- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 7, 2010


America does not have a legal-immigration problem. In 2009, of the 468,770 immigrant visas the U.S. government issued, 86 percent went to blood relatives of U.S. citizens. Only an infinitesimal .008 percent (4,000) went to financial investors, and 2.1 percent went to people with skills the U.S. economy needs.

America does have a problem with illegals, and President Obama’s amnesty, or “path to citizenship,” for them would undermine the rule of law and make it harder for jobless Americans to compete with up to an estimated 20 million newly legalized illegal aliens.

As a legal immigrant who fled Communist China, I know that what makes America great is the freedom guaranteed by its Constitution, commitment to the rule of law and its ability to rejuvenate itself with the new blood of legal immigrants.

In 1988, I was granted an immigrant visa based on my expertise as an international trade economist.

As the party of freedom, entrepreneurship and economic growth, the Republican Party — ideally the political arm of the conservative movement — logically should support legal immigration. We also must balance the current immigration policy with a new risk-and-reward-based immigration policy. We should de-emphasize visas based on blood relationships and grant more with investment and job skills the U.S. economy needs.

Immigrant risk-takers, job creators and high-tech inventors are a boon to any economy. They probably are at least as likely as many unskilled immigrants to understand that without freedom, there is no economic growth or job creation. They almost surely will help maintain America’s leadership in technological advancement and defend freedom and the fruits of their hard labor from big government’s greedy reach. Like many proud unskilled immigrants, those with investment, scientific, engineering and other skills are likely to shun government’s invitation to become dependent on others.

It also is consistent for the GOP to oppose Mr. Obama’s amnesty as it was for many in the GOP to oppose former President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain’s “path to citizenship.”

After all, the Republican national platform calls for “enforcing the rule of law at the border and throughout the nation” and says, “We oppose amnesty. The rule of law suffers if government policies encourage or reward illegal activity.”

The Obama administration seems indulgent at best when it comes to immigration enforcement. In Arizona last year, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio found himself stripped by the U.S. Homeland Security Department of his authority to arrest illegal alien suspects based solely on their immigration status. The Justice Department is actually investigating Sheriff Arpaio for abuse of power because of his tough enforcement stand.

It is not much of a stretch for skeptics to see Mr. Obama’s amnesty plan as a cynical ploy to further extend big government in two ways. By flooding the job market with millions of illegal aliens, his approach would turn millions of discouraged job-seeking Americans into wards of the state eligible for unemployment benefits.

Also, the legal immigration system’s bias in favor of uniting family members has the unintended side effect of dumping millions of new legal immigrants on state welfare, Medicaid and the newly enacted health reforms popularly known as Obamacare. Intended or not, this may well accelerate America’s slide to financial ruin and perhaps offer what cynics — and perhaps realists — see as a further excuse for government to march us to complete socialism.

What’s more, true conservatives understand that amnesty corrupts our political system with an unspoken quid pro quo — politicians and their political parties pay for the votes of illegal aliens with amnesty. During the pro-amnesty rally in 2006, one sign said it all: “Today we march, tomorrow we vote,” which translates to, “Today we demand you reward our law-breaking behavior, and tomorrow we reward you with our votes.” If those illegal aliens vote for the same corrupt political system that they left behind, America can’t afford them.

Finally, conservatism must unite all four legs of this freedom chair — social, fiscal and national-security conservatives and the tea-party patriots — for the amnesty fight. Social conservatives should worry that any undermining of the rule of law will destroy the moral foundation of this republic. For fiscal conservatives, the rule of law guarantees our economic freedom. Without it, capitalism fails, which means big government’s further intrusions. To national-security conservatives, enforcing the rule of law means border security, which is essential to our national security and sovereignty. To tea-party patriots, undermining the rule of law destroys the Constitution’s underpinning.

Solomon Yue, an Oregon businessman, is an elected member of the Republican National Committee and a founder of two unprecedented conferences within the RNC: the 24-member Republican National Conservative Caucus and the 96-member Conservative Steering Committee.

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