“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Enforce the Existing Laws on Illegal Immigration...

...and the problem will resolve itself. That makes sense to me.

Victor David Hanson in an essay at Real Clear Politics on the recent immigration bill concludes with an obvious observation:

...Illegal immigration and the efforts to accommodate it have come about from either bureaucratic prerogative - under pressure from employers and ethnic lobbyists - or court decisions. In contrast, polls, referenda and legislative action all reflect a public desire to reduce illegal immigration and close the borders now. In fact, in a June Rassmussen poll, 70 percent of the public supported an immigration bill that does that - and only that.

If the American public wants the border closed first, and discussion of everything else later, is that really such a bad thing?

Were the government to enforce laws already passed - fine employers for hiring illegal aliens, actually build the approved fences, beef up the border patrol, issue verifiable identification - we would then soon be dealing with a static population of illegal aliens. And that pool would insidiously shrink, not annually grow.

Some of the 12 million here illegally would willingly return home. Some with criminal records could be deported. Some would marry U.S. citizens. Some could be given work visas. Some could apply for earned citizenship.

The point is that our formidable powers of assimilation would finally catch up and have time to work on a population that would be at last fixed, quantifiable and identifiable. As aliens were more readily integrated with the general citizen population, Spanish would evolve into a helpful second, not a single alternate, language. Wages would rise for workers already here - many of them soon to be Mexican-American citizens - without competition from a perpetual influx of illegal aliens who work more cheaply.

Mexico would be forced to deal with rather than export its own problems. Billions in earnings would stay in the United States to help our own entry-level and legal immigrants from Mexico, not be sent back as remittances to relatives.

In short, a savvy public is neither racist nor hysterical in wanting the border closed now. It's the only comprehensive solution to the present mess of illegal immigration.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and author, most recently, of "A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War." You can reach him by e-mailing


  1. A partial solution that is so obvious, so legal and appropriate that it must be rejected, out of hand.

    Not the Course that the Great Decider has decided upon.

  2. As this story tells US, free and fair trade is different than smuggling.

    Both bring products into a country, one is controlled by the authorities, the other a purely criminal activity.

    Free trade with Panama is win-win
    Congress should approve this agreement and the critical economic and foreign policy advantages it promises for America.

    By Wesley K. Clark and Joe R. Reeder
    Read more, if there is a desire.

  3. Doug, that numbers guy seems to be overlooking the fact that his "golden" age had another name: THE GREAT DEPRESSION!!

    Overall, I kinda agree with him, but he's awfully fast, and loose with the numbers.