Let’s Finally Be Intellectually Honest About Illegal Immigration

A few years back I had the distinct honor of interviewing The Heritage Foundation’s Mike Gonzalez—an immigrant who escaped the horrors of the Castro regime in Cuba— for a series I did on the stories of legal immigrants. He spoke of the day they escaped to Spain on the backs of a few precious travel permits:

“Even as they made their way to the airport, Mike’s mother knew that the permit could be revoked right on the tarmac, or worse, she could be taken into custody for “betraying” her country by leaving.

She quickly explained to Mike and his sister that the Iberian Airlines jet was their goal. If she was detained, they were to run to the plane. Once on board, they could ask the crew for political asylum, since the plane, its crew, and its airline were Spanish, it was officially Spanish territory.”

That’s political sanctuary or “asylum.” It’s the idea that—if you reach another country’s territory—you can petition for asylum sanctuary on the basis of severe oppression at the hands of your government.  We have that here too—though there are strict parameters.

When I look at what’s going on around the country in the name of “sanctuary,” it boils my blood. Millions of illegal immigrants who have poured across our borders now benefit from the policies that “sanctuary cities” (and now quite possibly sanctuary states) have put in place—actively preventing their law enforcement from looking into a person’s status or working with federal authorities to detain dangerous criminal illegal aliens.

What is going on is not asylum—it’s lawlessness, global laziness, and utter cultural invasion.

It’s “lawlessness” because while we have immigration and asylum laws in place that can be followed to gain access (yes, believe me, I personally know it’s a mess and needs reform) to the United States, millions of immigrants have collectively flipped the proverbial bird at those laws in order to come here and reap the benefits anyway. Ironically enough these people claim to be escaping lawlessness in their own country—but whatever, right?

It’s “global laziness,” because scores of leaders around the world (including our friends directly to the south) refuse to do anything to fix the situations in their own countries (economic and otherwise).

It’s “cultural invasion” because millions of these people who have so blatantly broken our laws then turn around and refuse to assimilate. We’re not talking race, people.  It’s about ideals. There are plenty of people around the world who want to benefit from what we’ve created here in the United States, and yet have zero intention of personally subscribing to the ideas that made us great.  Instead, they see no problem importing the same cultural swill (like the socialistic totalitarianism that has completely raped Central and South America) that they left behind—and somehow not seeing the problem with that.

We have a real problem in this country—both with illegal immigration AND the bureaucracy mumbo-jumbo of the legal system for those trying to do it the right way. We need to have a serious, open, and intellectually honest (that means no political bumper sticker, talking point, ad hominem, red herring nonsense) conversation about immigration.

And it starts by knocking out the lies:

1. Sanctuary cities make us safer.

I’ve been hearing this one time and again these past few months—to my utter and complete bewilderment. “Wait, refusing to follow immigration law and in fact banning law enforcement from doing so makes us safer? In what universe?”

I finally heard someone semi-explain it Wednesday night with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.  In sum, the sanctuary mayor of Lansing, Michigan finally go around to explaining that if people (read: illegal immigrants) see the police as an “occupying force” instead of an ally, it’s not helpful.  Pro-tip: when someone breaks the law to get here, they don’t get to worry about whether or not a cop should be their pal. You know, because laws. And frankly, whether 1 or 1,000 illegal immigrants go on to commit crimes in their sanctuary havens is irrelevant, which brings me to #2:

2. Illegal immigration is a victimless crime.

The idea here is that their only sin is crossing the border illegally in the search for a better life. And believe me—I’ve seen what some of these people are coming from. It isn’t pretty. But I’ve digressed. Jorge Ramos loves to talk about how (supposedly) only 3 percent of illegal immigrants are “bad hombres.” You know what? Make it 99%. For kicks and giggles, let’s say 99% of all illegal immigrants are upstanding citizens aside from their disregard for immigration law. Does that bring back Kate Steinle, shot to death in front of her father in San Francisco by an illegal alien? Does that bring back the innocence of the two year old in New York who was raped by a 4-times deported MS-13 gang banger? Does that bring back Matthew Denise, struck and dragged by a drunk driver? There are scores of stories just like this, of lives forever changed by people who weren’t supposed to be here in the first place. Indeed, does the so-called fact that “most illegal aliens are decent people” change anything for the 1% who is affected by crimes that are 100% preventable?

For the record illegal immigrants make up “13.6 percent of those sentenced for all committed crimes in the country, 12 percent of murder sentences, 16 percent of trafficking sentences, 17 percent of drug-trafficking sentences and over 33 percent of federal sentences overall.”

3. Illegal Immigrants are less likely to commit crimes.

This one is simple: 100% of them broke the law. Which (I’m fairly certain) is a how we define “crime.” It’s irrelevant what they bring (or don’t bring) to society. Each illegal immigrant is here because they first broke the law.

And while this isn’t popular to point out, illegal immigrants are in fact more likely to commit crimes in California, New York, and Arizona (three states heavily-laden with illegal immigrants):

State Illegal immigrant prisoners out of every 100,000 illegal immigrants Legal immigrant/citizen prisoners out of every 100,000 legal immigrant/citizens
Arizona 68.57 54.06
California 97.2 74.1
New York 168.75 48.12

4. Immigration enforcement needlessly and cruelly separates families.

Besides the fact that children are not forced to stay in the U.S. if their parents are shipped back to their countries of origin, the onus really is on the parents here. They chose to break the law in the first place. It’s all on them if their children’s lives are in upheaval when the ramifications of their actions come home to roost.  If I went and robbed a bank tomorrow and got sent to jail, how many news outlets would be covering the fact that my daughter no longer has a mother in the house? I’m betting on zero. Choices, my friends. Choices.

5. Immigration laws are racist and scary.

And people like Jorge Ramos run around spreading that lie. Some in my own family are scared to come and visit us here for fear that they’ll be stopped and interrogated simply for being Mexican. Let me say this loud and clear: It’s not race. It’s not being “scared of brown people.” It’s about:

  1. Safety. (Remember, preventable crimes.)
  2. Protecting our ideals from those who don’t want to embrace them.
  3. The rule of law.

It’s that simple.


Let me be frank: the race-baiting, fear-mongering, false equivocating nonsense are intellectually lazy arguments, and dangerous propaganda with a real impact on real people. And guys, we can’t have this critical debate if we’re not dealing in facts.


Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show (TheBlaze Radio Network, M-F, 3-5. ET). She can be reached at: afuturefree@aol.com; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree

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