Immigration has taken center stage in the California governor’s race with fuzzy facts regarding Meg Whitman and an illegal alien former maid, Nicandra Santillan a.k.a. Nicandra Diaz (Nicky), depending on which of her falsified documents you look at.
Whitman is not the only would-be public official to be troubled by illegal aliens from their past. Just ask Linda Chavez, Zoe Baird, or Timothy Geithner. Unfortunately, those not in or seeking public office are not held to the same standard when it comes to hiring someone who is not authorized to work in the United States, or to even be here. As for those who are here illegally, the standard is low enough for many of them to openly demand benefits to which only American citizens are eligible.
Sadly, the media coverage of Whitman and immigration has fallen short of the bigger picture. The LA Times had an interesting take on Whitman’s actions vis-à-vis her political positions; if by “interesting” one means a straw man argument about as flimsy as Washington State’s offensive line against USC (the score was 50-16).
The Times wrote in an editorial:
In reality, there are only two principled solutions: commit to deporting them all or integrate them into society. Whitman, it seems, can’t bring herself to back either approach.
This speaks well of Whitman. It shows she is probably not as narrow-minded as the Times. While her stances on immigration leave some room for improvement, they are closer to an option that is more viable, humane, and ethical: Attrition Through Enforcement. A middle ground to the Times’ Hobson’s choice, it focuses on interior enforcement to address the estimated more than 11 million illegal aliens in the United States. By enforcing the laws we already have, we can take away the jobs and benefits that draw and keep illegal aliens here. Without these magnets, we will see the number of illegal aliens decline as many leave on their own volition. Just as the problem has built up gradually over the past few decades of lax enforcement, the solution will take place gradually.
Human nature leads us to get away with what we can. Any parent can tell you that. Why would we expect employers to pay a living wage to illegal aliens who enter the U.S. legally when we’ve sent the message that they don’t have to, despite laws that say otherwise? Allowing unscrupulous employers and illegal aliens to get away with breaking the law has put us in the position we’re in. The way to un-spoil a child is through consistency and boundaries. It’s time for the federal government to step up and be the consistent parent to correct the wayward ways of a child.
Our laws reflect the people’s views on border security, livable wages, humane treatment, the rule of law, and a fair and equal program for citizenship. It’s those same views and values that have made it so difficult for Congress to pass an amnesty, especially in an election year. They know an amnesty is contrary to the needs and the mandate of the American people. Perhaps this November we can inspire our elected officials to show as much boldness in enforcing the laws as the illegal aliens who demand rewards for breaking them.
CAROLINE ESPINOSA formerly was a U.S. Senate Press Secretary and spokesperson for NumbersUSA, and she's the mother of two young children.
Updated: Wed, Oct 6th 2010 @ 2:13pm EDT