by José de la Isla
HOUSTON – During his presidency, Ronald Reagan was known to be forgetful and even to snooze during Cabinet meetings.
That condition, at least the forgetfulness part, seems to be a common condition among some Republican candidates seeking their party’s presidential nomination.
Will the public vote in favor of forgetfulness when they themselves remember? And will the public support presidential candidates who deliberately forget? Isn’t that a form of deception, or at least an immature way to avoid reality? Here’s what happened.
At the CNN YouTube Republican presidential debate late last month, Rudy Giuliani was asked by Ernie Nardi of Brooklyn, N.Y., whether he would “aid and abet the flight of illegal aliens?”
Giuliani made it clear New York was not a “sanctuary city.” But some exceptions were made to provide child education and emergency care.
Mitt Romney piped in that New York City was indeed a sanctuary city. “They didn’t report everybody they found that was here illegally,” he said.
Then he added, as if talking to an unauthorized immigrant, “We’re not going to give you benefits, other than those required by the law, like health care and education, and that’s the course we’re going to have to pursue.” That’s what Giuliani had just stated.
As a rejoinder, Giuliani accused Romney of a far worse offense. As governor, Romney had permitted six sanctuary cities in Massachusetts.
The governor, said Giuliani, had even lived in a sanctuary mansion. A landscape contractor had allegedly subcontracted illegal immigrant workers.
Now, folks, in retelling the details of that evening, I just want you to keep an eye on the shell game. The real underlying issues are global trade and terrorism, the worldwide hunt for Osama bin Laden, wars in two countries, the enmity of many world citizens, and finding the Anthrax terrorist who tried to murder some of our congressional leaders and an NBC news anchor.
It’s as if Larry, Curley and Moe now want to be president. Moe in this case is Tom Tancredo, one of the main leaders in Congress on stances). And those who use fake, or other people’s, or made up Social Security numbers may never claim the money they and employers contributed.
Basically, after the Treasury collects the money, it allows the SSA to carry the amount as a receivable for bookkeeping purposes. And Treasury uses the funds to pay other government expenses.
The biggest one is the war in Iraq. Right now it is running coincidentally about $500 billion, according to the National Priorities Project.
If no one claims this SSA windfall, it’s free money to pay for the war.
Some may claim the funds do not automatically go to cover war expenses. True. So let’s say it goes to Medicare and Medicaid and we launder it that way. That means undocumented migrants are actually huge contributors to the U.S. fiscal well-being.
Since Mexicans and “illegal immigrants” cannot be heroes in this scenario, would there have been an Iraq war unless they caused it? You know we would not pay for it in our right minds. Forget about the alleged falsified CIA-intelligence information, the invented “weapons of mass destruction” and the later argument about punishing Saddam for torturing his own people.
Couldn’t U.S. foreign-policy leaders now claim the Iraq War was really an immigration sweep to prevent “no-match” dollars from causing inflationary pressures inside the government.
The war in Iraq was the fastest way to spend the money.
This has a perverse logic to it. By more tightly regulating our fluid borders immediately after 9/11, we forced millions of undocumented visitors from Mexico to stay here in order to pay for what they started.
So it makes sense then to have them pay. As a suspicious class of people, their illicit activities — like renting, seeking work, driving, having families, going to college, getting sick — is just like what terrorists would do. So it’s not demented to say these immigrants are not unlike terrorists. And it is not shameful for this nation to apply the unclaimed money to fight terrorism.
Some have argued low-skill immigration is needed because immigrants will do the jobs most of our citizens won’t. Now, with this new understanding, we can have immigrants who do our other dirty work pay for our war, too.
We don’t want to foot it ourselves with new taxes, nor do we want our grandchildren stuck with the bill. We want to go shopping at the mall, remember? Well, here it is. The “Illegal” part of immigration is necessary because that way our millions of undocumented workers will never have the right to claim their money. Let’s keep vilifying them, so we won’t feel bad about taking the dough.
Now tell me again, what is it about “illegal” you don’t understand?
[José de la Isla, author of “The Rise of Hispanic Political Power” (Archer Books, 2003) writes a weekly commentary for Hispanic Link News Service. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org]. ©2007