Taking Our Country Back: From Whom?

 

Let’s assume, for fun, that Donald Trump’s supporters are thinking with their brains, not their viscera. If so, they will want to know that the issue he has lassoed for self-aggrandizement has been utterly demagogued. Trump is playing them for chumps.

A young woman was murdered by an illegal alien in a so-called “sanctuary city.” Awful, of course. San Francisco’s officials bear some of the blame for Kate Steinle’s death by declining to enforce the law.

But Trump has abused the trust of his audiences by suggesting that an illegal immigrant crime spree is the great threat to our nation. Trump admirers yearn to “take our country back.” From whom? From Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Al Sharpton, the New York Times, Jon Stewart, and Hillary Clinton? Or from Mexican illegals?

The United States is very much in decline, but the role of illegal immigration in that slide is negligible. Our lack of economic growth, our withdrawal from world leadership, the decline of work and the rise of dependency on government, law flouting by those in power, the degradation of our entertainment culture, rent-seeking by entrenched interests, the stultifying politicization of education (especially higher education) – to say nothing of the nuclearization and enrichment of the world’s worst terror state – those are the great challenges we face.

Obama’s flagrantly illegal waiver for illegals living here made everyone who values the rule of law see red. (The judiciary has thus far stayed the amnesty.) And yet, a little perspective is in order.

Illegal immigration is declining. Between 1990 and 2007, the number of illegal immigrants tripled. In 2000, an estimated 1.6 million illegals entered the United States. Since 2012, that number has dropped to about 400,000 (even accounting for the flood of underage migrants last year).

We’ve built fences along all but the most inaccessible areas along the border. Over the past decade we’ve spent $10.7 billion on fences, cameras, and other measures, including doubling the number of border patrol agents to 18,000. We’ve also spent billions on biometric identity management and other things, bringing the total expenditure for border control to $16.2 billion last year. Those truly serious about ending illegal immigration altogether must grapple with national identity cards. Another fence isn’t going to do it. Forty percent of illegals are visa overstays.

The population of illegals here is aging, which suggests that fewer young people are making the increasingly treacherous journey across the desert. Meanwhile, the dramatic drop in Mexico’s birth rate, from 7.3 children per woman in 1960 to 2.4 today, suggests a problem that is on the way to solving itself. Demographers say that when the birth rate falls below 2, emigration stops. Other Central and South American nations are experiencing similar drops.

As for the epidemic of crime for which illegal aliens are said to be responsible – it’s a myth. Crime rates have declined as immigration has increased. Much has been said about the percentage of federal prisoners who are illegals and/or Hispanic. But federal prisoners represent only about 14 percent of total U.S. inmates, and according the Bureau of Justice Statistics, only 7 percent of federal offenders are incarcerated for violent crimes (most violent crimes are state matters). As the Pew Research Center notes, the past two decades have seen a spike in the number of immigration-related crimes leading to federal prison sentences. These “unlawful reentry” convictions have changed the complexion of federal inmates. Whereas in 1992 Hispanics comprised 23 percent of federal inmates, that share has grown to 48 percent today.

Second- and third-generation Hispanics commit crimes at higher rates than non-Hispanic whites, but at lower rates than African Americans. As for the foreign-born, that is, first generation immigrants, for the most part, they keep their noses clean. The American Immigration Council records that “among men age 18-39 (who comprise the vast majority of the prison population), the 3.5 percent incarceration rate of the native-born in 2000 was 5 times higher than the 0.7 percent incarceration rate of the foreign-born.”

Having stoked rage about illegal immigrants, Mr. Trump now urges that after deporting 11 or 12 million people, he will “let the good ones come back,” force Mexico to pay for a “wall,” and “impound remittances” from “illegal wages.” A candidate for student council president of a third-rate high school could devise more serious solutions than those. But then, student council types tend to be in earnest. Trump is simply on the ultimate ego trip.

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  1. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Mona Charen: Trump admirers yearn to “take our country back.” From whom?

    From career politicians who don’t listen to the voters.

