From TheHill.com, The Hill’s Congress Blog, Robert Gittelson, 29 Apr 2011.
This week the President elevated the issue of our broken immigration system back to the front burner of our political discourse. Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform believes that this murky issue gains clarity when eyed through the matrix of the traditional “three legged stool” of conservatism.
When this issue is examined within the framework of our nation’s fiscal conservative, social conservative and national security conservative value structure, a common sense pathway forward emerges as straightforward and exceptional.
When the conservative solution is measured against the “restrictionist” approach, the traditional conservative argument demonstrates that our nation is responsible for forging solution’s that adhere to American values. Neither the fiscal, social, or national security conservative value system is served through the Restrictionist’s “attrition through enforcement” agenda.
The fiscal leg on this issue addresses our stagnant economy, and our massive and growing national debt. A conservative approach helps us on both fronts, while the attrition scheme exacerbates these problems. A study by U.C.L.A. showed an increase to our GDP of $1.5 trillion over the next ten years using this fiscal conservative approach. The study concluded that the attrition approach negatively impacts our GDP by some
$2.6 trillion over the same period. Attrition diminishes our GDP by $4.1 trillion dollars over the next ten years, when viewed as an alternative to the fiscal conservative agenda. Losing over $400 billion dollars per year in private sector GDP is a job killer.
We have a current trade deficit of roughly $50 billion dollars per month. We have over 2,000,000 acres of farmland sitting idle due to a lack of farm labor. The conservative approach would maximize farming’s contribution to our GDP/trade deficit. Every farm worker hired adds 3.1 additional jobs to our economy. 60-80% of our agricultural labor is undocumented.
Attrition would decimate agribusinesses, causing inflation, throwing our trade deficit into catastrophic imbalance, and force the outsourcing of our nation’s food supply. Additionally, the undocumented will be required to file and pay their full share of state and federal taxes, including back taxes and penalties, under a traditional conservative plan.
Social conservatives overwhelmingly feel this issue is rending the social fabric of our nation. Almost every faith denomination has called for a pro-family solution. The “attrition scheme” is viewed by social conservatives as a government attempt to “starve the undocumented out of the country.” This flies in the face of our Judeo-Christian value system.
Small businesses and churches are on the front lines of this issue. The administration tears apart almost half a million families per year, and over half have no criminal record. CfCIR supports the deportation of criminals, but stands with the God loving people that came here several years ago for a chance at the American Dream. Our CfCIR Coalition’s churches have been hugely impacted in states such as Ohio, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Texas, and literally dozen’s of other states.
The Southern Baptists estimate that this issue is having a direct impact on some 400,000 of their member’s families. The attrition approach is a non-starter for many social conservatives based on their Biblical belief in compassion for the stranger among us.
National Security Conservatives want the border secured, want to know exactly who is here in our country, and want a strong military. That is why we need a comprehensive solution to our immigration crisis. The attrition approach in and of itself accomplishes none of these goals. Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform wants the border secured immediately.
Conservatives understand that through a comprehensive approach that mandates a secure ID for employment of any kind, the United States can begin to understand exactly who is in our country, and vet them through federal and state background checks. The Attrition approach just tries to make the undocumented so miserable that they will eventually leave.
Conservatives understand that peace through strength can only be achieved through a strong military. Our all-volunteer armed forces are bolstered when the pool of smart, fit, military age potential recruits is expanded. By bringing millions of young and healthy people into the above ground society, many would choose to serve our country. The DREAM Act contains a military component.
In seeking a solution to this crisis, the values based three legged stool of conservatism is served through a measured comprehensive approach that serves the interests of America first. The attrition approach exacerbates the negative, while diminishing the positive.
CfCIR believes in traditional American values, and urges all Americans to look to their values first to solve this crisis. If President Obama is willing to apply traditional conservative values toward a comprehensive immigration solution, he will find willing, open minded partners on both sides of the political aisle.
Robert Gittelson is the Co-Founder of Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.