Sowell on Ice: Gingrich and Immigration

Only a complete fool would argue with Thomas Sowell, so I must be a certified fourth member of the Three Stooges, because I am going to take issue with his Human Events piece, "Gingrich and Immigration."

In the article, Sowell disputes Newt Gingrich’s proposal that -- after our borders are duly sealed, not the sieve they are now -- long term illegal aliens, who have been law abiding citizens, be granted the ability to stay in our country, though not to become citizens.

Gingrich’s reasoning is that it would be inhumane to split up families with mass deportations, particularly of older people. Sowell responds:

Let's go back to square one. The purpose of American immigration laws and policies is not to be either humane or inhumane to illegal immigrants. The purpose of immigration laws and policies is to serve the national interest of this country.

There is no inherent right to come live in the United States, in disregard of whether the American people want you here.

Sowell lost me right there. What “American people” is he talking about? As a forty-year resident of Southern California, I can attest... indeed would even swear on the proverbial dead grandmother... that the vast majority of the middle and upper middle classes of my state -- Democrat, Republican, or independent -- have been knowingly employing illegal aliens for decades. They may have felt guilty or ambivalent about it, but they voluntarily used illegal aliens to build their houses, pick their fruit, mow their lawns, wash their laundry, babysit their kids, etc., etc.

Until relatively recently, when the economy went sour, everyone I knew employed illegal aliens one time or another, except for those who planned on running for office. (And many of them, as it has turned out, did too.)

So Sowell is asking us to believe in some mythological “American people.” In the real world it was something else again. There was an entente cordiale between the illegal aliens and those that employed them. It was all a big wink.