    I’m not a big fan of Trump, and his recent “conversion” to new, conservative positions is questionable.  On the other hand, if he does what he says he’ll do, he might get “hired” to do the job.

    I don’t care about the political leanings of the guy we might hire to replace our front deck, as long as he does the job I hire him to do.

    The same with Trump.  If he can stop this invasion of our country by illegal aliens, I’m all for it.  I get tired of “press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish”, and bilingual signs in the grocery stores, Lowes, the bank, etc.

    However, I would prefer that one of the other candidates adopt the same position, and make a more eloquent pitch to sell it . . .

    • #1
  2. Jo Ann Rogers Inactive
    Jo Ann Rogers
    @JoAnnRogers

    Calm, buttressed by facts….now how to get the attention of the crowd?

    • #2
  3. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    So illegals and bad quality immigrants are not a problem. You should be happy — another pseudo-crisis averted.

    We are so stupid to think that Ann Coulter is right about our voting problems, inability or unwillingness for our police forces to extradite illegals, and crimes being committed by people who should be the best the world has to offer rather than some of the worst.

    If our economy picks up with a sane president some day soon then we can expect all your happy talk statistics to change and then we will see 10 million more illegals all the while hearing from columnists like you about how there’s nothing we can do about it anyway.

    So, this Trump column is your new Plan B excuses but Plan A excuses will be used when things revert. Got it.

    • #3
  4. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Mona Charen: Illegal immigration is declining. Between 1990 and 2007, the number of illegal immigrants tripled. In 2000, an estimated 1.6 million illegals entered the United States. Since 2012, that number has dropped to about 400,000 (even accounting for the flood of underage migrants last year).

    So if we can keep unemployment rates high, then the illegal immigration thing will take care of itself. Sounds good but I wonder, is there any downside to the Charen immigration plan?

    • #4
  5. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    So it’s “only” 400,000 ignoring our immigration laws per year now.  What a relief.

    And I guess I shouldn’t feel bad about the deficit now that it’s “only” 483 billion.  After all, just a few years ago it was $1.4 Trillion.

    • #5
  6. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Mona Charen: Illegal immigration is declining. Between 1990 and 2007, the number of illegal immigrants tripled. In 2000, an estimated 1.6 million illegals entered the United States. Since 2012, that number has dropped to about 400,000 (even accounting for the flood of underage migrants last year).

    Since 2007, who has been in charge of compiling the immigration data?

    The sanctuary city and illegal employment issue seems as big to me than anything, because our own mayors flout our laws, unstopped by our own legal system.

    Mona Charen: stoked rage about illegal immigrants

    Stoking rage about immigration is all Trump has done. His highlights are designed to spread hatred and fear plus dependency on him, as a government leader, not consolidate the strength and freedom of our countrymen.

    Thanks for this post.

    • #6
  7. 10 cents Member
    10 cents
    @

    Mona Charen: Let’s assume, for fun, that Donald Trump’s supporters are thinking with their brains, not their viscera. If so, they will want to know that the issue he has lassoed for self-aggrandizement has been utterly demagogued. Trump is playing them for chumps.

    Mona,

    Do you realize how this sounds? You catch more things with honey than vinegar. How about we play some remove and replace?

    Let’s assume, for fun, that Mona Charen’s supporters are thinking with their brains, not their viscera. If so, they will want to know that the issue she has lassoed for self-aggrandizement has been utterly demagogued. Charen is playing them for chumps.

    Of course, people who already agree with you will like this but not the others.

    Did you read this by Dilbert creator Scott Adams? (H/T to Instapundit and Kylewingfeld.com)

    http://blog.dilbert.com/post/126589300371/clown-genius

    • #7
  8. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Mona I admire you so much it exasperates me when you toe the party line on an issue like this. I currently live in Western North Carolina – Appalachia – and before that I lived in South Florida. I have personally eyewitnessed four hit-and-run accidents committed by illegal aliens in the last 15 years. The idea that they are as law abiding as the salt-of-the-earth folks from a Norman Rockwell painting is just a myth. Read Victor Davis Hanson’s work on how illegal immigration has turned his community into Tijuana del Norte. The people victimized by illegal’s criminality know that reporting their crimes is futile – I am sure that has more to do with your warm-hearted statistics than anything else.

