Roseville, CA…Before the lockdown left took a wrecking ball to our economy last year, we were enjoying one of the greatest expansions of economic opportunity in our lifetimes. Unemployment was at its lowest rate in 50 years, the poverty rate was at its lowest in 60 years. Wage growth was the strongest in 40 years. The wage gap was narrowing for the first time in many years, as blue-collar wages increased dramatically. The unemployment rate for women was the lowest in 70 years. For African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans, veterans and disabled Americans, and those without a high school diploma, unemployment was the lowest ever recorded.
The tax and regulatory relief Republicans won in 2017 and 2018 explain much of this success, but something else was going on that caused the extraordinary improvement of wages for unskilled and low-skilled workers. The Trump Administration restored control of our borders and stemmed the flood of low-wage labor that had been suppressing American workers’ wages for decades.
Big business and big agriculture hated Trump’s immigration policy because it forced them to pay their workers higher wages. But in the growing economy it produced, working Americans who had been left behind for decades finally began to prosper.
Did we learn anything from this unprecedented blue-collar boom? Apparently not, judging from the Democrats’ zeal to open our borders to new waves of illegal immigration.
The President’s executive orders have already produced a new migrant crisis on the southern border.
One abandoned the border wall in mid-construction. Another undermines the long-standing requirement that immigrants support themselves and not burden American taxpayers. Another ends the remain-in-Mexico policy for those making asylum claims, most of which are false. Yet another effectively releases illegal immigrants accompanied by youths under age 18 directly into the United States. Another grants what amounts to sanctuary status for a wide variety of criminal offenses including drunk driving and sex offenses. Another restores unrestricted travel from hot beds of international terrorism. The worst orders ICE not to deport illegal immigrants for 100 days. That order, now enjoined by a federal judge, begs the question, “What is the difference between abolishing ICE and forbidding it to do its job?”
Customs and Border Protection agents report that in the last month the daily incursion on the southern border has nearly doubled from 2,000 a day to 3,500 a day. The number of illegal immigrants encountered on the southern border during the first four months of the last fiscal year was nearly 165,000. That number has nearly doubled this year to more than 295,000.
Every American needs to clearly understand what this means to their lives, their families, their communities and their future.
- How are American workers helped by flooding the labor market with another wave of illegal immigration?
- How are our children – who have been robbed of an entire year of their educations – helped by filling their classrooms with non-English speaking classmates?
- How are our streets made safer by allowing aliens who drive drunk to remain on our roads rather than to be arrested and placed in removal proceedings?
- How is our nation made safer by reopening virtually unrestricted travel with nations that foster terrorism?
- How are our communities made safer by making it harder to deport criminal illegal aliens and gang members?
- How are our hospitals made more accessible by overwhelming emergency rooms with illegal immigrants demanding care?
Why would our own government pursue policies that strike most acutely and painfully at American’s working families – especially now, when those families are reeling from the effects of a year of oppressive lockdowns? Those blue-collar workers who made the greatest gains during the Trump economic expansion are the most harmed by reversing the immigration enforcement that produced it.
And let us not forget the millions of legal immigrants who obeyed our laws, respected our nation’s sovereignty, waited patiently, and did everything our country asked of them – they too are made victims of the Democrats’ pursuit of open borders.
Without enforcement of our immigration laws, our borders become meaningless. And if our borders are meaningless, then America ceases to be a nation and instead becomes a vast international territory between Canada and Mexico. It is becoming increasingly clear that this is the ultimate objective of the left, and the only force that can stop them now is the American people at the ballot box.
Congressman Tom McClintock represents California’s 4th Congressional District.
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