Despite what the media regularly dishes out about “Dreamers” being model youth who are looking only to fulfill their dream of finishing college and achieving upward mobility, it’s a myth, Victor Davis Hanson tells readers in the LA Times.
That narrative lacks subtlety, if it’s not outright deceptive. The average age of DACA participants is now 24. Few after entering adulthood sought to address their known illegal status. Surveys suggest that most are not in school; fewer than 5% have graduated from college. Those employed earn a median hourly wage of $15.34, which means they are forced to compete on the lower end of the wage ladder. Only about a tenth of 1% of DACA youth serve in the U.S. military — fewer than 900 total.
As part of his reelection campaign in 2012, “I’m not a King” Obama conferred a temporary reprieve from deportation to young people brought to this country as minors. Forgotten in the DACA debates now raging in Washington are historic truths about immigration, writes Mr. Hanson.
In the past, immigration has proven a great boon to a host country — if it was legal, measured, meritocratic and diverse. That way, assimilation, integration and mastery of native languages and customs were enhanced by immigrants who in turn enriched their adopted country.
The opposite holds true of massive, illegal and non-diverse influxes of foreign nationals. The results are too often tribalism, political manipulation and factionalism, as the current multicultural and multiethnic turmoil in the Balkans, Middle East, Africa — and now Europe — attest.
Democrats are so focused on the 800,000 Dreamers — less than 10% of the undocumented population — because they’re politically photogenic and for now seen as the easiest group to exempt from efforts to control illegal immigration.
(Beltway Republicans) are all too happy to extend de facto amnesties and won’t face much backlash for doing so; they just have to appease their constituents by championing, say, some kind of border security in exchange. The result will be a reprieve for Dreamers, a few security agreements — and no real answer for how to deal with the more than 10 million immigrants living illegally in the United States, or for how to prevent millions more from following in their footsteps.
Inexpensive industrious workers were welcomed by the construction, landscaping, agriculture, hotel and restaurant industries. The social costs of providing parity for these workers and their dependents from the poorest regions of Mexico and Latin America — arriving for the most part without legality, English, or high school diplomas — were always passed on to the taxpayer.
Even the hardest of hard-liners are not looking to suddenly deport the 10 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally, especially those immigrants “who have not committed crimes, are not on public assistance, are fully employed and are willing to pay fines and to learn English to obtain green cards.”
Illegal immigration has flourished for two reasons, explains VDH: Democrats wanted future constituents; Republicans were seeking inexpensive labor. “But an irate public has had it with open borders — and both parties are scrambling to hide their past and present agendas for now by focusing on the idealized Dreamers.”
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