    Trump has tapped an issue so visceral because the average American outside the Beltway know their lives are not as good as their parents, and their children’s will not be as good as theirs, because the nomenklatura in this country is selling out their birthright. I agree a little perspective is in order – by the nothing-to-see-here Hillary/Jeb! consensus who don’t address the gravity of the problem. My current employment takes me to three county DSS offices here in WNC on almost a monthly basis. At least 35% of the folks gibbering away in the waiting room are gibbering in Spanish. Welcome to the future, and thank god for Ricochet’s word count or I would continue to vent.

    • #8
  9. KevinC Contributor
    KevinC
    @KevinCreighton

    Take back our country? Only if we have the receipt and the original packaging, otherwise there’s a 15% restocking fee.

    Thank you. I’ll be here all week. Please, try the veal.

    • #9
  10. Mike Rapkoch Moderator
    Mike Rapkoch
    @MikeRapkoch

    The violent crime canard is proof that rhetoric and outrage Trump reason. As Mona points out, violent crime is for the most part a state criminal law issue. To rely solely on fed prison poipulation is not just misleading, it is mendacious and a product of laziness. The so-called Kate’s law is not just without empirical justification, it is extremely poor public policy. It would dramatically expand the federalization of the criminal law and increase the abuse of power of federal prosecutors. Conservators, especially state’s rights advocates, should be deeply concerned about that.

    The idea that the constitution allows for deportation of immigrant children born in the USA is fatuous. The Supreme Court has weighed in on this, and, decide 9-0 that people born in the US are citizens. I heard Andrea Tantaros argue that there is give in the 14th Amendment. Great! Conservative “Living Constitutionalism.”

    Arguments for the militarization of the border are really troubling. The Founding Fathers were deeply suspicious of standing armies–for good reason–as they are a perfect tool for tyrants. Eventually, such an army would have us surrounded.

    I’m a strong believer in the need to eliminate illegal immigration. But the ideas offered by Trump may play well, but they are largely useless–and dangerous.

    • #10
  11. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Re the deporting American children canard – the family can decide whether the children go or have them stay with legal friends or volunteers – but if the family wants to stay together they can do it in Latin America.

    • #11
  12. Mike Rapkoch Moderator
    Mike Rapkoch
    @MikeRapkoch

    Petty Boozswha:Re the deporting American children canard – the family can decide whether the children go or have them stay with legal friends or volunteers – but if the family wants to stay together they can do it in Latin America.

    I have no problem with that. But if I understand Trump’s proposal–and I rarely understand him–he thinks he can deport people born in this country. Among the obvious problems with this is that people born in this country are not illegal aliens.

    • #12
  13. david foster Member
    david foster
    @DavidFoster

    Mona, I would urge you to read (if you haven’t already) the writings of Victor Davis Hanson on this subject…for example, this one:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/255320/two-californias-victor-davis-hanson

    • #13
  14. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Mona Charen: Demographers say that when the birth rate falls below 2, emigration stops. Other Central and South American nations are experiencing similar drops.

    It’s good to see that you have stopped saying this in in the same article as touting China as the major source of immigration. I pulled several muscles laughing the last few times you did.

    Despite removing this incongruity, the remaining assertions are no more credible.

    • #14
  15. Jo Ann Rogers Inactive
    Jo Ann Rogers
    @JoAnnRogers

    How about we take back the country from the law breakers. All of them! Illegal entrants, visa overstayers, employers, traffic law violators, social security fraudsters, etc.etc. but most especially those in the bureaucratic morass of our governing class. These criminals have job security with an excellent benefits packages dealing with the fallout.  The frustration I have is that the laws currently on the books are ignored. This disregard comes from the top. A real chief executive would make it clear that is unacceptable in her administration.

