One of the frustrating things about the open borders right-although this can just as easily be said of the open borders left, or center-is the rigid adherence to discredited arguments. A perfect example of this tendency is Jennifer Rubin’s response to the thoughtful post made by Peter Robinson, of the Hoover Institution, in response to her essay lamenting the dire straits the state of California currently finds itself in.
While acknowledging the partial culpability of public employee unions for California’s deep fiscal woes, something that pro-enforcement blogger Mickey Kaus has also pointed out, Robinson asks Rubin why she is reluctant to address the proverbial elephant in the room, i.e. the transformation of California into an oasis of immigrants, including millions of illegal aliens. It’s undoubtedly true that many of these newcomers and their children have made invaluable contributions to the the state, from the second generation Vietnamese and Korean-Americans who excel in California’s public university system, to first generation immigrants like Sergey Brin, who has revolutionized the world as we know it. However, it’s also true that many other newcomers have brought the state to fiscal insolvency with their demands on education, health care and other budget items whose expense increases with each passing year.
I wish that Rubin offered a persuasive counter-argument to Mr. Robinson’s concern, but in all honesty she actually makes a rather convincing case for curtailing the current wave of immigration, or at the very least, preventing more illegal aliens from settling in states like California. One of her chief reasons for embracing amnesty and supporting more immigration is a study cited by the director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, who explains in his essay that,
The 1997 National Research Council study found that, although the fiscal impact of a typical immigrant and his or her descendants is strongly positive at the federal level, it is negative at the state and local level.
And who goes on to minimize these findings by claiming that the number of new job opportunities created by these immigrants-which are never specified-mitigate the enormous costs they incur from accessing state and local social services, primarily health care and public education. But perhaps even more troubling than Ms. Rubin’s flimsy justification for increased immigration is her defense of the status quo, which amounts to a justification for the policies that have burdened California’s economy, strained the social fabric of the state, and introduced a host of problems that will only get worse if her philosophy continues to be adhered to in the future.
California has the highest number of illegal immigrants in the country. But that still amounts to just 6.9 percent of the population. We are a very, very long way from seeing the culture become “more Mexican than American.” The schools, as rotten as they are, teach some facsimile of American history, American literature, etc., as the mainstays of their curriculum. (And to its credit, California was among the first to take a stab at doing away with bilingual education.) Pop culture, much of which emanates from California, is “American.”
There you have it. Only seven percent of the population is illegal, the wretched system of public education offers a facsimile of American history, and pop culture-whatever that phrase implies-is uniquely “American,” although the fact that American is enclosed in quotation marks makes me think Rubin’s malleable interpretation of the concept underlying the word renders it virtually meaningless.
If that’s the best argument that can be marshaled in favor of open borders, then, to paraphrase a supporter of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, “build the darn fence already!”