The Amnesty Issue Isn’t IQ, it’s the Free Ride

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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The Heritage study on the cost of amnesty (6.3 trillion) has gotten predictably tangled in accusations of racism.  And we are now somehow debating IQ.

The issue isn’t that immigrants from south of the border are dumber because they have lower IQ’s. The college diploma world that liberals think we are heading toward is an even bigger disaster and more unsustainable than illegal immigration.

What the Heritage study found was that illegal immigrant amnesty would be a dead loss because of entitlements use. The issue is the free ride of the welfare state.

The social safety net, like the take-a-penny jar, is an honor system. There are all sorts of regulations and policing mechanisms, but the welfare state and the country are too big to police. Those who want to defraud, do. The rapid growth in the disability rolls tell the tale.

There are different motives not to cheat. Personal integrity. A sense of honor. But the largest one is a sense of investment in the country. Patriotism. The belief that we are all in the same boat and that we occasionally even sacrifice for one another.

Large scale entitlements use by a population is a cultural statement of a sense of detachment from the country and its people. You are more likely to take pennies, instead of putting them back, if you don’t identify with the people who put the pennies in.

Some of this is the effect of multiculturalism, but like the welfare state, it is a reality that conservative and libertarian amnesty advocates have to address.

Some of it is aspiration. It’s possible to work very hard from day to day, without believing that you will get ahead. And that mentality makes it easy to drop out of the economy when an opportunity presents itself. And if you don’t believe that you truly have a future in the country, then that becomes a reasonable path to take.

Postmoderns may attempt to level all humans to a single chart based on a single characteristic, but real life is more complex than that. There is no dynamic scoring that can predict the impact of the future, all we have to judge by, as Patrick Henry said, is the lamp of experience. And that means that the Heritage Center’s approach of using existing facts to draw conclusions is far more valid than any wishful dynamic scoring.

Mexicans have a complex history and past of their own. And unlike most immigrants, they have a historical claim on American territory and a history of conflict with the United States. That history may seem ancient to most Americans, but the animosity and the sense of loss is real. Many Mexicans feel that they have lost something of their potential and their future when they were defeated and that sense lingers on in a way that most Americans cannot understand.

Those are all elements that need to be dealt with.

We can only maintain a social safety net for a population that feels responsible for each other. A population that sees itself living in a foreign country and does not identify with the national majority is going to pump and dump the social safety net. And that is something you can see in inner cities every day.

The failure to talk about it will not change the failure of any policy that fails to take it into account.

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  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    WHENEVER a leftist wants to bludgeon the truth out of an argument they resort to race/class bugaboos. This is a classic Alinskyite tactic. Changing the conversation from exactly what illegals are "entitled" to, and how absorbing them will create a permanent welfare state, is a verboten topic. Hence, the out-sized hysteria and morphing of talking points.
    But if pushing the economy off the cliff is the goal, then the conversation must be kept off its "rightful" target – illegal immigration aka amnesty – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/08/02/revealed-the-

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

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  • gee59

    I still want to know what part of ILLEGAL the leftists don't understand.

    If they are illegally in the US then they need to be deported. We have an immigration system – let's use it

  • for LibertyGB

    It cannot be the same ILLEGAL that they want for guns.
    The left is SELECTIVELY legal.

  • Michael Copeland

    It cannot be the same ILLEGAL that they want for guns.

  • RebeccaJean

    There were those at the end of the U.S.-Mexican war who advocated annexing the whole country of Mexico. Can you imagine the headaches that would ensue if that had become a reality.

  • kaz

    IQ certainly is the issue. the problem is that people so incredibly stupid that they would willingly invite foreigners to take over their country are in positions of power, and they are treasonously stealing the citizenship of those who already live here, and giving it to invading foreigners. the people who are doing this are subhuman specimens of truly low intelligence. they are intellectually and morally bankrupt. they are criminals and traitors. we also call them liberals.

    • Jim

      They may be either very stupid or very smart. As what they are doing is smart then they can not be fore the American people. What they are doing is evil.

      Remember these smart people are the one who brought the financial collapse on the country.
      They must be evil.

      Mr Rubio have you no shame?

  • Jim

    Just when thought the Heritage Foundation had gotten over it's case of low T they bend to the will of the Open borders fans and fire a man who told a simple truth.

  • eightyfifty

    The great irony of course is that the left fancies itself the enemy of income inequality, but their policies actual make income inequality worse, and the lives of poor people demonstrably worse.

  • Empress Trudy

    And that after all is what all of this is about. Not opportunity but entitlement. I am entitled to be here because I am entitled to partake of everything your society has to offer. And it that means that you have to twist and break the law to make me citizen in order to grant me what I am entitled to, then that is what you must do.

    If I were the Obama left I’d make a case for making anyone on the planet a US citizen especially if they’re never here at all. Just air-drop passports and food stamps over African and parts of Asia and let them establish their proxy residency so we know where to send the checks. In my mind it’s very stupid for the very same people to scream about the “American Empire” when that is precisely want they want.