    • #15
  16. Pseudodionysius Coolidge
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    • #16
  17. BuckeyeSam Inactive
    BuckeyeSam
    @BuckeyeSam

    Nice hissy fit. And thanks for the extra dose of condescension. You may not have the backbone to steer as many illegal immigrants out of the country as possible, but this country needs to find people who do. The parade of horribles you recite in the fourth paragraph will only get worse when we “legalize” 12 million to 30 million of your friends–and shortly thereafter naturalize them. (Don’t tell me that won’t happen.) This is the last presidential election we’ll have to avoid getting flooded with Democratic voters. Trump may be an imperfect messenger. But for now he’s bringing to light aspects of immigration law about which most Americans have no understanding: illegal immigration, border crossing, visa overstaying, various work visas, the absurd refugee settlement program that’s overwhelming communities with members of the religion of peace, catch-and-return vs. find and deport, availability of drivers’ licenses, availability of federal and state entitlements, and on and on.

    Consider this piece by Kurt Schlicter.

    http://journal.ijreview.com/2015/08/246635-here-are-five-serious-truths-about-illegal-immigration-that-gop-candidates-have-to-accept/

    And today’s piece by Thomas Sowell:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/illegal-immigration-lame-excuses-to-do-nothing?target=author&tid=900925

    And regarding crime, one crime committed by an illegal immigrant is one too many. I prefer prospective citizens who actually have respect for the rule of law.

    Quit whining on Need to Know about the state of the country if you’re unwilling to do anything about other than support some Establishment clown like Bush, Rubio, or Kasich. We see you don’t like Trump, and I know from Need to Know that you loathe Ted Cruz. Here’s a thought: Let’s get steamrolled again with a candidate like Dole, McCain, or Romney or eke out wins with a Dem-lite on domestic affairs like Bush.

    • #17
  18. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    The dismissive attitude expressed in the original post is a perfect explanation of why Trump has been garnering so much support in the first place. Want to see him win the nomination and get elected? Keep it up.

    • #18
  19. Black Prince Inactive
    Black Prince
    @BlackPrince

    Mike LaRocheThe dismissive attitude expressed in the original post is a perfect explanation of why Trump has been garnering so much support in the first place. Want to see him win the nomination and get elected? Keep it up.

    Amen, brother!

    • #19
  20. John Penfold Member
    John Penfold
    @IWalton

    I was with you until you started quoting numbers.  They commit fewer crimes?  They start by committing crime, they are here illegally.  If they work they have committed another.  If they pay social security they commit another, a felony no less.  And if they get benefits that’s another.  We don’t count these.   As to the total number, we don’t know, they are illegal.  Are there fewer?  probably, we’ve been in a recession.    We need to control immigration.  We will disagree on how many and from where, but we shouldn’t disagree about whether we should have an immigration process rooted in law.  Some really do not like indigenous Americans, but all of us should be concerned that they are  retaking lands their ancestors lost to us in the Mexican American war.    Concerns are legitimate and we don’t have to make apologies.   It’s demographics, geography as well as economics and we are losing.   Child abuse, spouse abuse, alcohol abuse and petty crime are ubiquitous.  They do not show up in statistics because they aren’t reported to the police unless there is a dead body.  Talk to any spanish speaking priest working with these communities.  I say priest because you want someone who believes there is such a thing as truth. La ignorancia, el Padre told us, es atrevida.  He was from  rural Colombia where violence was endemic and had to flee the paramilitares, he was appalled by these communities.

    • #20
  21. Salvatore Padula Inactive
    Salvatore Padula
    @SalvatorePadula

    Mona: “Let’s assume, for fun, that Donald Trump’s supporters are thinking with their brains, not their viscera.”

    My high school football coach was fond of asking us, “You know what happens when you assume?”

    • #21
  22. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    The way things seem to be going Trump could very well be the nominee. He seems to be doing well in Iowa and New Hampshire, and if he pulls it off in those two states he’s going to be hard for any of the other candidates to catch.

    So maybe it would be wise for the bien pensant conservative commentariat to unbunch their panties and back off the “Harumph, Trump” memes a little.

