Before getting into the WSJ editorial published today, let’s look at a recent poll. It’s a Rasmussen poll, published Aug 12, 2007.
Seventy-nine percent (79%) of American adults favor a proposal requiring employers to fire workers who falsify identity documents. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 9% are opposed while 12% are not sure.
The survey was conducted as the Bush Administration announced a series of proposals designed to crack down on illegal immigration. One proposal would require companies to fire workers if proper documents are not provided by the employee within 90 days. While this proposal has upset some immigrant-rights leaders, most Americans would like to go even further—74% believe that if a person wants to rent an apartment they should be required to provide documents proving they are in the country legally. Just 17% are opposed.
Seventy-nine percent support is indicative to anyone but the stone blind that a broad swath of the US public supports enforcing immigration law. The poll is similarly cheery for the pro-enforcement side, which includes the vast majority of Republicans.
Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Americans believe it is Very Important to improve border enforcement and reduce illegal immigration. That view is held by 80% of Republicans, 62% of Democrats, and 64% of those not affiliated with either major political party. Those figures are little changed from earlier in the year.
How, then, can a political party that is beginning to coalesce around stronger enforcement, and two of the top three of whose presidential candidates are trying to out-enforcement each other on the campaign trail, possibly be “melting down” over immigration enforcement?
The sub-head takes a whack at Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani for their recent back-and-forth over the issue. The Journal says that the two are just angling for the “Lou Dobbs chair.” Perhaps, though, seeing as they’re hoping to get elected President of the United States and doing do requires support from at least a plurality of the voters, they’re trying to get on the winning side of a major issue by articulating positions that the public actually supports to the tune of about 4 in 5 voters. Hmm…which is more likely to be true, I wonder.
The rest of the editorial is similarly nutty. It attempts to piggyback on Giuliani’s ridiculous assertion that his allowing NYC to become a sanctuary city helped lead to the drop in the city’s crime rate (the “broken windows” enforcement used to get the credit for that), mocks ICE raids from the point of view that since they haven’t found a jihadi fruit-picker yet they must be useless, and once again threatens that you’ll end up paying more for your lettuce if the feds really enforce immigration law. This section bears a little closer inspection, though.
Under the new rules, scheduled to take effect next month, businesses with workers whose Social Security numbers don’t match their names could face criminal charges and heftier fines. It’s hard to understand the rationale of a policy that holds employers responsible for the inability of the federal government to produce secure Social Security numbers.
This isn’t actually all that difficult to implement. Most businesses don’t hire new employees every single day, so presumably they won’t find themselves buried in SSN checks on a constant basis. We have a national system for checking gun purchasers’ backgrounds at the point of sale, and that system is instantaneous: The clerk punches in the information, and back comes the sale or no sale information in seconds. It’s not perfect, thanks largely to variations in state laws governing who can and can’t purchase firearms and to fraud, but it works very well most of the time. Why can’t we do the same thing with Social Security Numbers, which among other things are used to access billions of dollars in federal benefits and can be used to steal innocent peoples’ identities? Those numbers ought to be secure; the nation’s porous borders actually contribute mightily to their insecurity, and the WSJ contributes its own weight on the side of that insecurity.
And if we actually secure the border, such checks will become less and less necessary over time. That’s also something that the WSJ editorialists don’t want to happen.
But hey, don’t blame them. They may not be looking out for your security, but they’re sure enough looking out for your salad.
Getting back to the WSJ’s theme, there is a meltdown underway, and it’s on the amnesty side of the argument. When you have to resort to comparing repeat offenders to runaway slaves (a formulation that makes Mexico, hilariously, the slave master), your side is the one that’s melting down. And your side is melting down because nearly 4 out of 5 Americans are on the other side, and they’re right. Contrary to what the WSJ thinks, immigration enforcement is a winning issue for the GOP.