no time in our history — and I want to make this very clear — at no time in our history has our government ever sanctioned the unchecked flow of illegal immigrants into this country. What’s happening now is unprecedented. It’s not going to take too many Prop 187s or Prop 200s that are overturned or attempted to be overturned, particularly by the government of Mexico, to enrage people and wake them up. Tim in Cayucos, California, you’re next. Welcome to the program.
CALLER: Hi, Rush, how are you today?
RUSH: Just fine, sir, thank you.
CALLER: Well, I’m a Republican, and I’m in the agricultural industry, and I don’t know how many people are aware of it, but I would say 70% of the labor in harvesting our food we gotta eat every day, comes from illegal aliens, and if we don’t have a guest worker program, we’re going to run out of food grown in California.
RUSH: Well, what makes an illegal immigrant far more employable to you than a legal immigrant?
CALLER: Well, most legal immigrants when they come here, or most people that live here, want to move up. You talked about we should allow high-skilled people in, but there’s very few replacement people on low-skilled. I helped people get legalized in 1986. Fifteen, twenty years ago, most of those guys are too old to be doing the fieldwork. We need young replacement workers. We’ve always needed that, and I think one of the reasons our country is so successful is because we have a very inexpensive food supply. How we gonna keep the labor coming?
RUSH: Well, you still haven’t answered my question. I understand the economics of what you’re talking about, but as I said earlier I think it becomes a self-fulfilling cycle. We keep employing people because they don’t cost very much, which encourages the process, which then causes Democrats to run around say, “Well, we need more Social Security taxes, and we need more health care benefits for these illegals,” and the legal people in this country are paying more in taxes, which ends up suppressing prices for people to do the work. What is different? Not all legal immigrants are high-tech. I specified high-tech because many in the semi-conductor industry in the high-tech business out in California are taking legal, educated immigrants from various countries around the world. But I’m not talking about those kind of people to go pick food and your crops in your fields. What is the difference? These same people that are coming in illegally, what would be the difference if those same people were allowed in legally and then you hired them? What would be the difference?
CALLER: Oh, no. I would love it if they were brought in legally.
RUSH: That’s all I’m saying.
CALLER: Okay, that has to be a major part of it, but every time that issue has come up over the last five or ten years it’s become so political nothing gets done, and I like the fact —
RUSH: Precisely, because both parties are afraid to tackle it, for fear of offending.
CALLER: No. Tom Ridge and George Bush are both willing to tackle it. Don’t say they’re not.
RUSH: Well, no, they’re not willing to attack the illegal aspect of it. I mean, they want to turn illegals into legal with a stroke of the pen and with a program. But to become a legal immigrant in this country you’ve got to go through a process, and these people are not, and we’re going to just waive that process and we’re doing it on the basis, “Ah, so many here we couldn’t take backward steps on it anyway.” Okay, even if you have an amnesty program, at some point, whether you call it that or not — guest worker program, whatever you want to call it — at some point we’re going to have to start enforcing all of this so that the immigrants that do get in here are legal, even the ones that end up working for you.
CALLER: Well, right, but have a guest worker program and have replacements and realize the fact that people can only do physical labor in fields for so many years, and you need to replace them, and this thing has been just out of control for many years, then maybe there’s millions of them. I know I speak to a lot of Mexicans in the farm, in the fields. They’ll all admit to me the documents they’re using are not real.
RUSH: You’re just making my point here, and all I’m telling you is: What you and I think about this is not going to be the factor down the road. If this keeps up, and people… You know, the people of this country get what they want, Tim. I made this point Friday night in the speech, too. They get what they want. The country, the people, wanted abortion. They got it. They found a way. The majority of the people at one time wanted it. They got it. There are exceptions, but in a representative republic the people get what they want. Now, sometimes, I know, liberals impose things that people don’t want via the courts and so forth, but for the most part, it’s what makes this country great, people end up, the majority gets what it wants. Not all the time, but quite a lot. When you see people in California and the border states start passing these initiatives and say, “We’re fed up with paying all of these benefits and education, health care and all this for illegals,” there’s a message being sent there, and this sentiment is growing beyond these border states. It’s not just Arizona. It’s not just California now. It’s becoming prominent in a number of other states that are nowhere near the southern border, and as this picks up steam and the public gets angrier and angrier and angrier as nothing is done about it, it’s going to have its point where it all collapses.
Then when you have this foreign minister of Mexico saying (paraphrasing), “All right, I’m going to sue the people of Arizona in an international court because I want the illegals from our country to get American benefits,” I guarantee you, you let the word spread into Arizona and California of that, and there’s going to be outrage about it. People aren’t going to put up with it, and at some point, and I don’t know when, that’s why I’m issuing this as a little veiled warning — and I could be wrong. I doubt it, but I could be wrong about this. I just think this is one of these things that’s effervescing out there, the people of Washington don’t get. This is not a problem in Washington, you know, the political parties are not — well, the Democrats especially are not attuned to this. A lot of Republicans are. Tom Tancredo and a number of others are concerned about it. I’m just waving a little pink flag here. It’s not yet red, but it’s close to being that way. If anybody would just make a serious effort to reverse the tide, get some inertia and momentum going in the opposite direction, it would show people that somebody, some people somewhere taking it seriously. Look, I appreciate the call.
You know, at the risk of offending our previous caller, the farmer, I think his call typifies the problem. I mean, his argument was that we won’t have agricultural workers or cheap food prices if we get tough to illegal immigrants. And some people say the same thing about the construction business, that we won’t have cheap construction prices because many of the construction workers are illegals. So if we don’t continue to keep the borders open all these cheap prices are going to go away, is somewhat absurd. Why should the American taxpayer have to subsidize agriculture? We do it in so many ways. We do it with price supports. We tell farmers not to grow crops and pay them not to grow them. The family farm is dwindling away anyway. Corporate farming is quickly overtaking the family farm. But even so, when you just get right down to it, I’m sure people have an answer for me. “Well, we need to subsidize the agriculture business so we can eat cheaply. People have to eat, Rush! You can’t get around that: People have to eat.” Ah, fairness and so forth. All right, so the American people are supposed to subsidize the agriculture business. The American people end up paying for the social safety net for the illegals, so really how cheap is all this? We’re paying for it in other areas; it’s called taxes.
So while we think our food is cheaper because we’ve got illegals, we’re having to pay for all of their social benefits and their health care and education, welfare benefits and all of that. We may pay less for asparagus, but in the end we pay more, don’t we, in the form of taxes for other services? And these are the costs that never get factored in because you never pay it anyway. It’s just deducted from your paycheck so you don’t see it. But if there was a line item, if you got a bill every month from the government, this is what you owe for illegal immigrant health care, education, and welfare, I guarantee you the end would be at hand for subsidizing American business. The same people, the same people who support illegal immigration keep demanding that we raise the minimum wage. Now, somebody explain the logic in this to me. You price Americans out of the market, while at the same time encourage the use of illegals, and then you come around and say the American people don’t have a “livable minimum wage” and we need to raise it. Well, we don’t have a livable minimum wage because we have to raise it because we’ve got illegals doing jobs. And it’s all done under the guise of, “It’s helping us live cheaper, Rush,” but in the end it isn’t. Everything gets paid for and in this country the people pay for everything. Government pays for zilch because the government doesn’t have a dime until they take it from us.