    I’m not enthusiastic about Trump having access to nuclear weapons either, but if it comes down to it I’ll vote for him in favor of the Democrat.

    And in parting: Every illegal immigrant is guilty of at least one crime (being here illegally). Any additional crime any illegal immigrant commits is one additional crime too many, especially if that illegal immigrant was supposed to have been deported.

    • #22
  23. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    Excellent article, Mona Charen, but the phrase about “brains” and “viscera” wasn’t the most persuasive language you could have used.  It caused people to overlook your better points.

    The people messing up the country are named “Barack”, “Hillary” and “Nancy” and they were born here.  Their weak willed enablers in the Republican establishment were also born here.

    The Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury destroyed the dollar while being populated by people who were born here.

    Immigrants didn’t give us Obamacare,  Sarbanes-Oxley or Dodd-Frank.  Immigrants aren’t helping Iran get the bomb.

    Even the signer of the illegal executive order granting amnesty was born here.

    Did immigrants give us Barack Obama?  No, George W. Bush did that, by causing an economic crisis right before the election.

    There is plenty to be furious about – I mean stark raving fire-spitting mad about.  But blaming the immigrants distracts us from dealing with our real enemies, foreign and domestic.

    • #23
  24. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    We do not blame the immigrants. We blame the elites that put their interests before ours,

    • #24
  25. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Let’s assume, for fun, that Donald Trump’s supporters are thinking with their brains, not their viscera.

    Let’s not, when we can simply call them stupid.  No need to listen, as we have not been listening for years.  We will beat them handily, and then snicker at them from our DC homes, where incidentally, property values have never stopped rising.  They and their detestable children will starve for representation,  for opportunities, and for a voice in the process, because we know how to milk the federal cow and they do not, the rubes.  We can simply throw them down the same dark hole where we keep the Tea Party, and every four years parade that gimp about for the masses to see just who is in charge around here.  We will speak power to truth, and we shall fear no light from a shining city on any hill, for ours is the power and the glory forever and ever Amen.  Thus sayeth the Lord thy GOP.

    • #25
  26. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    Petty Boozswha:We do not blame the immigrants. We blame the elites that put their interests before ours,

    Fair enough.  I’m mad at the elites about a lot of things.  I also agree it’s unfair that the illegals are getting in more easily than those who are following the rules.  Who wouldn’t?

    Do you have a couple of examples of what you mentioned?

    • #26
  27. 10 cents Member
    10 cents
    @

    BastiatJunior:Excellent article, Mona Charen, but the phrase about “brains” and “viscera” wasn’t the most persuasive language you could have used. It caused people to overlook your better points.

    The people messing up the country are named “Barack”, “Hillary” and “Nancy” and they were born here. Their weak willed enablers in the Republican establishment were also born here.

    The Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury destroyed the dollar while being populated by people who were born here.

    Immigrants didn’t give us Obamacare, Sarbanes-Oxley or Dodd-Frank. Immigrants aren’t helping Iran get the bomb.

    Even the signer of the illegal executive order granting amnesty was born here.

    Did immigrants give us Barack Obama? No, George W. Bush did that, by causing an economic crisis right before the election.

    There is plenty to be furious about – I mean stark raving fire-spitting mad about. But blaming the immigrants distracts us from dealing with our real enemies, foreign and domestic.

    Bastiat,

    A problem is not a problem just because there is a bigger problem. It is a classic ploy to change the subject.

    • #27
  28. Benjamin Glaser Inactive
    Benjamin Glaser
    @BenjaminGlaser

    The comments were worth having to read the article.

    • #28
  29. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Salvatore Padula:My high school football coach was fond of asking us, “You know what happens when you assume?”

    What happens? Is it that you make an informed guess about the world around you?

    • #29
  30. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Do you have a couple of examples of what you mentioned?

    Not sure what you’re referring to – examples of what?

    If you meant the Victor Davis Hanson articles here’s one:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/255320/two-californias-victor-davis-hanson

    • #30

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