Published on March 5th, 2012

Lopsided arguments, criticism of other party’s views futile in reaching a solution

Published January 19, 2011
//UCLA Daily Bruin

Submitted by Ben Zuckerman

In December 2010 the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act failed to pass the U.S. Senate.

On Jan. 11 the Daily Bruin published a suite of commentaries; three of the four commentators bemoaned the failure of DREAM, placing blame on Republicans or “the right.” (The other commentator took no position in the paper edition of the Bruin.)
I wonder what purpose is served when such volatile, controversial subjects as DREAM and illegal immigration are treated with such a one-sided brush.

How does this advance progress toward a solution? Even worse, two of the commentators attributed base, even immoral, motivations to those who oppose DREAM. Who is so omnipotent as to be able to see inside another’s head? How does demonization of one’s opponents enable a dialogue to even begin?

It would not be hard to play the same game and attribute base motives to those Democrats who supported DREAM – the reason Democrats supported DREAM is because they know that most of the persons who would be amnestied under DREAM would vote Democratic upon obtaining citizenship.

What good can come from such rhetoric, when applied either to Democrats or to Republicans? For full disclosure, I was a registered Democrat for decades but in recent years have been independent of both major parties.

Both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for the failure of DREAM. DREAM is the latest in a long line of amnesties dating back decades. Many Republicans are now saying enough is enough and until the federal government takes meaningful steps to stop illegal immigration, no more amnesties.

One can argue that if the Democrats had supported, now or in the past, a few simple reasonable measures to stem illegal immigration, then many Republicans would have voted for DREAM. One such measure is E-Verify which, if used by all public and private employers to ensure that a person has a legal right to work in the USA, would greatly reduce illegal immigration. Yet most Democrats refuse to support a widespread application of this sensible law.

Another major problem is birthright citizenship. Under current interpretation of U.S. law, females entering the U.S. illegally, or legally on a few week vacation-visa, are rewarded with U.S. citizenship for any of their offspring who are born on U.S. soil.

The overwhelming majority of countries in the world do not offer automatic citizenship to everyone born within their borders. Over the past few decades, many countries that once did so have repealed such policies. Many scholars believe Congress has the authority to change this practice, but most Democrats refuse to act.

Entirely missing from the commentaries is a key, long-range consequence of repeated amnesties, including DREAM. While immigrants are surely not responsible for most problems the U.S. is now encountering, immigrants and their U.S.-born children are responsible for just about all of California’s rapid population growth during the past few decades.

Our state has for many years been more densely populated (had more people per square mile) than the continent of Europe – little wonder we have so much congestion and traffic. With continued “business as usual” immigration rates, in a few decades, when current UCLA students will be in their mid-life years, California will be more densely populated than China is now. As the USA becomes more and more overpopulated (with legal and illegal immigration now the principal driving force) relative to its resource base, the more we will suffer when the inevitable resource crunch comes.

Zuckerman is a professor in the physics and astronomy department and is on the board of directors of Californians for Population Stabilization.

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