How Illegal Immigration Finally Turned Off the Public
2. The Law
The old canard that without law there is nothing did not resonate with voters in connection with illegal immigration until the 21st century. As long as there were only one or two million illegal immigrants apparently the public turned a blind eye. No longer. Extremists took legal noncompliance to an entirely new level of Orwellian arrogance. Suddenly, as if by fiat, the illegal-immigration lobby banned the term “illegal alien” -- as if they had never read a word of 1984 or Animal Farm. They dreamed up “sanctuary city,” a reactionary, neo-Confederate idea of legal nullification, whose logical trajectory is the implosion of the entire idea of federal laws constitutionally supreme to state and local statutes. They lied by insisting that entering the United States illegally was simply a minor misdemeanor, when most Americans knew such unlawful entry was the beginning, not the end, of negating the law -- inaugurating years of fake IDs, false Social Security numbers, second and third identities, and deliberate filing of untruthful federal and state documents.
Then the myth arose that criminality among illegal aliens was in fact lower that found in the general population, as if it mattered not at all that a quarter of all federal prisoners were in the United States illegally, or that some states reported that more than a fourth of their felonies were attributable to illegal aliens, or that around 20,000 illegal aliens from south of the border were routinely incarcerated in California prisons alone. Completely lost in the back and forth was the old notion that an immigrant, legal or illegal, was supposed to be a guest, whose behavior should be the model, rather than defended as no worse than those whom he joined.
The public tired of the unfairness in the applicability of the law. How had it come to pass that illegal aliens were not subject to enforcement of federal laws in the manner that all citizens most surely were? All Americans file through passport control when flying home; they are met by stern uniformed bureaucrats who are not an especially forgiving bunch for missing or lost documents. How could it be that millions by virtue of their ethnic fides were not subject to the same scrutiny? And if one law were to be waived, why, the public wonders, not others equally inconvenient?
People finally tired of the postmodern notion that to stop endemic illegality we were supposed to change the language rather than the reality. Americans are not quite yet ready to be Soviet subjects who are to embrace Newspeak, and apparently resented the assumption that they were.
Mexico itself has become quite unpopular. Accordingly to recent polls, never have Americans had more negative views of Mexico than during the era of Obama. Americans tired of being told that Mexico did not like the U.S., when the real truth was increasingly the opposite. It is not just the daily news of cartels, beheadings, and corruption that made Mexico unattractive, but the cynicism of the Mexican government itself.