A History Lesson on the Shifting Political Stances on Illegal Immigration

The Daily Signal | 1/16/2019 | Staff
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Walter E. Williams is a columnist for The Daily Signal and a professor of economics at George Mason University.

Here are a couple of easy immigration questions—answerable with a simple “yes” or “no”—we might ask any American of any political stripe: Does everyone in the world have a right to live in the U.S.? Do the American people have a right, through their elected representatives, to decide who has the right to immigrate to their country and under what conditions?

Americans - Today - People - Question

I believe that most Americans, even today’s open-borders people, would answer “no” to the first question and “yes” to the second.

There’s nothing new about this vision. Americans have held this view throughout our history, during times when immigration laws were very restrictive and when they were more relaxed.

Unbeknownst - Protesters - Expression - Si - Puede

Unbeknownst to the protesters, the expression “Si, se puede” was a saying of Cesar Chavez’s. When Chavez, the founder of the United Farm Workers union, used the expression “Yes, we can,” he meant something entirely different: “Yes, we can” seal the borders. He hated illegal immigration.

Chavez explained, “As long as we have a poor country bordering California, it’s going to be very difficult to win strikes.” Why? Farmers are willing to hire low-wage immigrants here illegally. Chavez had allies in his protest against the hiring of undocumented workers and lax enforcement of immigration laws.

Protest - Marches - Sen - Walter - Mondale

Included in one of his protest marches were Democratic Sen. Walter Mondale and a longtime Martin Luther King Jr. aide, the Rev. Ralph Abernathy.

Peaceful protest wasn’t Chavez’s only tool. He sent union members into the desert to assault Mexicans who were trying to sneak into the country. They beat the Mexicans with chains and whips made of barbed wire. Undocumented immigrants who worked during strikes had their houses firebombed and their cars burned.

Way - Chavez - Hero - President - Barack

By the way, Chavez remains a leftist hero. President Barack...
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